Important Facts About Cheese Storage, For The Best Flavor, Longevity And Safety
Every cheese has different requirements, and methods of cheese storage can either enhance or detract from the flavor. The cheese industry has developed helpful guidelines that will protect your cheese from harmful bacteria, extend its period of freshness, and keep the flavor as it is meant to be.
Use cleanliness in all handling, cutting and wrapping. Use only clean, dry containers. Use a thoroughly cleaned knife and cutting board. If handling different varieties of cheese do not use the same knife or cutting board unless it has been washed between different types of cheese, as this can cause harmful bacteria.
When you purchase cheese, inspect it and if any of the covering is not completely secure, do not buy it. The temperature of the cheese must be 45 degrees or lower. If you are buying cheese by mail order, the temperature must have been kept at 45 or less. If not you should reject the order. Refrigerate all cheese as soon as you get it home.
Select the coldest area of your refrigerator. Some models have a space designated — if not, the colder section is in the back, especially on lower shelves.
Avoid placing cheese next to strong foods like onions, sauces or spices. Cover securely to avoid contamination, keep cheese flavor and aroma in, and other flavors and odors out. For the strongest cheese like Limburger, wrap twice, once in parchment paper or formaticum cheese wrap, then in plastic. Formaticum is made especially for cheese. It has an inner layer of thin plastic and outer layer of breathable butcher type paper.
Another good method of storage is an airtight container such as a cheese dome or securely fastened “Tupperware” container. If storing in a container, use one for each type of cheese. The cheese can be unwrapped if using a cheese dome. Domes have the advantage of creating a proper climate with air and humidity, called a cave.
Soft cheese should be stored in airtight Tupperware or a cheese dome, as opposed to a wrapper.
Do not assume that cheese lasts a long time. This is only true for an uncut wheel of aged cheese. Once divided it is easily spoiled. Hard cheese can last up to 8 weeks, soft cheese a few weeks. Label each cheese with the type and date purchased.
Cut off only what you will consume and wrap the rest in a fresh, clean wrapper or clean, dry container. Don’t re-wrap in the same material. Let the cheese to be consumed rest until it is room temperature, to enjoy optimal flavor.
If cheese has been left out and begun to break down, clean off the outer surface to remove oils. Use a smooth cheese knife to scrape it off. Then store in a cheese dome. Once left out, it should only be stored in a dome or container, not wrapped.
If you are saving cheese for a specific use, change the wrapper once a week anyway, to assure it does not become damp or damaged. If you freeze cheese, the flavor will be altered. It is recommended only if using cheese for cooking.
Follow these recommendations and you will enjoy healthy, aromatic and flavorful cheese, regardless of the type, from mild to the strongest gourmet offerings.