You’re making an omelet or you’ve got a pot of chili, and you need cheese. You reach into the fridge only to find that block you were thinking of has gone bad. While it won’t save that old cheese, there is a way to extend your cheddar’s shelf life.
You can freeze semi-firm and firm cheese if you store it correctly.
Freezing semi-soft and soft cheese or those with rinds isn’t the wisest idea as many of them are designed to be eaten on their own. Once the cheese has thawed, the texture could change as could the flavor. However, harder cheeses like blocks of cheddar, Colby, jack, muenster, and provolone will hold up to the freezing process. Still, when you freeze cheese, it’s best to only do so with one that you plan to melt into a recipe or use melted on a sandwich.
So how do you do it? According to Josh Windsor, caves manager at Murray’s Cheese, the first step is to trim the cheese so that it has a flat surface and all of the edges are even. This way, when it’s sealed or packaged, oxygen will have less space to hide, and keeping your cheese free from oxygen exposure is key.
FoodSaver VS0160 PowerVac Compact Vacuum Sealing Machine
Keep your cheese oxygen free with this machine.
Windsor’s first suggestion is to use a vacuum sealer. Obviously, it’s able to keep oxygen away from your cheese best, and when used, this method can keep cheese good for up to two months in the freezer. Let’s be honest, though, not all of us have a vacuum sealer, so the next best option is parchment paper and aluminum foil which will keep cheese good for a month.
“Tightly wrap the cheese in parchment paper and then in aluminum foil,” said Windsor. “The parchment paper will create a decent barrier for the cheese, while the foil will help keep everything in place while freezing.”
The next you’ve got a block that’s getting a little too aged in your fridge, freezing it might be the answer. When it comes time to make that next grilled cheese, you’ll have plenty on hand.
[Via Martha Stewart]