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Selecting and Storing Cheeses

Cheese storage

Get the dos and don’ts of basic cheese storage to ensure all your delicious bries, goat cheese, smoked cheddars – or whatever your fancy! – lasts until the next occasion


Selecting

When purchasing store-cut cheese, make sure the packaging is properly sealed. Ensure that the shape of the cheese is intact and the rind is not crushed. The packaging should allow you to see the colour and texture of the cheese. Check the label to make sure it provides essential information such as the date it was wrapped and if applicable, the expiry date.

Finally, cheese must be refrigerated in a cold, airy environment, at a temperature ranging from 0° C to 4° C (32° F to 39° F).


Storage

Health and hygiene

Remember that cheese is a living, natural product. Certain precautions must be taken to conserve and even increase the quality and taste of cheese.

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Make sure that your work surface, accessories and knives are very clean to avoid any taste or mold transfer from one cheese to another. If you are using a single knife to cut several different cheeses, make sure you wash the knife after each use. Handle the cheese with care, especially the soft and semi-firm types, to keep them in the best shape possible. And last but certainly not least, wash your hands after touching each cheese – this will help ensure a longer shelf life!

Storing cheese

Cheese contains living micro-organisms that need to breathe. To maintain maximum freshness, cheese must be refrigerated. Wrap leftover cheese loosely in parchment or waxed paper and then cover with aluminum foil.

Cheese storage

Do this:

Ideally, cheese should be placed in the vegetable crisper or cheese compartment. Make sure the cheeses are not placed close to the refrigerator’s ventilation system. It is always a good idea to store the different types of cheese separately. Avoid stacking the cheeses on top of one another to allow them to breathe.

Store remaining blocks of soft cheese horizontally to keep the cheese from running. You can also store them upside down to prevent the curd from sagging on top.

Don't do this:

Cheese should not be stored next to foods with strong odours. They should be kept away from direct light and protected from becoming dry. The moisture content of a cheese affects its longevity: the lower the moisture content, the longer the cheese will keep.

Finally, a cheese bell is good for short-term storage only––for instance, the time it takes to bring cheese to room temperature. Also, the cheese bell should not create an airtight seal, as cheese needs to breathe!


Frozen cheese

Freezing cheese

Freezing alters the texture but not the flavour of cheese. It is preferable to use frozen cheese for cooking purposes only. Not all cheeses can be frozen––soft and fresh cheeses do not freeze well because their texture becomes mealy or powdery. In short, cheeses with low moisture content, such as firm and hard varieties freeze well, while cheeses with high moisture content do not.

Here are a few precautions to take when freezing and thawing cheese:

  • Always refrigerate the cheese before freezing.
  • Freeze cheese in portions no larger than 450 grams (1 pound) and for no longer than two months
  • Wrap the cheese in aluminum foil then seal it in a freezer bag, making sure to remove any air.
  • Grate firm cheeses such as Parmesan and place in a sealed container before freezing.

Recipes for cheese lovers


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