Cheese storage dos and don'ts
Cheese is a natural, living product that continues to mature once purchased. To get the most out of your cheese for as long as possible, there are a few key storage principles that must be observed. This precious food requires optimal storage conditions in order to release its full flavour and keep for a long time!
1. The right place – cheese likes to be kept cool and dry
Storing cheese at the right temperature is crucial to increasing its shelf life. If the temperature is too high, the cheese will mature too quickly and spoil. However, if the temperature is too low, the ageing process will be interrupted and the cheese will lose its aroma. It's worth remembering that the harder the cheese, the higher the temperatures it can tolerate. Correctly packaged hard cheese, for instance, can keep for a long time at temperatures as high as 15°C, while fresh cheese should be stored at around 5°C. Cheese stored in the fridge is best kept in the designated cheese drawer or in the vegetable compartment. The temperatures in these zones are generally around 7-9°C, which is ideal for most cheeses.
2. The right packaging – cheese needs to breathe
Left entirely unpackaged, cheese will dry out quickly. However, if it is sealed and completely airtight, it can also spoil ahead of time. Cheese is best kept in its own special cheese paper – this will protect it from drying out, while still allowing it to breathe. However, there are as many different packaging recommendations as there are types of cheese.
- Hard and semi-hard cheeses can also be kept in loosely wrapped clingfilm or aluminium foil with a couple of small holes to aid the circulation of air.
- The same applies to soft and blue cheeses, although these can also be kept in their original packaging (e.g. in the wooden box).
- Fresh cheese, on the other hand, should not be allowed to breathe and is best stored in its original packaging or in another airtight container.
- Feta, mozzarella, etc. can be emptied into a plastic container along with any liquid
3. The right degree of separation – cheese needs space
Different types of cheese should be stored separately so that the smell, flavour and any mould cannot be transferred. Furthermore, unpackaged cheese can take on the smell of food items placed in too close proximity, which may impair the flavour.
Cheese can also be kept longer by means of vacuum-packing or freezing
Cheese naturally tastes best fresh. However, if you have a large quantity of cheese or left-overs, vacuum-packing and freezing are two tried-and-tested methods that will help to preserve it for a longer period of time. Hard and semi-hard cheeses are best suited to these methods of preservation. Whether divided into portions, coarsely grated or finely grated, the cheese can be used quickly and easily at a later date to make cheese flans, cheese toasties, omelettes, tortillas, gratins, fondue or raclette.
Summary: Careful handling is worth its weight in cheese!
Observing these key principles and handling this rather sensitive but incredibly tasty food with care brings double the reward. Not only will you extend the shelf life of your cheese, but you will also create a more intense cheese experience for which your purse and your palate will thank you!"