WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO STORE CHEESE?

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I’d like to take you back to a very dark time in my life.  It was a day I hope I’ll never have to repeat again.  As I remember it, it was a fairly warm day.  Time Magazine had named German Chancellor Angela Merkel as its ‘Person of the Year’ and McDonalds had just opened it’s first stand alone coffee kiosk, McCafe.

 

wrapping-cheese

It was December 9th, 2015.  The day I had to sacrifice an entire block of cheese to the research and development lab in my house.  The kitchen.

I love cheese.   I’d say it’s the kind of love that a lot of people would call “unnatural”, but heh,  there’s no such thing as an unnatural love of cheese.  No matter how great your love of cheese it is NOT unnatural. And don’t let anyone tell you any differently.  I used to do commentary in the middle of The Jerry Springer Show so I’m pretty well versed in cheese.  Jerry and his band of chair throwing curiosities came upon a bit of a stumbling block one episode. This one show in particular, was titled, “I Married My Horse”.  It was about a man.  Who married his horse.

After a bit of a stink, some hoopla, and several lawyers the show was banned for airing.

Had that show been titled “I Married My Cheese” I’m sure we’d all have been a lot more understanding.

cheese-storing-methods

But I had to sacrifice an entire block of cheddar cheese because I wanted to see if wrapping it in different materials would have any affect on how long it could be stored before going mouldy.

They actually sell “cheese paper” for wrapping cheese but that shit’s pricey.  So I figured I’d take every method of wrapping cheese I could find on the Internet and give them all a shot.

I cut my block of cheese into 4 equal sections and wrapped each of them a different way.

  1. In plastic wrap.
  2. In tin foil.
  3. In wax paper which was then put inside a plastic bag.
  4. In wax paper alone.

Each of these methods has an advantage and a disadvantage.

  1. Plastic wrap keeps cheese from drying out but also traps in moisture which makes mould growth faster and easier.
  2. Tin Foil is doesn’t wrap as tightly as plastic wrap slowing mould growth.
  3. Wax paper allows the cheese to breathe therefore reducing moult growth, plus allowing gasses that build up and can alter the taste of your cheese, to escape.  Putting the wax paper wrapped cheese in a plastic bag that isn’t entirely sealed will help keep it from drying out.
  4. Wax paper alone allows the most breathing and will therefore reduce the growth of mould.  BUT cheese is more likely to dry out.

Now, as far as I’m can tell any of these methods will work just fine if you only want to store your cheese for a week.  But what if you want it to last a few weeks?  Even a month?  What then?

So on December 1st I packaged all of the cheese up, stuck it in the back of the fridge and forgot about it.

Dec-9

 

 

When you handle cheese you aren’t supposed to touch it with your bare hands because of the bacterial carry over.  You’re supposed to use surgeons gloves.

Since I’m not insane and assume you aren’t either, I just touched the cheese with my fingers like a normal person would when wrapping it up.

On February 8th I unwrapped my science experiment to very surprising results.

 

unwrapping-cheese

 

Here’s how they fared.

  1. Wax Paper alone – Grew absolutely NO mould at all.  But was as hard as a brick.  This cheese was now a weapon.
  2. Wax Paper in plastic – This cheese grew a fair amount of mould and a lot of it pretty deadly looking.
  3. Tin Foil – Cheese wrapped in tin foil grew what seemed to be mostly surface mould and a lot of it.
  4. Plastic Wrap – Grew the least amount of mould (other than the wax paper wrapped cheese) over a 2 month period.

But the most surprising thing about this experiment was the OTHER side of the cheese.  The side that was actually touching the shelf of the fridge.  The bottom of it.

 

Other-side-of-cheese

The underside of all the cheeses had far less mould growth than the top of it.

It would seem this could have to do with three things.  Light/temperature/air.  The underside of the cheese was pressed flat against a dark, cold surface that would keep more air out than the top of the cheese.  The glass shelf of the fridge would be slightly colder than the actual air and conduct more cold.  Since my fridge is a glass front fridge, with a light on inside of it 24 hours a day (LED light) the cheese in wax paper and plastic wrap would be subjected to a certain amount of light all day.

I have no idea which or which combination of things created the almost mouldless underside of the cheeses, all I know is that it happened.

cheese-inside

Breaking open the cheeses all of them looked the same.  Mouldless.

HOWEVER you can’t see mould until it’s gone completely haywire.  So just because you can’t see mould inside hard cheese doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Mould grows inside hard cheeses through little branches from the surface inwards and they tend to extend slightly less than an inch.

So if you had a big block of cheese with mould on it, it’s recommended that you cut off 1″ all around the mould.  If your cheese is only 1″ thick, like mine here, you’re out of luck.

If your cheese only has mould on the cut end though, you’re perfectly safe to just cut off an inch worth and eat it.  Not the mouldy inch, the rest of the cheese.

And let’s face it.  We’ve all taken a hunk of mouldy cheese and cut off all the mould and then eaten the little sliver left inside during a moment of cheese craving weakness.

I know right now there are several of you getting ready to type “It’s fine! You’re just eating penicillin!” so let me cut you off right now.  Penicillin mould is a bright blue/green mould that came off a cantaloupe in the 40’s.  That’s what penicillin is made of.  You can in fact grow your own Penicillin but it’s grown on bread or citrus peels, not Kraft Cheddar Cheese.

Since this isn’t a post about making your own Penicillin I won’t go into it further but suffice it to say, much like puff pastry, there are some things you should probably just buy pre-made.

The results of my cheese experiment?  I’m not really sure. I guess plastic wrap looks like the best option, which is funny because it’s the #1 way most people advise against.

By comparing these 4 methods  I’ll probably just continue to store my cheese the way I always have.  In my stomach.


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89 Comments

  1. Becky says:

    May I suggest a secondary experiment with waxing the cheese. Dipping it in melted wax is supposed to be the best.

    • Karen says:

      Weird. How does that work? You just cut off a chunk when you want it and then cut the wax off? Might be a fun little experiment. I also meant to mention that I also store my cheese in my Beeswax sandwich wraps which works great, but not for long term storage (over 2 weeks) because the cheese hardens. ~ karen!

      • Mark says:

        If you did the cheese waxing, you would henceforth be known as Karate Karen…. (wax on, wax off)

      • Mark says:

        Thanks for your research.

        My mum used to leave the cheese in the package, except for the cut end which she would put a thin scraping of butter on before rewrapping the cheese

    • Karen says:

      I just quickly looked it up and it looks like this type of cheese storage is more for things like … Armageddon, lol. I am going to order those cheese papers so I can test them out for everyone though. 🙂 ~ karen!

  2. Stephanie Hobson says:

    Hmmm… what about wax paper and then tin foil? I might need to try this, but I’ll have to hide it from my husband. No cheese is safe with him around. If I manage to get it done I’ll post the results.

  3. Valerie says:

    Somewhere I remember a suggestion of soaking a cotton cloth in vinegar and wrapping cheese inside to prevent mould growth.

    • Nancy says:

      I’ve heard that option too.

    • Ellen says:

      The vinegar cloth works. When my parmesan starts going iffy, I trim it & wrap it in a vinegar soaked cloth, then put it in a plastic bag. Keeps for months. Works with other cheese too, but that gets eaten faster.
      And parmesan rinds in a soup are wonderful by the way. No cheesy taste, just richness.

      • Donna Glashan says:

        I’ve read of the vinegar thing too-does it taste of vinegar at all? Would be great if it worked, given the price of Parmigiano-Reggiano

        • Ellen says:

          I use cider vinegar and don’t notice any residual flavour. At $20 for a lump of parmesan, I’m *&)&)*&) if I’m throwing it away!

  4. Sandi says:

    I have heard that’s a Gouda way of storing it as well.

  5. Kathleen says:

    Well, my cheese doesn’t last long enough to grow mould… thankfully. Although there are many who will benefit from your experiment and findings. 🙂
    Have a wonderful week, Karen.

  6. Shirlee says:

    The best way to store cheese is the foodsaver vacuum sealer. You put the cheese in these plastic bags and then into the foodsaver machine which sucks the air out of the bag and seals it. I have kept cheese for months no mould. I also use it for freezing meats as the frost doesn’t build up inside the bag.

    • Edith says:

      Now that is the only healthy and safe way to store cheese for longer than a couple of weeks! Thank you, Shirlee!

    • Deb J. says:

      We use the vacu- sucker technique too. It’s a pain if you intend to eat that chunk but works a treat for long term storage.

    • Karen says:

      Yes, I have Foodsaver Shirlee and I love it! LOVE IT. And I do in fact use it for storing cheese I only use once in a while in large chunks, like pizza cheese. But for something like cheddar or a regular mozzarella that we all pull out of the refrigerator every few days it just needs to be something that you can easily unwrap and wrap back up. That’s the sort of thing I’m experimenting with. ~ karen!

      • I use the mason jar attachment with my vacuum sealer – a wide mouth mason jar can hold a good chunk of cheese, is resealable and doesn’t result in plastic waste. The mason jar attachment is one of my favourite things.

        • Toni says:

          LOVE the foodsaver for this. We buy cheese in bulk (usually at Costco), then cut it into smaller pieces and vacuum seal it for the freezer. Then we can just take a chunk out to eat in a reasonable amount of time. This works best for hard cheeses, obviously; low water content is best. Don’t freeze your Brie! 🙂

  7. Brenda says:

    In France they just leave it out on the counter so you don’t forget to keep eating it – when I lived there that’s what I did – now I don’t and forgetting about it makes it moldy

  8. Jennie Lee says:

    If you could find out what is so special about cheese paper, you could try to find or make something similar that would be cheaper. When I buy cheese, it’s packaged in plastic, so I’m not surprised it worked well. Are we assuming that the mold comes from the cheese itself? Or from spores in the air? Won’t you feel silly if the spores come from your non-gloved hands?

    • Karen says:

      Cheese isn’t supposed to actually be wrapped in plastic though because it doesn’t allow any air to pass through. Cheese paper is actually most similar to wax paper. Something that protects the cheese, but allows it to breathe and lets the gases escape. So, it’s like a really high end wax paper basically. ~ karen!

      • Jan in Waterdown says:

        I wonder if parchment paper would work well?
        The big cheese, ha ha, manufacturers seal their products in heavy plastic and often the “best before” dates are 6 months away! However, once opened and the air gets in, that date goes out the window. Maybe there’s a difference between big commercially produced cheese and the smaller artisanal cheese makers?

  9. Heather J Tebbutt says:

    I enjoy different varieties of cheese as well & I find the soft ones last the longest. Did you ever try the Abeego beeswaxed wraps…I just went on the internet & found it was one of your past posts that mentions Abeego!

    • Heather J Tebbutt says:

      Sorry Karen, I wrote the above before all your replies came in…

      My favourite is an organic cheddar from the Health Food store…once opened I put it into a ziplock bag…it doesn’t last very long as it is so good, it’s gone before it has a chance to get mouldy!!

    • Karen says:

      Yes, and it’s good for storing cheese for a week, or two at most. It’s great actually. But anything longer than that and the cheese goes hard like it did with the wax paper. ~ karen!

  10. Kelli says:

    Solution: Eat more cheese 🙂

  11. catt says:

    I too have been on a quest to ditch the cheese mold. What works best for me is to wrap the cheese thoroughly in a white paper towel or two and then place the whole thing in a ziploc baggie. I have had great success with this method.

    • Mel says:

      Same! Somehow mostly leaving it in the plastic it came in, with a plain paper towel folded loosely over the cut end, in a ziplock bag = no mold. I can’t vouch for the age of my cheeses, but I think Karen’s lighted fridge interior might contribute to the rate of growth?

  12. Bronwyn says:

    Thank you for your sacrifice in the interests of science. That’s the sacrifice of putting cheese anywhere other than your mouth / stomach. I think i”ll just keep buying it in consumable amounts.

    Meantime, you need to amend the first paragraph of your post – “…and McDonalds had just opened it’s first stand alone coffee kiosk, McCafe” by adding “here”. Down here in Australia we’ve had them for YEARS! (In fact we invented the concept!)

  13. Cynthia Jones says:

    I am going to try brown paper. Maybe less light getting through would be a good thing. I think muslin would be good also. That’s what we use to wrap ham bone in and it makes me feel all “Little House on the Prairie”.

    Maybe dampened muslin.?

    I went through a phase of wrapping anything that was wrapped in plastic, in a piece of muslin first, so the plastic didnt touch the food. I soon got over that. But I do like the idea of cheese lasting a long time in the fridge.

    At the moment, I have cut up camembert and feta and only keep small bits in the fridge and the rest in the freezer, but it is annoying.

    My berry favourite cheese is grilled Haloumi. Yum, that’s what my dinner will be tonight with a mango and some broccoli. Thanks for the inspiration Karen.

    • Sia says:

      Hi Cynthia!
      I’ve never attempted to freeze Feta. Interesting.
      Coming from a greek house, though, I can tell you that storing it covered in salt water (brine) keeps feta long.
      My mom use to buy a huge block from our local greek shop, cut it into smaller serving size blocks, and simply pull out one piece at a time. She also asked the merchant to give her a bag of the brine that came with the feta itself. May have been a magical brine or something… Lol

      I rinse the feta before putting it on the plate cuz it sometimes feels a little soft around…

      I feel a cheese craving coming on!

  14. Milton says:

    Karen thanks for your untiring research on questions I’ve wondered about but never really had the time to research. This article was interesting to me because I never really thought about the fact that the Chinese don’t eat cheese:

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160125-why-some-cultures-love-the-tastes-you-hate?ocid=ww.social.link.email

  15. Cheryl says:

    I bet that had you not touched the cheese with your bare hands, the results would have been different. It truly does make a difference between how long cheese will last without molding.
    I tend to just leave as much of the orginal packaging on, then toss the cheese into a ziploc bag. Lasts for weeks and weeks.

    • stephbo says:

      That’s exactly what I do. I Druze all of the air possible out of the ziplock bag before I seal it. I’m weirdly talented at almost getting a vacuum seal on the cheese as I squeeze out all the air.

    • Karen says:

      Oh you’re probably right Cheryl. But, we all touch cheese when we use it so it didn’t make sense for me to not touch it. I’ve often wanted to do an experiment when I put one fingerprint on a piece of cheese and see if that’s where it gets contaminated. ~ karen!

      • Nancy Blue Moon says:

        Hey…that would be very interesting…maybe you should try it…

      • Erin says:

        If you leave the original packaging on the cheese, then just peel down and holding the plastic cut or grate, you don’t have to touch the cheese.
        Having said that the best storage for long term freshness is Tupperware.

      • Victoria says:

        Cheese lasts long enough to grow mold? We did this in Microbiology (a million years ago) with startling results. Touched our unwashed, washed with water, washed with soap hands onto agar plates and then incubated them. Pretty much all were various stages of gross. My takeaway was don’t touch the food to be stored with my hands. Cheese is part of my locarb diet plan so I buy the block of Havarti @ Costco about every 2 weeks and now also the English Coastal Cheddar at TJ’s, leave the original wrap on and snuggle it into a ziplock bag.

  16. Linda says:

    sprinkle a white paper towel (none of those recycled brown things) with regular vinegar. Wrap the piece of cheese in that then over wrap in tinfoil. It should last for months. We are not cheese lovers but I do keep cheese around for adding to the odd dish. With this method, I am not tossing out moldy cheese.

    I also use the vacuum food saver for cheese with great success. That allows me to protect chunks of Grana Padano. We go through a maximum of two wedges per year (Costco size) mostly for caesar salads or pasta. I split each wedge into 4 or 5 smaller pieces and vacuum seal each separately.

  17. Centi says:

    Perfect! I always use plastic wrap. It works quite well. At least if you don’t want to store the cheese for eight weeks. But no cheese would ever last that long in my fridge.

  18. Marna says:

    That was very interesting! Thank you for the experiment. I wondered if there was a way to keep cheese for longer. I buy it on sale and for the regular types I grate it and freeze it. I love cheese, all types of cheese. Now I want cheese! 🙂

  19. Alexandra says:

    I’d actually be even more interested in research about WHAT KIND OF EFFING PERSON KEEPS HER EFFING CHEESE IN HER FRIDGE FOR MORE THAN A WEEK. Ahem. Do excuse me while I shovel some Brillat-Savarin into my mouth.
    With a sliver of Gruyère.

  20. Vivella says:

    I have successfully kept extra blocks of cheese in the freezer, but some types do degrade in that they crumble when you try to slice them. The best method I have heard of is to rub a little oil on the open surface of cheese, then reapply after cutting a piece. If any mould grows, it is on the oil itself and not the cheese.

  21. Leslie Rose says:

    LOVE the turquoise ring! Better than cheese…and I do love cheese.

  22. Some years ago I had (well truth is I still do but ever since this happened I control it better) an unnatural fondness for croissants. I would buy them fresh, frozen, frozen and uncooked so I could cook them and have them fresh, well you get the picture. One day I went to have a croissant, the VERY LAST ONE, and horror of horrors, there was a spot of mould on it. Just a tiny spot and as you suggest, I rationalized this with “how bad could it be, if I just tear off that bit there, I’m sure it will be fine. After all isn’t that where they discovered penicillin so in effect I’m just eating penicillin and if anything it should fight off any infection I might be harbouring.”
    Do NOT try this experiment at home or anywhere for that matter, it is NOT penicillin and I was NOT fine. I didn’t die, obviously, but I sure didn’t feel good for a day or two. Cheese on the other hand, I just scrape it off and good to go 😉

  23. Ann says:

    I got this hint a few months ago at a ladies group I belong to. Tried it and am loving it for my longer term cheese storage. I get a flat tupperware type container. Place a folded up white paper towel in the bottom. Add 1 sugar cube and your cheese. The paper towel helps keep the moisture down and the sugar cube must inhibit mold growth. In over 2 months I had no mold. It does help to change out the paper towel each time you feel it get damp, which for me is every week or so, or about once every 3-4 times of opening and getting out cheese. It helps to only store 1 cheese per container. Each cheese develops from a different mold and I think that they can cross contaminate each other with less than good results.

    I also love cheese. But alas, my husband’s cancer diet does not include cheese or actually any animal fat at all. So cheese made into a dish for a meal is out. So I eat a lot of just plain old cheese while he is not looking, since he so wishes he could have some too

    • Karen says:

      That’s an interesting one. I’ll add that to the list of my next cheese storing experiment. Hope you’re husband’s getting back on track! ~ karen

  24. Cindy says:

    This was so interesting. Love, love your blog <3

  25. Mel Robicheau says:

    I used to put it in plastic wrap but now put it in a sandwich size rubbermaid container. I haven’t had mold since.
    And thank you for confirming that you can’t just cut the mold off and eat the rest. I can’t stomach doing that but so many people say otherwise. And I love cheese. It is a condiment in our house.

  26. John says:

    No one said anything about blue cheese. Is that mould?

  27. Cindy says:

    I too use a plain ole white paper towel. Remove the plastic wrapper, wrap the cheese in the paper, put it on a plastic bag. I shove the cheese wrapper in the plastic bag too cuz I don’t always remember which cheese is which just by looking at it. Everytime I take the cheese out of the fridge I rewrap it using a new paper towel. It stays mold free for a good bit of time. I store it in a drawer that allows a ‘deli’ setting….as opposed to the veggie or fruit setting. I think the sugar cube in an earlier post is used to absorb moisture. I have Debbie Myers plastic ware that works pretty dang good at keeping food/fruit/veggies fresh way longer than normal. If I had some of this bad ass plastic ware thats shape to hold a sandwich I’d use it for the cheese too instead of a plastic bag.

  28. jainegayer says:

    For some reason I’m feeling hungry for an extra sharp, grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. I try not to touch the cheese as I’m cutting it (and stuffing it in my mouth) and I keep it as much as possible in the wrapper it came in and store it in a vintage glass refrigerator dish. Seems to work pretty well. I love your ring too.

  29. Ev Wilcox says:

    I use a vaccu-suck for beef roasts, pork, flour, and if I ever had enough cheese to store (and not eat up) I would use it for that too! At this point I guess you could say the sucker is a must have here, and if the present one broke, a new one would appear on the counter very soon! It is great for when you buy a bunch of almost anything while on sale. When we got the first one it was a novelty, and anything not moving got sealed! My eldest son was still at home then, and I would seal his sandwich, cookies, an apple, etc, anything I could, and sneak them back in the bag before he left for work! For some reason he seemed to not appreciate this! Car keys were not exempt either! Sigh…the good old days. Anyway, interesting experiment Karen!

  30. Ellen says:

    I once had a new, unopened package of cheese go completely moldy in a rather short period of time. THAT was a bummer, it was at the back of the cheese drawer and was overlooked.

  31. Elaine says:

    Thank you, Karen, for the never-ending “research” you do for us readers. I’m always amazed at your continual curiosity about everything from soup to nuts!

    I bet you had this same trait even as a little kid. Instead of playing and dressing her up pretty, I picture you taking apart a talking doll (like Chatty Cathy) just to see how the doll talks. lol!

    I also appreciate that you keep your experiments and research real …. e.g. not having us donning surgical gloves when cutting cheese AND not using that vacuum seal appliance every time we want cheese.

  32. Lynn says:

    LOVE THIS post! As a Wisconsin girl it was a bit painful to see all that delicious cheese sacrificed, but since it was ‘for science’ I can accept it. It’s good to know that plastic wrap is winner. You will find at *least* three varieties of cheese in our fridge at all times [it’s a law in Wisconsin. no… no it isn’t – but it should be].

  33. Jan in Waterdown says:

    My mom used to just cut off the mould way back in the ’50s and I do the same thing, although I have to hide that from my husband. Amazing how we all channel our mothers, sometimes even the stuff we didn’t like, but that’s another story. So far, neither of has croaked. I also used to pinch the mould off bread but decided that was going a little too far . . . have to maintain some standards, low as they may be . . .

  34. Ruth says:

    I seem to remember my mom freezing blocks of cheese during my childhood. There was no clingfilm back then so wax paper AND foil is what she used. When the refrigerated portion was all gone (in a few days), she took another block from the chest freezer to replace it. We never witnessed moldy cheese.

  35. Jan in Waterdown says:

    Btw, meant to wish happy Family Day to my fellow Canucks in Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia Heritage Day, Louis Riel Day in Manitoba and Islander Day in PEI . . . whew! Who knew there were so many things to celebrate in 6 provinces in just one day. Too bad about the rest of the country. Sucks to be you. I’m still in my jammies and it’s almost half past noon. 😜

  36. Barbie says:

    I like he wax idea Karen! Do that! It’s very….ummmm … Cheesy-ish

  37. Linda says:

    I cut off the moldy part on a chunk of cheese and give it to the dogs, who adore it. No waste, just happy pets.
    What’s in bread mold that will kill you? And picking it off isn’t good enough?

  38. Janice says:

    British cookbook author Delia Smith recommends a double wrap of waxed paper. I have been doing this for years and it works really well.

  39. Debbie says:

    Try Debbie Meyer Greenbags. http://www.debbiemeyer.com/ I love them. They are reusable (about ten times, I believe) and they extend the life of cheese, veggies, fruit salad and anything else I’ve tried putting these bags. I’ve been using them for years. There are knock-offs, but I know the Debbie Meyer bags work. If there is a Bed, Bath & Beyond, a coupon can be used. They can be ordered online. Love them.

    For the methods you tried, what about putting the plastic wrapped cheese in a paper lunch bag to keep out the light?

  40. Karin Sorensen says:

    thanks you Karen, your sacrifice shall not be forgotten.

    glutton that i am, i had to have the 1.3 kg block of feta from BJs. i almost panicked cause i didn’t know what to do with all this cheese and knew that once it’s open i gotta figure something out.
    i chopped off a hunk that goes into my daily tomato salad for the fridge, the rest i put in the freezer. i hope it’s ok.

    growing up the way i did, i don’t have much issues with mold. if it doesn’t kill ya, it makes you stronger, i say

    :0B

  41. I used a paper towel to wrap the cheese then into a ziplock baggie. It seems to work pretty well.

  42. Tara says:

    Karen

    Take a piece of cheesecloth and douse it with white vinegar so it is very moist. Wrap your cheese in it. Then wrap it in plastic wrap or a ziplock. Not only does the cheese last but it does not take on the vinegar taste! Works like a charm and since large chunks of cheese can be a small investment, a great way to save money. Enjoy!

  43. Tara says:

    And I forgot to mention the best part—the cheese stays moist and does not dry out!

  44. Marta says:

    Maybe a more practical alternative to the dipped-in-wax thing might be the beeswax storage wraps (as seen in this tutorial http://www.mommypotamus.com/diy-reusable-food-wrap/).
    Lastly, if you call the growth “flowers” like Hickory Farm does, that solves your mould problem altogether.
    Cheers

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Flowers. I make beeswax wraps and even have a post about how easy and fun they are to make. But they don’t work well for storing cheese any longer than a week or two. The cheese gets hard. No mould, but hard. I’ve had so many interesting suggestions in this post that I’m going to give a few more a shot in the next month. ~ karen!

  45. Grammy says:

    Thank you for doing the experiment for us. I, too, want you to do the wax thing next time. That would be fun.

    Some of your post is disturbing, though. I have always trimmed the mold off the surface of cheese and I just barely take off enough to get rid of the visible mold. The idea of trimming an inch from all the moldy sides makes me cringe. I also just pinch the mold off bread. It’s what my mother did, and what I’ve always done. To my knowledge, no one has ever died from my practice of cheapness (I don’t bother with dressing it up by calling myself “thrifty”), but I suppose I could check that out more thoroughly and report back. All I know is my husband and kids (my kids are older than you) are all still alive despite having eaten food from my kitchen all their lives. I’ll try to do better in the future, but I can’t guarantee that I’ll stop completely.

    • Kim from Milwaukee says:

      I’m with you, Grammy. I can’t bear to waste a half inch of cheese let alone a whole INCH! I believe it IS illegal in Wisconsin to do such a thing.

  46. Kate says:

    Karen,
    In your next round, try Press n’ Seal. I used some to wrap a hunk of hard cheese, and then (unfortunately!) it got shoved all the way to the back of the fridge. That was around Christmas, and I just found it again last week. Surprisingly, no mold top or bottom, and it wasn’t hard as a rock! It was definitely harder than it had been, but not weaponized like yours was. 😉

    I wonder if it’s the close seal on it that does it- I had really pressed it all over to make a close seal. It still breathes a bit, though, I think, more than regular plastic wrap. Anyway, something to consider for your future cheese-mold adventures!

  47. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Great post Karen…I love experiments to try and solve everyday problems like this…my son and I are also cheese lovers and hate for any of it to go to waist…Our latest obsession is Golda…

    • Nancy Blue Moon says:

      Also thanks for showing your gorgeous turquoise ring….I have been craving one lately as I lost the last one I had years ago…Guess I’ll have to look for a bargain on eBay or Etsy…

  48. Jack Ledger says:

    When should you go on a cheese diet? If you need to cheddar a few pounds!

    I am sorry, I can’t help it. I seem to be quietly slipping back into my childhood.

  49. leslie says:

    Make cornbread with cheese for your leftover cheddar or feta (my fave), etc…

  50. Rory Z. says:

    I love you Karen. you are definitely “blessed to be a blessing” Reading your posts always makes my day;-D
    re: cheese~~i just wrap mine in cheesecloth! of all things LOL! and then plastic wrap or a zip lock bag. Works for me for about three weeks and then if it is moldy it is only on the surface and i could get away with shaving it off but i DO cut a good amount off just in case. I was thinking of you today as I decided to try a little front yard gardening this year. Studhubs isn’t too keen on the chickens YET! But Easter is almost here;-D
    Have an awesome and blessed day!
    \o/ r.

  51. Wendy W says:

    So this may be blasphemy to some, but I’ve been known to freeze cheese. If I have a big block of mozza or cheddar, I will grate it before hand and throw it in the freezer. It works great for casseroles, or anything that you need grated cheese for. Honestly, I even buy the pre-shredded cheese and throw it in there. If you freeze it in a block, instead of grated, it will crumble when thawed. Not great for slicing, but still tastes good to eat. If you don’t want to use it frozen, like for tacos, I just thaw it for a bit before using.

  52. Ruth says:

    When I buy cheese it is usually on sale and I buy it in bulk. I cut each block into sections (3 or 4) wrap them air -tight in freezer friendly plastic and put them in the freezer. I take sections out as I need them. They are perfectly usable and good with no mold…lol… and you can manipulate them just as though they were fresh.

  53. I’ve had consistent cheese storage success wrapping cheeses such as cheddar in parchment paper followed by a layer of stretch wrap.

    Make sure both the parchment paper and the stretch wrap, especially, is wrapped very, very, tightly around the chunk of cheese. Slightly less effective but definitely less wasteful is to use a Ziploc or other reusable plastic bags instead of the stretch wrap. I just rubber band them on to hold them tight.

    Works great for breaking down big (a la Costco) sized bricks of the stuff.

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