It’s very easy to get excited at the cheese counter. If you’re like me, walking up to one usually leads to purchasing way more cheese than one can (comfortably) eat in a single evening. It also doesn’t help that they constantly give out free tasters, but what can you do, they are free after all.
What makes the dairy treat so great? The fact that it doesn’t go off for ages! Well, at least if you store it properly. I can’t tell you how annoying it is to pull out cheese from the fridge to find out it’s mouldy (and it’s not blue cheese).
How do you keep your lovely cheese from turning bad longer? Do NOT store it in plastic. If you give me a bit of your time, I’ll try to explain why, with a little help from Life Hacker’s “The Grown-Up” Kitchen.
You see, even though it is gone off milk, all cheeses are little living wedges, those babies need to breathe. Suffocating them with plastic wrap not only prevents moisture escaping – which leads to damp cheese – it adds that off-putting plastic-y flavor. Storing cheese properly takes a bit more time than just throwing it in a plastic bag. Trust me, the pay off is worth it.
First, what you need to do it get your special friend out of their original packaging. If you don’t intend to eat your cheese right away, remove the plastic it came wrapped in. If it came wrapped in cheese paper, just leave it alone. Also, try and keep water and or brine packed cheeses in their original liquid, changing the water every few days if you haven’t eaten it by then.
You should always try and keep a cheese-friendly environment too. The best way to do this? Invest in some cheese paper. If that isn’t available to you (or you didn’t know you could), you can create the same breathable and moist environment with stuff you already have in your kitchen.
One of the best ways to do this is to wrap the cheese in parchment, secure it with painters tape (the blue kind) and label it with the name of cheese and the date it was purchased. If you have a selection of cheeses (of course you do) you can put them in a sealable plastic container.
This prevents the cheeses from absorbing any fridge odors, while still giving it room to breath itself. If your fridge has space you could make a little cheese dome so you don’t have to package them (and you can keep soft cheeses in there). Make the dome or put the tuppaware cheese box in the vegetable tray – the warmest place in the fridge.
When you’re finally ready to polish off your cheese supply, take it out of its packaging (it always feels like Christmas when you do that) and let it come to room temperature. All cheeses need to time to soften and open up so you can experience every single nuanced flavor.
There you have it, the ultimate cheese guide. Granted this isn’t applicable to string cheese or Babybell, but it makes a huge difference with a fruity blue cheese or an aged gouda. Happy Cheeseing!