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How to store cheese

How to store your cheese – and what are the signs that the cheese has gone bad? Get the answers here!

Remove any plastic wrapping

Wrapping your cheese in any type of plastic, whether it be cellophane or bags, prevents it from breathing and builds up too much moisture. Sealing it in plastic alters the protective rind that preserves the cheese, and eventually removes any flavor and texture.

Use cheese paper or aluminium foil

Conserve your cheese by covering it in wax paper and aluminium foil. This keeps it from drying out, and allows it to breathe, ensuring that your cheese lasts as long as possible. Once wrapped you should place your cheese in an airtight container, to make sure it gets the right amount of moisture. A plastic container also stops strong cheeses from emitting extreme odor, and shields against pressure and bumps.

Soft cheeses, such as Brie and Camembert, will last several weeks if wrapped in wax paper under proper conditions, while firm cheeses, i.e. cheddar and parmesan, thrive inside aluminium foil.

Don’t wrap it too tightly

Some cheeses are cured for bacteria to develop ammonia. Ammonia is a natural by-product of cheese, but most cheeses develop unpleasant flavors if they never get to release it. Wrapping cheese too tightly prevents it from releasing moisture and breathing out odors that can cause ammonia. When wrapping your cheese in aluminium foil, you should make sure to leave room for it to breathe.

Replace the paper

While cutting or serving your cheese, you will unavoidably have to touch the wrapper. Avoid bacteria from your fingers or other foods staining your cheese by replacing the wrapping paper after each use. This maintains the natural balance of humidity in the wrapping and ensures that your cheese stays fresh and flavorful for as long as possible.

Keep it in the vegetable drawer

When storing your cheese, the temperature should be the same as which it was cured at. For most cheeses 40-45°F will keep them fresh for a few weeks, provided they have been properly wrapped. Leaving your cheese in the fridge will decelerate the maturing rate, while warmer conditions allows mold and flavor to develop much quicker. Keep in mind that storing cheese in the refrigerator eventually will dehydrate it, and make it dry out. A much better option would be to store it in the vegetable drawer.

Remember to bring out all the nuances in the flavor by removing your cheese from the refrigerator an hour before serving.

Use your nose

You can learn a lot from looking at your cheese. Do not be afraid to touch, smell or inspect your cheese for dryness or any unwanted moisture. If your cheese is feeling unwell, it will be sure to let you know. Look for any cracks that could indicate dry air, and if you smell any odor of ammonia, it could be a sign that it is time to throw your cheese away. Storing your cheese the right way, reduces the risk of your cheese going bad prematurely.