Cheese Crazy (Plastic-free!)

How to Store Cheese Successfully at Home

  • Before buying, make sure the package is properly wrapped and sealed, and that the cheese inside looks appealing. Avoid any cheese that looks dry or discolored, as the seal may be broken or buy from a service counter from people who know their cheese. Check the freshness date on the package for fresh cheeses. When you get them home:
  • Fresh cheeses should be kept cold, in their original containers, and consumed quickly.
  • Unwrap all other cheeses immediately. Plastic wrap suffocates cheese.
  • Rub the surface of all but White, Grey, Blue, and Washed Rind cheeses with olive, canola or other cooking oil. Rub only the cut faces of the White, Grey and Washed rinds. Blue will protect itself.
  • Keep cheese in a covered container in your refrigerator on a clean, dry, lightly crumpled paper towel or two, leaving a little breathing room. Similar cheeses can be stored together, as long as they don’t touch. You can use plastic webbing, or the mats they use to roll up sushi, to stack in layers and still allow airspace.
  • When mold starts to form, it will consume the oil and not the cheese; simply wipe it off, or rinse in tepid water. Dry, rub with fresh oil and store as above in a clean container with clean towels.
  • Keep washed rind, blue, flavored and white rind cheeses in separate containers to prevent mingling.
  • If it's for just a few days, an oversized resealable bag with a crumpled towel will do. Be sure to minimize contact so it can breathe.
  • If stored as above and rubbed with oil, larger chunks of semi-hard and hard natural cheeses can keep for months. Wipe off any mold every couple of weeks as it forms. After a few treatments, mold will slow or cease to grow if your container has enough towels to soak up excess moisture. Change the towels and wash container often.
  • Always serve all but fresh cheeses at room temperature: take them out of refrigeration for a couple of hours before serving. You can cover with a clean damp cloth to hold for longer, the condensation acts as a kind of coolant.
  • Keep all surfaces clean and avoid contaminating your cheese with other raw foods on cutting surfaces or by spills. If so, simply wash in tepid water, dry and store as above.
  • Keeping cheese well means tending to it, catching mold early, refreshing the air regularly, cleaning the container and changing the towel, and turning the cheese from time to time to counter gravity. But the results can be tasted within a few days of proper storage!

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