May 20, 2013 2 Comments
We love cheese! However, with only three of us in the family, a block of cheese in the refrigerator can get moldy before we finish eating it. We came up with a cheese storage method that reduces the risk of mold, but it wasn’t good enough for those times when we have either a large amount of cheese in open packages or some cheese that’s been handled or exposed to air (for example, left over from church coffee hour) so that it probably has more mold spores on it.
The obvious solution is to freeze excess cheese, killing the spores. But when I tried it, I found that a thawed block of cheese has a different consistency than one that was never frozen–it’s much more crumbly and seems more likely to get condensation on the surface. However, grated cheese survives freezing and thawing just fine! Once thawed, it gets moldy or dried-out more quickly than a block of cheese because of the greater surface area. (This is true of grated cheese that was never frozen, too, unless it’s the kind that’s sold pre-grated, which is usually sprayed with a mold inhibitor such as the antibiotic natamycin, which is thought to be safe, as well as some kind of anti-clumping powder such as potato starch that I’d just as soon avoid; I think home-grated cheese tastes better!)
To make the most efficient use of our cheese, I leave no more than 1/2 pound in the refrigerator after the package has been opened, unless we have immediate plans for it. I grate the extra cheese and freeze it in portions we can use in recipes: 2 or 3 cups for a big batch of burritos, 1 1/2 cups for Cheesy Walnut Burgers, 1 cup for Stuffed Shells, 3/4 cup for Mac & Cheese. As with our homemade frozen vegetables, having convenient ingredients ready to thaw helps us keep cooking at home even in busy times. Read more…