Cheese 101: How to store your cheese

So you’ ve bought yourself a yummy hunk of cheese from Vineyard Market, but you didn’t finish it all and you’re left wondering, “what the heck do I do with it?”

Almost every other day customers in Glen Rock ask me how long a cheese will keep or how to best store it for maximum freshness.  To best understand how to store cheese, there’s one thing that you first need to understand about it–cheese is a living organism.  It contains bacteria and enzymes that need air to breathe and survive.  That said, here are some tips on how to best store your cheese:

  • At Vineyard Market, we like to be practical.  Our cheeses are wrapped in plastic wrap for good reason–we want you to see the quality of the product you are getting!  With clear wrap you can see the color, feel the consistency, and smell the aromas of the cheese–something you can’t do with opaque cheese papers.  Have no fear though, we are constantly testing and re-wrapping our cheeses to ensure you are getting a top quality product.  And that is our first tip–re-wrap your cheese and re-wrap it often!  Once you get it from us, re-wrap it.  Once you’ve eaten some, re-wrap it.  If it’s been sitting in your refrigerator for a while, re-wrap it!  This way, your cheese gets a chance to breathe and gets a fresh, clean environment!
  • Now, back to the plastic wrap vs fancy cheese paper debate.  In my personal experiences, I have found that the ideal way to wrap cheese for storage is to first wrap it in wax or parchment paper, then loosely wrap it in plastic wrap or put it in a Ziploc bag that is just barely sealed.  This way the cheese has a chance to breathe, and to also let go of any aromas that can cause it to go bad quicker.
  • Cheese is best stored between 35 and 45 degrees AND as far away from your freezer as possible!  Freezing cheese takes all the moisture out of it, which leads to a not-so-ideal texture when defrosted and often times takes away from the flavor of your cheese.  The vegetable drawer is the most ideal spot for it.  You could also designate a Tupperware container solely to cheese, but remember to open it up once a day so it can breathe!  Likewise, you’ll want to store pungent cheeses away from non-stinky cheeses so the milder ones don’t pick up the flavors and aromas!
  • Remember how I said cheese is a living organism, and has bacteria in and on it?  Keep this in mind when you notice white, green or blue colored mold start to grow on the surface of your cheese.  This doesn’t mean it’s bad.  Simply trim about 1/4″-1/2″ off where the mold is growing.  If the cheese below it is clean, then you’re good to go!

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