How Long Does Cheese Last?

Everyone knows cheese. Cheese is a dairy product made from milk and made by coagulating the milk protein casein into a variety of flavors, textures, and shapes. It is made out of proteins and fat from cows, sheep, buffaloes, or goat’s milk.

Cheese is a satisfactory food item. We like to keep a few varieties in our fridge at all times to ensure we’re ready for unexpected guests or to cook our favorite meals. The main drawback is that some cheeses don’t last long. As a result, we’re here to assist you in making the necessary preparations. 

Each cheese will last a different amount of time depending on where it comes from and how it’s stored: nevertheless, the following criteria are basic standards for how long specific types of cheese will last.

Hard cheese

These cheese have the longest lifespan. They have been boiled, pressed, and matured to make them gratable. Asiago, Roman, and cheddar are some of our favorite cheeses in this category. An unopened package can keep two to four months in the fridge, and 6-8 Monaghan in the freezer, if stored properly. In the fridge, though, an opened container of Parmesan or a block of cheddar will last around six weeks and still last for about 6-8 months in the freezer. Keep in mind that frozen cheese has a little different flavor than fresh cheese.

Semi-hard/ semi-soft cheese

Cheddar, Swiss, Gouda, and Provolone are examples of semi-hard cheeses. These cheeses have been cooked and pressed but not matured, therefore they have a higher moisture content. An unopened package can be kept in the fridge for 1-2 months, and 6-8 months in the freezer. 

That opened chunk of Gouda and block of Gruyère can be kept in the fridge for two to three weeks, or frozen for 6-8 months. Keep unopened cheese in its original box for optimum storage, and wrap any leftovers loosely in parchment inside a Ziploc bag so air can flow without the cheese drying out.

Soft cheese

Soft cheeses, such as cream cheese, Brie, mozzarella, feta, Gorgonzola, and Camembert, have more moisture than hard cheeses, so they won’t survive as long in the fridge and should be eaten within one to two weeks. Although you can preserve cheeses like mozzarella in the freezer, once defrosted, they lose their fluffy, cheesy character. Keep soft cheeses in their unopened package until you’re ready to utilize them for the greatest results. Soft cheese will last 1-2 weeks in the fridge and about 6-8 months in the freezer.

A multitude of factors influences the shelf life of cheese, including the type of cheese, the processing method and packaging date, the cheese’s exposure to heat, how the cheese is stored, and the best by or sell-by date. The firmer the cheese, the longer it will last. If it is not properly preserved, it will, of course, last for a shorter period of time. But keep in mind that cheese, like many other dairy products, has a “sell by” or “best by” date, which is merely the last date by which a manufacturer will guarantee a product’s quality, not its safety. Because of this distinction, you can use cheese to complement your favorite dishes even after the “best by date” has passed.

How do you know when the cheese has gone bad?

The majority of cheesemaking begins with the fermentation of milk, which is followed by enzymatic processes that alter and degrade the raw material, breaking down lipids and proteins into compounds that can have an odd or foul odor. So sniffing a suspicious slice of cheese isn’t the same as sniffing ruined milk; you might not notice anything’s wrong right away. Instead, you’ll have to use your senses to play detective. Look for extra slimy surfaces, black, dry, and cracked patches in hard cheese, or yellow splotches on blue cheese as visual cues.

A bloated appearance might also be an indicator if the cheese is still unopened. If you smell ammonia, it means the cheese has been wrapped too tightly and has been unable to breathe; nevertheless, this does not necessarily mean the cheese has gone bad. Still undecided? To make a final decision, nibble on the cheese; if it’s unusually sour or just plain off-tasting, it’s past its prime.

The effects of freezing and thawing on cheese 

Cheeses with more water content will freeze at a more high temperature than those with less water content. Cottage cheese, for example, freezes at 29.8°F (-1.2°C), but cheddar freezes at 8.8°F (-12.9°C) (1). 

Although freezing cheese does not damage its nutrients, it does alter its texture and quality.

When cheese freezes, little ice crystals grow on the interior, causing the cheese’s internal structure to be disrupted. Water is released when it is thawed, causing the product to dry up, crumble, and possibly have a dry texture.

Microbes in cheese, such as bacteria, yeasts, and mold, are also inactivated by freezing. This prolongs the shelf life of the product, keeping it from spoiling. 

Freezing, on the other hand, does not kill these bacteria; rather, it disarms them. As a result, when the cheese thaws, it may reactivate.

How should Cheese be stored in order to extend its shelf life? 

Cheese can be kept fresher for longer by storing it in the refrigerator at 40°F or lower after each usage. To keep moisture and other contaminants out, it should be stored in its original wrapper or a firmly sealed container. Bacteria can’t grow as quickly in dry settings, therefore hard cheese lasts longer than soft cheese. Cheese should only be left out for two hours at a time since it will quickly deteriorate as the temperature rises. 

Containers of Kraft dry parmesan cheese, on the other hand, do not need to be refrigerated. In fact, they last just as long in the pantry, if not longer, as they do in the fridge, where they tend to clump. 

With the exception of parmesan blocks, you may freeze your hard cheese for a few months while maintaining its flavor if you use a freezer-safe container that is devoid of oxygen. While letting previously frozen cheese thaw in the refrigerator is the ideal approach, some can be baked while still frozen. When frozen, cheeses may alter the texture and seem dry and crumbly when thawed.

Simon
Simon

Writer at Foodexpired.com, love experiments and verifying facts.

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