How to Store Cheese: Cheese Care and Storage
Contrary to how it might look (i.e. inanimate) cheese is alive! Cheeses, like fruit and wine, ripen and change over time. With the right selection from us and the right TLC from you, you can keep your cheese in top notch condition! Shop our selection of award-winning cheeses from America's best artisan producers.
How should my cheese look and smell upon arrival?
- Cheese is a living product, and depending on the variety, cheeses have a wide range of textures, flavors, and aromas. It is not atypical for your package to have a strong smell upon arrival. This smell should dissipate slowly once the package has been opened. Cheese produces ammonia as a byproduct during aging, and even a short trip in a confined space can amplify that (and other!) aromas.
- More often than not when regards smell, the bark is worse than the bite! Just because a cheese smells strong does not always mean that it will taste strong. Let your tastebuds be your guide - try a bit and see what you think!
How should I wrap my cheese?
- Cheese should be kept wrapped in the cheese paper that we send it to you in. The paper is specially designed to allow the cheese to breathe and not get dried out.
- The next best thing is foil. We swear! It works like a charm. Foil protects the cheese and keeps it from drying out.
- The next best thing is parchment paper. If you're using parchment paper it's probably a good idea to wrap the cheese in paper first, then wrap that in plastic wrap or put it in a ziploc bag. If you leave the cheese wrapped just in parchment paper, there's a good chance that air will permeate the wrapping and start to dry the cheese out.
- DO NOT wrap your cheese directly in plastic or saran wrap! The fats in the cheese interact with the plastic and cause a stale, plastic-y flavor to develop.
- If you accidentally toss your cheese paper, don't despair! You can buy spare cheese wrapping paper right from us.
How long will my cheese last?
- Soft cheeses should be eaten more quickly than aged cheeses - a good general rule of thumb is that soft cheese should be eaten within 2 weeks of receipt.
- Firmer cheeses can last in the fridge for a few weeks. The firmer the cheese is, and the less moisture it has, the longer it will keep. You can keep aged cheeses for a REALLY long time... (2 months or more) They might develop surface mold on the cut surface, but they're still safe to eat - just trim that mold off!
How should I serve my cheese?
- To best enjoy cheese, serve it at room temperature.
- We recommend taking your cheese out of the fridge for an hour or so before serving to allow the cheese to come to room temperature and for the flavors to fully express themselves.
How should I store my cheese?
- As a general rule, we recommend storing your cheese in the fridge when it's not being served. The colder temperatures will stabilize the cheese and keep it from ripening too quickly.
- Don't freeze cheese! Freezing cheese can alter the flavor and texture in undesirable ways.
- If you're not afraid of it (and trust us, there's nothing to be afraid of!) you can store your cheese on the countertop under a glass cloche. Technically you can store any cheese out of refrigeration (it was invented thousands of years before the first fridge!) but keep in mind that it will continue to ripen. This means that soft cheeses will get runnier and stronger in flavor, and firm cheeses might sweat out a bit of butterfat, but they're still safe to eat and delicious! We recommend storing cheese out of the fridge if you plan to go through it fairly quickly, say in 3-4 days' time.
What about mold? Is it okay to eat mold on cheese?
- All of the mold on cheese is technically edible, including the mold on the rind. However there are certain kinds of mold that are more or less desirable.
- Should any mold develop on the cut surface of the cheese, don't worry, and DON'T throw the cheese away! Simply trim away the surface mold and then keep on enjoying that glorious wedge!
- Blue, green, or gray-ish mold on the rind of a soft-ripened (aka Brie-style) cheese is natural, edible and is just a part of the aging process. These molds show up in the cave and on the rind from time to time and are not indicative of any defect.
How do I know if my cheese has 'gone bad'?
- Most cheese does not 'go bad'. Cheese is a fermented product, and the fermentation process as well as the addition of salt, acts as a natural preservative.
- Cheese, like wine and other fermented products is 'alive' and therefore has a life cycle. The life cycle of soft, gooey cheeses is shorter than the life cycle of a firm, aged cheese.
- Firm cheeses are pretty indestructible. You can just trim the mold off the outside and continue to eat them and the flavor will not be compromised.
- The rinds of soft-ripened cheeses (cheese made the style of Brie or Camembert) will start to look brownish the older that they get and they will also start to smell of ammonia if they are too old.
- If you're on the fence about whether or not your cheese is too old, trust your tastebuds! Try a little bit and see if it's too strong for you. If it's too strong to eat on it's own, consider using it to melt in mac and cheese.
- The exception to this rule are fresh, unfermented cheeses like mozzarella, burrata, ricotta, and queso fresco, etc. These cheeses will go bad, and you should abide by their best by dates. If you are worried that your cheese has gone bad before the best by date, trust your nose! If the cheese smells or tastes sour or 'off' like milk that has turned in your fridge, dispose of it.