How to best store cheese

Cheese should ideally be kept in the upper part of the refrigerator. If possible, buy your cheese in a block, not cut or grated; that way, it will keep for longer. Always wrap up cheese before placing it in the refrigerator, so as to prevent it from becoming dry.

Blue cheeses keep best if wrapped in cling film or a closed container. This will help to prevent the mould cultures from spreading to other cheeses.

Hard and semi-hard cheeses tend to “sweat” when wrapped in cling film. Condensation can form, and mould may spread. Ideally, you should ask the supermarket to let you have an extra piece of cheese-wrapping paper in which to wrap such cheeses; or you can simply use greaseproof paper. Don’t remove the rind on cheese that you buy in a block, as this protects it against mould. If mould forms on a small part of a block of hard cheese, you should generously trim off a piece measuring about 2 to 3 cm around the mouldy part. However, if mould appears in several places, the cheese should be thrown away. In order to determine whether white spots showing on the surface of cheese are salt crystals or mould, submerge the cheese in water. Salt dissolves in water; this is not the case with mould.

Where mould forms on cream cheese or processed cheese, it’s best to throw the entire cheese away, as the mould may spread very rapidly throughout the whole of the cheese.

Although cheese is always more tasty when fresh, certain varieties, especially hard cheese, can be frozen. Nevertheless, cheese loses some of its flavour in the freezer, and may dry out or become crumbly. That said, using frozen cheese for a gratin won’t pose any real problem. High-fat hard cheeses freeze best. The basic rule is that the more water a cheese contains, the less it is suitable for freezing.

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