- There are a lot of ways you could be ruining the flavor and quality of your cheese just by storing it improperly.
- Wrapping cheese in plastic wrap or foil can ruin its flavors.
- Semi-soft and hard cheeses shouldn’t be locked in air-tight containers.
- Cheese shouldn’t be kept in the freezer or the coldest part of your fridge.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Whether you’re a cheese aficionado or someone who occasionally uses the stuff, one thing is for sure – you want it to stay fresh and great-tasting for as long as possible.
Here are 11 ways you’ve been incorrectly storing your cheese, according to experts.
Plastic wrap can ruin the flavor of your cheese.
One of the worst ways to store cheese is wrapping it in plastic wrap, according to Patrick Ochs, corporate executive chef at Pubblica Italiana and Dalia at The Celino Hotel.
“In most delis and at home, you often see cheese wrapped in plastic,” Ochs told Insider. “Plastic wrap actually suffocates the cheese causing [it to] lose flavor [and] trap moisture.”
He said doing this can also cause your cheese to develop a plastic flavor.
Aluminum foil can also mess with the flavor of your cheese.
Like with plastic wrap, wrapping your cheese in aluminum foil can cause a number of flavor issues.
Cheese can lose both flavor and moisture when wrapped in aluminum foil, according to Adam Brock, director of food safety and quality at Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin.
“Certain types of cheese contain levels of salt and acid, which can interact with the foil and infuse the cheese with a hint of aluminum flavor,” Ochs told Insider.
Semi-soft and hard cheeses shouldn’t be locked in air-tight containers.
Although it can be fine for soft or more pungent cheeses, air-tight containers are not ideal for storing semi-soft to hard cheeses, said Brock.
“If you lock the top on the [container], you may run the risk of losing flavor,” Brock told Insider. “However, if you’re in a pinch, you can use containers for harder cheeses, but just keep the top of the canter loose so the cheese can continue to breathe.”
Cheese should be carefully wrapped so it’s not touching any plastic.
To let the cheese properly breathe, it’s ideal to wrap it in a two-ply cheese paper, a specialty covering designed to keep cheese fresh.
This wrap ensures that the cheese can breathe while also preventing unwanted air from entering the cheese, according to Ken Monteleone, owner of Fromagination Cheese Shop.
If you don’t have access to cheese paper, wax or parchment paper also works well if you also place a partially sealed plastic bag over it, Monteleone told Insider.
“The paper creates a barrier between the cheese and the plastic, while the plastic keeps it from getting dry,” Monteleone said.
Cheese shouldn’t be left out at room temperature overnight.
Generally, leaving cheese unrefrigerated for a few hours isn’t the end of the world, but it’s certainly not ideal.
“Once you’re done cooking, snacking, or wrapping up your party, make sure to put the cheese back in the refrigerator – and don’t allow it to sit out on the counter overnight,” Brock told Insider.
It can impact the quality of the product, he said.
In many cases, if a perishable cheese has been left out at room temperature for longer than two hours, you’ll want to toss it, per the USDA’s food-safety guidelines.
A cheese’s flavor can be compromised if you store it next to aromatic foods.
To properly care for your cheese, it’s best to keep it separate from any other foods in the fridge, especially aromatic ones like citrus, according to Ochs.
Brock said since cheese easily absorbs other flavors, it should be kept away from other aromatic foods in the fridge. He said this will also prevent other food smells from entering the cheese.
Your cheese shouldn’t be stored in the coldest part of your fridge, either.
Cheese should also be kept away from the coldest parts of your refrigerator.
“Cheese is a delicate food and should be kept in the refrigerator with the temperature ranging between 34 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Any colder and the cheese is in danger of freezing and will not taste the same when prepared for your next party or meal,” Brock said.
In many cases, the best place in your fridge to store cheese is actually the crisper drawer.
All wrapped cheeses can be stored together in the cheese drawer or vegetable crisper, where the temperature is more stable and the humidity is higher, according to Madeline Kuhn, cheesemaker at Roth Cheese.
Cheese shouldn’t be kept in the freezer.
Ochs told Insider that you don’t want to freeze cheese as it can cause the texture of it to degrade.
Your cheese may not last as long if you’re not regularly replacing the paper it’s wrapped in.
Before putting your opened, partially eaten cheese back in the fridge with the same wrapping, you may want to think twice.
According to Kuhn, regularly replacing a cheese’s wrapping can help keep it fresh. The reason being that you will have inevitably touched the wrapping when reopening the cheese, which can lead to the spread of bacteria from your fingers onto the cheese.
Rewrapping cheese in new materials also helps to maintain the natural balance of humidity in the wrapping, which can result in longer-lasting cheese, according to Castello Cheese.
All cheeses shouldn’t be stored the same way.
Since they are fresher than their harder, aged counterparts, soft cheeses need to be stored a little differently.
Generally, it’s best to keep fresh cheeses stored in the brine or salt solution they are sold in, according to Ochs. Without any added preservatives, which are typically found in the brine, these sorts of cheeses can spoil very quickly.
Pungent cheeses should be stored separately from other varieties.
It’s important to store pungent cheeses, like blue cheese, in their own closed container in the fridge.
“The container will protect the cheese from sharing any odors or flavors with other items in your fridge,” said Pam Hodgson, master cheesemaker at Sartori.