5 Easy Ways to Store Cheese So It Stays Fresh for Longer
Here's everything you need to know about how to store cheese so that it stays edible and fresh for longer, saving you money and reducing waste.
For many, cheese is a necessary ingredient for texture, taste, and overall happiness. Favored by cultures around the world, the coagulated dairy byproduct comes in a wealth of forms: hard, soft, purposefully moldy, cream-filled, the endlessly varied array showcasing just as many flavor profiles. But in order to enjoy your preferred type, learning how to store cheese is an essential step.
Keeping cheese fresh and safe to eat is not only a yummy undertaking, it's also a simple way to avoid food waste. When thrown away, food scraps inevitably end up in the landfill, where they release greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. High moisture and fat content, along with potential pest attraction, make composting cheese questionable.
The best option? Storing your cheese properly so you can actually eat it.
But First: Ditch the Plastic Wrap
Plastic wrap may be a historical go-to for food storage—about 5.3 million Americans used 10 or more rolls of plastic wrap in 2020 alone—but the option is not only single-use and non-recyclable, it's also largely ineffective. This is because the wrap tends to trap moisture, expediting rot.
And, as recycling said wrap is not an option, your sheets of cling are bound for the landfill, where it can take up to 450 years to decompose.
Want to learn how to store cheese minus any unnecessary plastic or food waste? These simple tips will keep all of your favorite cheeses fresh and ready to eat for weeks or even months, depending on the type.
How to Store Cheese: 5 Tricks for Maximum Freshness
1. Keep It Vacuum-Sealed Until It's Time to Eat
Oxygen is the enemy of super-fresh cheese, with air and the condensation that comes with it leading to ramped-up rot. Though we don't condone the use of plastic, it's how most cheese comes packaged—and keeping your cheese in its original (often vacuum-sealed) packaging until you're ready to snack is always a good idea to preserve its freshness.
2. Use a Cheese Hugger
Once your cheese has been opened and exposed to oxygen, the clock starts ticking. To extend its life, use a Cheese Hugger to create an airtight seal once again. Cheese Huggers tightly seal the opened end of a cheese block, which keeps it from dying out. Plus, because they're reusable, you can use them over and over again for years to come—no plastic wrap needed.
3. Store in a Refrigerator Drawer
Cheese must be refrigerated—35-40 degrees is the sweet spot—and storing the foodstuff in its own drawer is best for freshness and taste. The separation prevents odorous cheeses from transferring notes to other food while protecting porous cheeses from absorbing tastes and smells from surrounding ingredients.
4. Let Your Cheese Breathe—Sometimes
Rather than rewrapping open cheese in cling wrap or foil, opt for a silicone Stasher Bag that provides air-tight protection while allowing your cheese with room to breathe. The bag's design will discourage moisture accumulation while preventing cheese from drying out.
5. Remember: The Harder the Cheese, the Longer the Life
Our last tip is a general rule of thumb. While soft cheeses should be consumed within 1-3 weeks, harder cheeses can last for months if properly stored. And, should the surface of your hard cheese begin to mold, worry not: the roots of these "mold hyphae" are often shallow, and can be removed without contaminating the whole of your cheese.
How to Grow Green Onions in Water from Your Food Waste
Learning how to grow green onions in water is easy. Here's how an expert recommends going about it using your food waste, step by step.
Can You Eat Sprouted Potatoes? An Expert Weighs In
Can you eat sprouted potatoes? We asked a registered dietitian nutritionist to get to the bottom of it. Consider this your go-guide.
4 Simple Ways to Keep Potatoes Fresh for Longer
Sick of rotten potatoes? Here are four easy ways to store your potatoes to keep them fresh for longer, saving you money and reducing waste.