Cheese is one of those staples that you should always have in your refrigerator. It’s great for a snack and can be used in many quick and simple dishes.
Unfortunately, cheese can also get moldy quickly in your refrigerator. This often prevents most people from stocking up on cheese, which can be rather expensive normally, when it goes on sale. Now, it’s generally safe to simply cut the mold off of most hard cheeses, but why would you want to bother? There are actually several tips and tricks you can do to keep cheese fresh and mold free for much longer than usual
#1. Remove hard cheeses from the original plastic wrapper.
Most cheese these days comes wrapped in plastic. Leaving hard cheeses—like cheddar, asiago, and parmesan—wrapped in plastic, though, can trap moisture and oil. To keep cheese fresh and prevent mold, it’s best to remove cheese from the plastic wrappers before storing.
#2. Keep soft cheeses in their original plastic wrappers.
Soft cheeses—like mozzarella, brie, and havarti—spoil much faster than hard cheeses. The plastic wrappers and containers in this case can help prevent this, so it’s best to store soft cheeses in their original wrappers or containers.
#3. Wrap hard cheese in paper.
One of the best ways to keep hard cheese fresh and prevent mold is to wrap it in paper. Parchment paper is perfect for this, but I’ve also used wax paper with some success. You can tape the paper on, or store it in an open plastic bag. This keep it contained, but doesn’t trap excess moisture. It’s also a good idea to replace the paper every time you use the cheese.
#4. Use oil to coat the cheese instead.
You can also use oil to keep cheese fresh and mold-free for a while. Just coat the entire piece of cheese in a thin coat of vegetable oil. This helps prevent mold from growing on the cheese itself. In most cases, if mold does grow, it will actually be on the oil and not on the cheese. You can scrape away the layer of mold, and the cheese itself should be fine.
#5. Store cheese with your vegetables.
Keep cheese fresh and prevent mold by storing it in your vegetable drawer in your refrigerator. The temperature in this section of the refrigerator is optimal for fresh cheese.
#6. Don’t be afraid to freeze cheese.
Freezing cheese will not make it unsafe, but it can change the texture, making the cheese more crumbly. Although it’s not recommended to freeze cheese that you plan on eating by itself, you can successfully freeze and reuse cheese if you plan on melting it or cooking with it. Typically, the firmer the cheese, the better it retains its texture.
If you’ve run into a great stock-up deal on cheese, cut it into half pound chunks or shred it first. You can then store it in an airtight container or heavy freezer bag for up to six months.