How to Prevent Cheese from Getting Moldy
by Reader Contributors
Cheese isn’t cheap. You don’t want to lose it to mold. Our frugal readers offer tips and advice for preventing mold and prolonging the shelf life of cheese.
Dear Dollar Stretcher,
Do you have any ideas for keeping cheddar cheese from getting moldy so quickly? I know that it is safe to eat it after trimming mold off since it’s a hard cheese – I read that the other day. If you know the answer for how to prevent cheese from getting moldy, please let me know.
Thanks so much!
How Can You Prevent Cheese from Getting Moldy?
Cheese can be expensive. The last thing you want is to lose it to mold. We reached out to our frugal readers asked them to share their best tips for preventing cheese rom getting moldy. One of their solutions are sure to help you preserve cheese and reduce food waste.
From a Deli Worker
I used to work in a deli and the only way to keep cheese fresh was to wrap tightly in plastic wrap. It’s the air that makes the mold on cheese so keeping air from getting at it is what works.
Shred and Freeze
I’m not sure that you want to freeze the cheese or not but I do buy larger pieces bring them home and shred them up. In the bowl I add a little corn startch which will prevent it from sticking. I shake it up and then either store it in Tupperware or freezer ziploc bags. I can then take out how much I want and refreeze the rest. It works great and saves me loads of money.
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Don’t Touch the Cheese!
I worked at Hickory Farms while I was in high school. We were always told that touching the cheese would encourage mold so we never touched it with bare hands. We always used a piece of plastic wrap when handling the cheese and it seemed to work.
Plus, always make sure the surface you are cutting on is clean as well. Any left over residues on a cutting board can contribute to it molding. In short, don’t touch it and don’t let it touch anything that isn’t clean.
Sugar or Vinegar
Store cheese in an airtight container with a couple of lumps of sugar. Another way is to moisten a paper towel lightly with vinegar, and store that with the cheese. Don’t be too generous with the vinegar, or it will affect the taste of the cheese.
If you’re not going to use it right away, store your cheese in the freezer! Really, you can! Soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert stay usable for up to one year if frozen. Hard cheeses will last twice that long if tightly wrapped before freezing.
Butter the Cheese?
You might tell your reader that buttering the ends of the cheddar, wrapping tightly in plastic, and storing it in an airtight container (such as Tupperware) helps to delay the molding process.
I’ve had the best luck with leaving the wrapper on the cheese and only cutting off what I need for each use. I usually buy the big two to five pound bricks and cut right through the shrink wrapping. That way, only one end is exposed to the air (I cover that tightly with plastic wrap). I’ve had very little trouble with cheddar going moldy this way.
Use the Freezer for Preventing Moldy Cheese
We store our cheddar (and all other block and shredded cheeses) in a freezer bag in the freezer. This keeps them fresh and easily accessible. Simply pull it out about 20 minutes before you need to use it, and you’re set.
Buy food quality wax from the store (it is usually in the canning section of the store.) Melt the wax. Then as it gets cooler, dip your cheese in it. Just make sure that your wax isn’t too hot or you will melt your cheese.
Of course, if you know that you are going to use the cheese grated, you can grate the entire block and freeze it. Ask at the deli counter. Some places that sell deli cheese in blocks will slice it for free. Some places even will grate it for free. Grated cheese defrosts in just a matter of minutes so you don’t have to worry about it having to defrost first. I have found on occasion that grated cheese will freeze together in a lump. A solution is to grate it on a cookie sheet in a single-ish layer and then put it in a zip bag. It only takes about 15 minutes for it to freeze well enough not to clump together.
Reviewed November 2021
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