Cheese: To Refrigerate or Not to Refrigerate?
Have you ever wondered whether it’s safe to leave cheese out of the fridge? Is it okay to keep it on the charcuterie board during a party, or should you constantly worry about foodborne illness? In this post, we’ll dive deep into the topic of cheese storage, so prepare to be cheese-satisfied!
The Basics: What Happens to Cheese When It’s Left Out?
Cheese is a dairy product, and like all dairy products, it spoils when left out too long. Exposure to room temperature can cause bacterial growth, which in turn can produce harmful toxins like Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella. Depending on the type of cheese, you may get a little more “wiggle room,” but the golden rule is to always keep cheese refrigerated.
The Exceptions: Some Cheese Can Stay out of the Fridge
Cheese with high acidity, salt, or moisture content can be left out of the fridge for a short period of time. Examples include Parmesan, pecorino romano, and gorgonzola. However, it’s important to remember that even these cheeses can still go bad, so it’s always best to use your senses – smell, sight, and taste – to ensure the cheese is still safe to eat.
The Varieties: Different Cheese Require Different Storage Methods
Now that we’ve established why cheese needs to be refrigerated, let’s talk about the different types of cheese and how to store them properly.
Hard Cheeses: These are cheeses with low moisture and high salt content, such as cheddar, gouda, and parmesan. Hard cheeses can be stored in the fridge for up to six months, and they’re best kept in airtight containers or wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent moisture buildup.
Soft Cheeses: These are cheeses with high moisture and low salt content, such as brie and camembert. Soft cheeses should be stored in the fridge and eaten within a week of opening. To prevent mold growth, wrap them tightly in parchment paper or plastic wrap.
Blue Cheese: Blue cheese is made with mold spores, which give it its distinctive flavor and smell. However, mold can also cause spoilage, so it’s important to store blue cheese properly. Keep it in the fridge and wrap it in foil or plastic wrap to prevent odors from other foods, which can cause the mold to spread.
Fresh Cheese: Fresh cheeses like cream cheese and goat cheese have a high moisture content and should always be kept in the fridge. These cheeses are usually sold in foil-wrapped blocks, which should be re-sealed after opening to keep the cheese fresh.
– When storing cheese, always wrap it correctly to prevent air and moisture from getting in.
– If your cheese has mold, don’t panic! Just cut off the moldy part and eat the rest.
– Cheese can be frozen for up to six months, but the texture may change once it’s thawed.
Cheese is a delicious and versatile ingredient, but it requires proper handling and storage to keep it safe and tasty. Remember to always refrigerate your cheese, but if you have high-acid or salty cheese, you can leave it out for a short amount of time. Store your cheese properly depending on the type and moisture content, and always keep an eye – and nose – out for spoilage. With these tips, you can enjoy cheese without any worries. Happy cheese-tasting!