Cheese connoisseurs can attest to the fact that cheese is best enjoyed fresh. But it isn’t always possible to use up large amounts of cheese before the best before date, which is why you need to look for ways to preserve its freshness.
Freezing is an effective food preservation method that has been around for around 3000 years. It’s known to reduce waste, save money, and increase the shelf-life of many foods.
This blog post covers everything you need to know about freezing cheese.
Can You Freeze Cheese?
The best part about cheese is that you can buy it in bulk and still have no shortage of recipes to enjoy it. Cheese won’t last for long in the refrigerator, so you may consider freezing it, but there are many factors you need to keep in mind to learn how to store it properly.
Dairy products are known to react strangely when it comes to freezing them. Some types of cheese can be frozen, but you need to let them thaw and only use them for cooking purposes. Frozen cheese, once it’s thawed, can be the perfect addition to a cheesy casserole recipe. (source)
How to Freeze Cheese
If you’re interested in using your cheese for cooking, Gouda, Cheddar, and Havarti are known to freeze well. However, Mozzarella and other kinds of cheese that have a lot of moisture will lose some form of consistency and are best served in cooked recipes. You won’t be able to notice the change in texture once they’re melted.
Before putting your cheese in the freezer, it’s advisable to cut it into hand size portions, wrap them all in aluminum foil and then store them in a freezer-safe plastic bag. If you plan to use frozen cheese in a recipe, you should let it thaw in your refrigerator first and make sure you’ve used it within 3 days. (source)
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How Long Can You Keep Cheese in the Freezer?
Cheese can last indefinitely if it’s stored safely in the freezer, but it may not taste the same and lose its quality over time. For the best flavor, you should use frozen cheese within 3 months of freezing it.
Store it in its unopened original packaging or in Ziploc freezer bags after pressing the air out. Frozen cheese can safely be used in pizzas, grilled cheese sandwiches, and casseroles.
How to Defrost Cheese
Slow defrosting allows the cheese to maintain its texture and not become too crumbly. It’s recommended that you leave your frozen cheese in the original packaging or the plastic bag you stored it in to help it retain moisture as it thaws in your refrigerator.
You can defrost your cheese overnight, for a whole day, or until it has defrosted completely. If you store your cheese in solid blocks, it will take a lot longer to defrost than shredded cheese. Defrosting cheese at room temperature can cause it to dry out. Cheese that’s stored above 40 degrees Fahrenheit is also a lot more likely to get spoiled.
Can You Freeze Cheese Slices?
Who doesn’t like sliced American cheese? You can enjoy it on cheeseburgers, sandwiches, and various other foods. The great thing about sliced cheese is that it can handle freezing temperatures as long as it’s stored properly.
What Kinds of Cheese Should Not Be Frozen?
Grated hard cheese such as Romano and Parmesan can be stored in the freezer, but it’s better to keep them inside the refrigerator where they can safely last for up to a year. Hand-crafted cheeses, on the other hand, are known to have delicate flavors so they should be bought in smaller portions and enjoyed fresh.
It isn’t recommended that you freeze fresh curd cheeses like ricotta, cottage cheese, and quark because they’re high in moisture content. Soft and ripened cheeses like Fontina, Brie, Muenster, and Camembert must also be eaten fresh and stored in the refrigerator.
Cheese spreads, processed cheese, and other types of cheese that have fine pockets or holes in them are unsuitable for freezing because the tiny air pockets can cause their quality to deteriorate even more. (source for further information)
Does Freezing Cheese Change the Texture and Flavor?
It goes without saying that freezing can affect the flavor and texture of cheese. Cheese that’s kept inside the freezer develops tiny ice crystals on the inside that can disrupt its internal structure. When frozen cheese is thawed, moisture is released that causes it to dry out, become crumbly, and develop a mealy texture.
Keep these pointers in mind if you love adding cheese to your dishes and can’t help but buy it in bulk every time you do a grocery run. For the best results, it’s advisable to consume frozen cheese within the first three months of storing it.