Cheese makes everything taste better. Depending on the kind of cheese that you're using, it can add a mild to strong flavor to your dishes. So, it is understandable if you want to stock up on your favorite cheeses thinking that you can keep them in the freezer anyway. But will it be worth it? Will they last long in the freezer? We've asked our cheese experts and here's what we found out.
There are only certain types of cheese that do well in the freezer. These are the hard and semi-hard varieties such as cheddar, Swiss, and blue cheese. If stored properly, they will be able to maintain their best quality for 6 to 9 months in the freezer.
Continue reading because we'll tell you more regarding the freezer shelf life of different cheeses. We'll also share with you tips on how to store them properly. We'll also answer questions about eating 2-year-old frozen cheese, the expiration of cheese, and if they will expire even if they are unopened.
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Does cheese expire in the freezer?
For many cooks, the secret ingredient is always cheese. But cheeses are not created equal. There are approximately 1,800 different kinds of cheese all over the world. They can be classified into 8 varieties: hard, semi-hard, soft and fresh, semi-soft, soft-ripened, processed, blue, and pasta filata.
The type of cheese has a big influence on how well it does in the freezer. In general, soft, ripened, and hand-crafted cheeses don't freeze well because they have a high moisture content. These include cottage cheese, brie, Camembert, ricotta, and Romano. It's best to eat them fresh and buy them in small quantities to avoid spoilage. Some exceptions are soft goat cheese and cream cheese. You can freeze them but there would be changes in their texture once thawed.
On the other hand, hard and semi-hard varieties are the best cheeses to keep in the freezer due to their low moisture content. Examples are Swiss, cheddar, blue, and brick cheeses. These are recommended to be used for cooking. You can grate and mix them into your hot dishes to make them thicker and richer.
According to the FDA, freezing food will keep it safe for an indefinite amount of time. But they also remind us to consume our frozen foods, such as cheese, within a reasonable period to enjoy them in their optimal quality. It is recommended to consume your frozen hard and semi-hard cheeses within 6 to 9 months to savor their great flavor and texture.
How long does shredded cheese last in the freezer?
Shredded cheddar cheese also freezes well. As long as it is stored properly in an airtight container or freezer bag, it will last for 3 months or more. If you still have its original packaging, you can use that instead.
The good thing about frozen shredded cheese is that you can use them directly on your favorite recipes as they will melt while cooking.
How long does frozen cheese last after expiration date?
Hard and semi-hard cheeses, whether they have been opened or unopened, or they have been sliced or shredded, will last for 6 to 8 months past their printed expiration date when stored properly in the freezer. They should be kept in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in aluminum foil then sealed in a freezer bag.
Experts don't really rely on the expiration dates printed on the packaging. They say that these mostly are rough estimates of the time when the products would be at their best condition. They aren't even bothered by the presence of molds on hard cheeses. They say you can just remove the portion that has molds and the rest would still be safe to eat.
What experts advise us to do is to check the smell and taste of the cheese to know if it has gone bad already. If it has a sour smell or taste, that should tell you that you have a spoiled cheese.
Does cheese expire if unopened?
The shelf life of any kind of cheese is determined by the processing method used, amount of moisture, exposure to heat, and how it is stored. Experts do not rely on the best by date because they say that these are rough estimates only. Many say that you can still eat some types of cheeses even after their expiration date and it'll be safe to do so.
To answer this question, we'll have to say that yes, all types of cheese will eventually expire even if they are unopened. It is basically the shelf life that would vary depending on the manner of storage.
Soft cheeses like brie, feta, and cottage cheese have a very short shelf life and won't do well in the freezer. Even if you don't open them, they'll go bad quickly because of their high moisture content.
Hard cheeses like Swiss, blue cheese, and cheddar freeze well and would maintain great quality for 6 to 9 months. Beyond that period, they would still be safe to eat there might be some changes in their texture and flavor. If stored in the fridge, unopened hard cheeses will last for about 6 months. This is why it's important not to open your cheese until you're ready to use it so that you can maximize its shelf life.
how to freeze hard and Semi-hard cheeses
Freezing these types of cheese will extend their shelf life. But there's a proper way of doing it to preserve its quality. Here's how to do it:
- Cut the cheese into smaller blocks of no more than half pound each.
- Cover tightly with aluminum foil or freezer wrap.
- Vacuum seal the cheese or put inside a freezer bag.
- Label and freeze.
To use, you can get the portion that you need and transfer it to the fridge where it should defrost after a couple of hours. You can also grate it directly from its frozen state and use for cooking.
Can you eat 2-year-old frozen cheese?
Experts say that food can be kept in the freezer indefinitely and would still be safe to eat. This is because the cold environment inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria in our foods.
As mentioned earlier, hard and semi-hard cheeses freeze well. However, like any food, their quality will deteriorate over time even if they are kept in cold storage. Changes in texture can be expected which can make cheese unappetizing to eat once it has been thawed.
In general, you can tell that your hard cheese has gone bad already if it has a sour smell or taste. You better discard it to avoid having an upset stomach. If your firm cheese has molds in them, you can just remove the moldy part and the rest of the cheese is still safe to eat. This type of cheese isn't porous so the spores will not spread all throughout the product.
Go ahead and stock up on your Swiss, cheddar, and shredded cheese. Just make sure that you keep them in a sealed container and they would be good to use for months. These will make great additions to your recipes to make them creamier and richer.