You’ve Been Storing Cheese Wrong Your Whole Life

Posted: May 28, 2020 in Did you know?
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cheeseDo you make a beeline to the charcuterie board at parties? Are you always the first person to schedule wine and cheese nights? Do you drool over videos of ooey, gooey, stretched cheese? Then it’s confirmed: you’re a cheese fanatic. But despite your love of all things cheese, we’re sorry to tell you that you’ve probably been storing cheese wrong your entire life. The good news is that it’s not a big deal, because I’m about to teach you how to store cheese properly so it lasts longer, maintains flavor, and doesn’t have to end up molded in the garbage.

I reached out to cheese experts to find out the common mistakes people make when storing cheese, the proper way to store cheese, and the best tools you need to keep cheese fresh. To keep even more foods besides cheese fresh, you’re going to want to invest in these 14 Best Kitchen Tools for Helping Food Stay Fresh.

Why storing cheese in plastic wrap is a huge mistake

Yes, many cheeses you buy come wrapped in plastic wrap. And yes, you use plastic wrap to store most of your leftovers without a problem. But storing cheese in plastic wrap is the worst thing you can do if you want to keep your cheese fresh.

"Plastic wrap is by design a full barrier, and cheese needs air and humidity to breathe," says Joey Wells, Global Senior Coordinator for Specialty Cheese Product Innovation and Development at Whole Foods Market. "Additionally, cheese can act as a sponge, absorbing the plasticizers that give plastic wrap its ability to stretch and cling, which you don’t want. Both of these issues affect the flavor of cheese and also suffocate it, causing it to lose shelf life."

So if you shouldn’t use plastic to store cheese, what should you use to extend its shelf life?

The best tools to store cheese

Beeswax, parchment paper, wax paper, glass containers…

"There are a variety of ways to store cheese and no single way is necessarily correct," says Venae Watts, a fifth-generation member of America’s oldest family-owned creamery, Minerva Dairy.

So let’s take a look at every way experts recommend you can store cheese:

  • Specialty cheese paper: "When storing cheese, specialty cheese paper and bags are best. Specialty paper is a two-ply product that allows cheese to breathe while maintaining humidity," says Wells. "One cheese-wrap outfitter, Formaticum, uses a two-ply material—wax-coated paper lined with thin, porous polyethylene plastic—in both its and . This combination (often used by professional cheesemongers) lets moisture wick off the cheese but not escape entirely," says Lisa McManus, the Executive Tasting&Testing Editor at America’s Test Kitchen.
  • Parchment or wax paper: "If [specialty cheese paper] is not available, you can loosely wrap your cheese with parchment or wax paper, which still protects it from drying, while keeping it exposed to the air and humidity it needs," says Wells.
  • : "This allows the cheese to create its own temperature and humidity. In essence preserving the cheese in its own atmosphere," says Watts. "These domes have proven themselves year after year and also make for great kitchen decor."
  • Vinegar: Surprising, but true. "Putting a small amount of vinegar onto cheesecloth or a paper towel before storing your cheese will help save it from mold. The vinegar acts as a kind of barrier and kills mold," says Watts. "You may be thinking your cheese will taste like vinegar when you go to eat it, but it won’t."

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