6 Things You Need To Know About Freezing Cheese

Cheese is one of the best things in your pantry, but it’s possible that you’re being reckless about how you store it. Freezing cheese can be a convenient solution to prolong its shelf life and prevent waste.  Not all cheeses are created equal when it comes to freezing. Hard and semi-hard cheeses, such as cheddar, mozzarella, Gouda, and Swiss, tend to freeze well and maintain their texture and flavour. 

Soft cheeses, like brie, camembert, and cream cheese, may become crumbly or watery when frozen, so they're not ideal candidates for freezing. While freezing can extend the shelf life of cheese, it's essential to keep in mind that frozen cheese may not retain the same quality as fresh cheese. Texture and flavour may be slightly altered after freezing and thawing, but the cheese is still safe to eat. Use frozen cheese within a few months for the best results, as prolonged storage may affect its taste and texture. Here are some basic rules you should follow while freezing cheese.

Preparation is Key

Before freezing cheese, it's essential to prepare it properly to ensure the best results. Cut the cheese into manageable portions or shred it if desired. For block cheese, wrap each portion tightly in plastic wrap or aluminium foil to prevent air exposure and freezer burn. Alternatively, vacuum sealing is an excellent option for sealing in freshness and protecting against freezer burn.

Label and Date

Proper labelling is crucial for keeping track of frozen cheese and ensuring that it's used before its quality deteriorates. Label each package of cheese with the type of cheese, date of freezing, and any other relevant information, such as portion size or intended use. This will help you identify the cheese easily and avoid confusion when selecting ingredients for recipes.

Optimal Storage Conditions

Store frozen cheese in the coldest part of the freezer, such as the back or bottom shelf, where the temperature remains consistent. Avoid placing cheese near the freezer door or in areas prone to temperature fluctuations, as this can affect its quality. Keep the cheese tightly sealed to prevent exposure to air and odors from other foods in the freezer.

Thawing Cheese Properly

When it's time to use frozen cheese, it's essential to thaw it properly to preserve its texture and flavour. Transfer the cheese from the freezer to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw slowly overnight or for several hours. Avoid thawing cheese at room temperature or using the microwave, as rapid thawing can lead to moisture loss and texture changes.

Best Uses for Frozen Cheese

Frozen cheese is best suited for cooked dishes rather than eating it raw. Use thawed cheese in recipes that involve melting, such as casseroles, soups, pasta dishes, and baked goods. Grated or shredded cheese can be added directly to dishes without thawing, while block cheese may need to be grated or sliced before use.