How Do I Store My Cheese?
The answer to that question lies in knowing what type of cheese you have. There are several types of cheeses and each has specific storage suggestions. We’ve listed many of them below. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brine Stored Cheeses:
Feta, Halloumi, Teleme, Domiati (and others) are stored in a 5-8% brine solution. They can be kept in brine for varying amounts of time depending on the cheese. To learn about making and using brine solutions for cheese storage, check out What’s in a brine?
If you follow the recommendations for handling brine stored cheeses, they can last for weeks to months in the colder, more moist areas of your refrigerator.
Fresh Cheeses & Yogurts:
Quark, Ricotta, Spreadable Sheep Cheeses, Cottage Cheese, Greek Yogurt, Plain Yogurt, Queso Fresca are all in the category of fresh cheeses. These products are not suitable for continued aging to change the flavor and consistency of the cheese. They have a varying shelf life depending on the cultures used to make them as well as the method of storage and exposure to bacteria while handling and storing them. The common theme of these products is that the curds are not pressed when making these cheeses. They are either served fresh as a milk product that has been ripened with a culture (yogurt) or drained for a period of 8-24 hours in cloth.
Ricotta has a 5-7 day shelf life after opening. Use clean utensils to access the cheese when the container is open. Seal the container well and keep it in the coldest area of your refrigerator. Fresh ricotta has no cultures in it as it is a re-cooked cheese from the whey of making other cheeses.
The other products in this category generally have a longer shelf life. Unopened containers should be expected to last for 2-3 weeks in the coldest area of your refrigerator and another 10-14 days once the package is opened if you handle the product correctly.
Bloomy Rind Cheeses:
Brie, Camembert, Crottin, St Marcellin are a few examples of bloomy rind cheeses. This category of cheese requires light pressing of the curds when it is created. From there it goes through several phases of ripening with special molds and yeasts that are cooked into the curd and mature at certain temperatures and humidity levels which grow to form the skin. The skin that is formed is completely edible and part of the joy of these cheese.
It is best to eat bloomy rind cheese at room temperature. This means you can store them on your counter (out of sunlight) and in their original packaging (which should be a breathable parchment paper or wax paper) for 3-5 days as you eat them. We recommend you divide your cheese into pieces so you can leave one piece out on the counter to eat over a period of a few days, while the remaining pieces can be stored in the refrigerator in a warmer and more humid section like in a bottom drawer. Kept wrapped properly and in the refrigerator this cheese will gently age and ripen for a period of 2-3 weeks. The flavors will get stronger and the center of the cheese will get softer over this period of time.
Bloomy rind cheeses love to be stored in reusable beeswax wrappers which you can purchase directly from LVO.
Asiago, Manchego, Tomme, Cheddar, Caciotta are considered aged cheeses. The common theme for these cheeses is that the curds are pressed in processing. These cheeses also have a lower moisture content than fresh cheeses and are cultured with various molds, yeasts and products to allow for flavor and texture development over time. There is truly no “Expiration Date” for this category of cheese. Aged cheeses are considered to be living cheeses that develop and change with age. Don’t be afraid to try and continue to age any of the cheeses in this category, you might be in for a huge surprise with a new experience or flavor.
IMPORTANT: NEVER store these cheeses in plastic bags, plastic wrap or a sealed container because your cheese will suffocate! Storing aged cheeses in regular wax paper, parchment paper, beeswax wraps, or aluminum foil will allow the cheese to breath, prevent excessive moisture buildup, and prevent excessive drying out of the cheese.
Fresh Pressed Cheese (fresca) cheeses are technically not fresh cheeses. These cheeses have been pressed and dried even if only aged 2-3 weeks. You can eat fresca cheeses right away or you can continue to age and ripen them in your refrigerator to allow them to develop more character and flavor. Make sure to keep them in their original packaging and place them in the warmer part of your refrigerator with low to moderate humidity to allow them to “grow up” before eating them.
Semi-cured (semicurado) cheeses are aged for varying amounts of time ranging from 3 weeks to 3 months. Semicurado cheeses will maintain their freshness for 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator in their original packaging. Make sure to re-wrap your cheese in its original packaging after opening, or replace the packaging with parchment paper or wax paper, and store it in the refrigerator in a cheese or vegetable drawer.
Cured (curado) cheeses are aged from 3-8 months depending on the type of cheese. Curado cheeses are stable in your refrigerator for an almost unlimited period of time if they are kept in breathable packaging (parchment paper, wax paper, cheese wraps, beeswax paper or aluminum foil) so they will continue to live, breath, and ripen over time.
NOTE: We highly recommend reusable beeswax wraps to store semi hard and hard cheeses for the long term in your refrigerator.