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How To Store Cheese How To Store Cheese


How To Store Cheese

Written by: Grace Wilson

Learn the best practices for storing cheese and keeping it fresh in this informative articles. Avoid common mistakes and preserve the flavor and texture of your favorite types of cheese.

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Cheese is a beloved food worldwide, cherished for its rich flavors and versatility. Whether you’re a cheese connoisseur or simply enjoy a slice with your favorite snack, properly storing cheese is essential to maintain its quality and prevent spoilage.

Understanding the basics of cheese storage is crucial to preserving its taste and texture. With the right techniques, you can extend the shelf life of your favorite cheeses and prevent them from drying out or becoming contaminated.

In this article, we will explore the proper methods of cheese storage, from choosing the right cheese to preparing it for storage, selecting the ideal storage container, and determining whether to store it in the refrigerator or at room temperature. We will also provide useful tips on avoiding cross-contamination and prolonging the freshness of your cheese.

By following these guidelines, you’ll be able to savor your cheese for longer periods of time, ensuring maximum enjoyment and reducing food waste. So, let’s dive into the world of cheese storage and discover how you can become a cheese preservation expert!

Key Takeaways:

  • Proper cheese storage is crucial for maintaining flavor and quality. Understanding temperature, humidity, and wrapping techniques can extend the shelf life of your favorite cheeses and minimize waste.
  • Avoid cross-contamination by storing different cheeses separately and using proper wrapping and hygiene practices. Regularly checking and rotating cheeses can prolong their freshness and flavor.

Understanding cheese storage

Before delving into the specifics of cheese storage, it’s important to understand the factors that affect its shelf life and quality. Cheese is a perishable dairy product that is highly sensitive to temperature, humidity, and exposure to air.

The main enemies of cheese are moisture, mold, and bacterial growth. Proper storage helps to control these factors and slow down the rate of deterioration. Different types of cheese have varying levels of moisture, fat content, and bacterial activity, making it essential to handle each variety differently.

Temperature plays a crucial role in cheese storage. Most cheeses should be stored at temperatures ranging from 35°F to 45°F (1.7°C to 7.2°C). This range allows the cheese to maintain its flavor and texture without promoting the growth of harmful bacteria. However, some cheeses, such as fresh ones, may require colder temperatures.

Humidity is another critical factor to consider. Cheese needs a moderate level of moisture to prevent it from drying out or becoming too moist. Ideally, the humidity level should be around 80 to 90 percent. Too much humidity can lead to mold growth, while too little can cause the cheese to lose moisture and harden.

Exposure to air is also crucial. Cheese should be stored in a breathable environment to prevent moisture buildup, which can result in slimy or moldy cheese. Wrapping cheese in materials that allow for some air circulation, such as wax paper or cheese paper, is recommended.

It’s worth noting that some cheeses, such as aged and hard varieties like Parmesan, are more resilient to spoilage due to their low moisture content and natural rind. However, even these cheeses require appropriate storage to maintain their flavor and texture.

Now that we have a basic understanding of cheese storage, let’s move on to choosing the right cheese for storage and preparing it properly to extend its shelf life.

Choosing the right cheese

When it comes to cheese storage, selecting the right type of cheese is crucial. Not all cheeses are created equal when it comes to shelf life and storage requirements.

Firstly, it’s important to note that soft, fresh cheeses have a shorter shelf life compared to hard, aged cheeses. Soft cheeses like Brie, Camembert, and goat cheese tend to have a higher moisture content and are more prone to spoilage. These cheeses are best consumed within a few days of purchase and should be stored accordingly.

On the other hand, hard cheeses like Cheddar, Parmesan, and Gouda have a lower moisture content and can be stored for longer periods. These cheeses have a protective rind or wax coating that helps to preserve their freshness.

When choosing the right cheese for storage, consider its age as well. Young, fresh cheeses should be consumed within a shorter period, while aged cheeses can be stored for several months or even years under the right conditions.

If you’re unsure about the specific storage requirements for a particular cheese, consulting with your local cheesemonger or referring to manufacturer recommendations is always a good idea.

Now that you have a better idea of what types of cheese are suitable for storage, let’s move on to the next step: preparing the cheese for storage.

Preparing the cheese for storage

Once you’ve chosen the right cheese for storage, it’s essential to prepare it properly to maximize its shelf life and prevent spoilage. Here are some steps to follow:

1. Take note of the date: Before storing the cheese, make a note of the purchase or expiration date. This will help you keep track of how long the cheese has been stored and ensure that you consume it within a reasonable timeframe.

2. Remove any packaging: If the cheese is wrapped in plastic or other non-breathable materials, remove it before storage. These materials can trap moisture and promote the growth of bacteria or mold.

3. Inspect the cheese: Before continuing with the storage process, check the cheese for any signs of mold or off-putting odors. If you notice any abnormalities, it’s best to discard the cheese to prevent the spread of mold or contamination to other cheeses.

4. Cut into smaller portions (optional): If you have a large block of cheese, consider cutting it into smaller portions. This will allow you to only expose and consume one portion at a time, keeping the remaining cheese fresh for longer.

5. Pat dry (if necessary): If the cheese appears to be damp or moist, gently pat it dry with a paper towel. Excess moisture can lead to an increased risk of spoilage or mold development during storage.

6. Let it breathe: Some cheeses benefit from a short period of “airing” before being stored. This involves leaving the cheese unwrapped and at room temperature for a brief period, allowing it to develop its natural flavors. However, be cautious with this step as extended exposure to air can cause the cheese to dry out.

By following these steps, you’ll ensure that your cheese is properly prepared for storage. In the next section, we’ll explore the importance of wrapping the cheese correctly to maintain its quality and prevent contamination.

Wrapping the cheese

Properly wrapping cheese is crucial to maintain its freshness, prevent moisture loss, and protect it from exposure to air and contaminants. The right wrapping materials create a breathable environment for the cheese, allowing it to age gracefully while preserving its flavor and texture.

Here are a few tips for wrapping cheese effectively:

1. Cheese paper: Invest in cheese paper, which is specially designed to regulate moisture and protect the cheese. This type of paper has a waxy coating that helps to maintain the ideal humidity for cheese storage.

2. Wax paper or parchment paper: If you don’t have access to cheese paper, wax paper or parchment paper can be used as an alternative. These materials provide a breathable barrier while shielding the cheese from direct contact with air.

3. Plastic wrap: While not preferable for long-term storage, plastic wrap can be used for short periods, such as when transporting cheese. However, it’s important to note that plastic wrap can trap moisture and lead to the growth of mold if used for an extended period.

When wrapping the cheese, ensure it is completely covered, leaving no gaps or exposed surfaces. It’s best to wrap each piece of cheese individually, especially if you have different types to prevent cross-contamination of flavors.

Remember to label each wrapped cheese with the name and date of storage. This will help you keep track of the cheese’s age and determine when it should be consumed.

Once wrapped, gently press on the paper to remove any excess air and securely seal it with tape or a twist tie. The goal is to create a snug, but not overly tight, wrap that allows for some air circulation.

Storing the wrapped cheese in the right container is the next step to ensure optimal storage conditions. Let’s explore the different container options in the next section.

Choosing the storage container

When it comes to storing cheese, the right container plays a crucial role in maintaining its freshness and preventing cross-contamination. Here are a few container options to consider:

1. Cheese paper: If you have cheese paper, it can double as a storage container. Wrap the cheese securely in the paper and place it in a breathable container, such as a plastic container with small holes or a cheese dome with ventilation.

2. Reusable containers: Plastic or glass reusable containers with airtight lids are great for storing cheese. Make sure the container is clean and dry before placing the wrapped cheese inside. Opt for containers that are slightly larger than the cheese to allow for some air circulation.

3. Cheese bags: There are specialized cheese bags available in the market designed to maintain the optimal humidity for cheese storage. These bags are breathable and help prevent moisture buildup and mold growth.

4. Beeswax wraps: Beeswax wraps are a sustainable and natural alternative to plastic wrap. They can be molded around the cheese, creating a seal that allows some airflow while protecting the cheese from drying out.

Remember to label the container with the name and date of storage, especially if you have multiple cheeses to keep track of.

It’s important to note that storing different types of cheese together can lead to cross-contamination, as some cheeses have strong flavors that can transfer to others. To prevent this, store each cheese type separately or use individual compartments within a storage container.

Next, we’ll explore the best practices for storing cheese either in the refrigerator or at room temperature, depending on the type of cheese and personal preference.

Store cheese in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator, wrapped in wax paper or parchment paper to allow it to breathe. Keep it away from strong-smelling foods to prevent absorption of odors.

Storing cheese in the refrigerator

The refrigerator is a common choice for storing cheese, as it helps to maintain a consistent temperature and slow down the growth of bacteria. However, it’s important to know the proper guidelines for storing cheese in the refrigerator to preserve its flavor and texture.

1. Temperature: Set your refrigerator to a temperature between 35°F and 45°F (1.7°C and 7.2°C) for ideal cheese storage. An overly cold temperature can cause the cheese to harden or become crumbly, while a warmer temperature may lead to bacterial growth or spoilage.

2. Cheese drawer: If your refrigerator has a dedicated cheese drawer, use it to store your wrapped cheeses. This drawer is designed to provide a slightly higher humidity level, preserving the cheese’s moisture and preventing it from drying out.

3. Location: Place the cheese in the least cold and most humid part of the refrigerator. This is usually towards the back, away from the cooling vents. Avoid storing cheese near strong-smelling foods, as they can impart their odors onto the cheese.

4. Wrap maintenance: Regularly check the cheese’s wrapping for any signs of moisture buildup, mold, or drying. If you notice any issues, re-wrap the cheese with fresh paper or replace the wrapping material. This helps to prevent the growth of mold and maintains the cheese’s quality.

5. Cheese with high moisture content: Soft cheeses, such as Brie or Mozzarella, should be stored in airtight containers to prevent them from absorbing odors or drying out. Place them in a separate container to avoid cross-contamination.

6. Aging cheeses: If you have aged cheeses, like Parmesan or Cheddar, and want to continue the aging process, keep them in a cheese paper or wax paper within an airtight container. This helps to maintain the proper balance of moisture and prevents the cheese from becoming too dry.

Remember, not all cheeses are suitable for long-term storage in the refrigerator. Fresh cheeses, like ricotta or feta, should be consumed within a few days of purchase. Hard or aged cheeses can generally be stored for longer periods if properly wrapped and maintained.

In the next section, we’ll explore the alternative option of storing cheese at room temperature.

Storing cheese at room temperature

While storing cheese in the refrigerator is a common practice, certain types of cheese can be stored and enjoyed at room temperature. This method allows the cheese to develop and showcase its full flavors. However, it’s important to follow some guidelines to ensure safe and optimal storage.

1. Cheese selection: Not all cheeses are suitable for room temperature storage. Hard, aged cheeses with low moisture content, such as Parmesan or Pecorino Romano, are ideal for this method. These cheeses have a reduced risk of spoilage due to their low moisture content and firm texture.

2. Temperature and environment: The room temperature should be between 60°F and 70°F (15.5°C and 21.1°C) for cheese storage. It’s crucial to avoid exposing the cheese to direct sunlight, heat sources, or fluctuations in temperature, as these can accelerate spoilage.

3. Wrapping and maintenance: Wrap the cheese in a breathable material, such as cheese paper or wax paper, to protect it from dust and retain its moisture. Ensure that the wrapping is secure and check it regularly for any signs of mold or drying. If you notice any issues, re-wrap the cheese with fresh paper.

4. Air circulation: Allow for some air circulation around the cheese. It’s best to store cheese on a cheese board or cheese dome with ventilation holes to prevent moisture buildup. If using a cheese dome, make sure it is clean and dry before placing the cheese inside.

5. Cheese rotation: If storing multiple types of cheese at room temperature, try to keep them separate, as they may have different aging and flavor profiles. Rotate the cheeses regularly to maintain their quality and prevent cross-contamination of flavors.

6. Consumption timeframe: Unlike refrigerated cheese, cheese stored at room temperature should be consumed within a few days to ensure freshness and to avoid the risk of bacterial growth and spoilage. Monitor the cheese closely and discard it if any signs of mold or off-putting odor appear.

It’s important to note that soft, creamy, or fresh cheeses are not recommended for room temperature storage due to their high moisture content and increased risk of bacterial growth. Always refer to the specific storage recommendations for each type of cheese to ensure food safety.

By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the full flavors and textures of certain cheeses at room temperature. However, remember to use your judgment and prioritize food safety when deciding how to store your cheese.

In the next section, we’ll explore the importance of avoiding cross-contamination and provide tips for prolonging cheese freshness.

Avoiding cross-contamination

When it comes to cheese storage, avoiding cross-contamination is essential to maintain the integrity and flavors of each cheese. Cross-contamination occurs when different types of cheese come into contact with one another, resulting in the transfer of flavors and potential spoilage. Here are some tips to prevent cross-contamination:

1. Separate storage: Store different types of cheese separately, either in different containers or compartments within a storage container. This will prevent mingling of flavors and the risk of mold transfer.

2. Labeling: Clearly label each cheese container or compartment with the name of the cheese to avoid confusion. This will ensure that the cheeses are stored and consumed correctly.

3. Proper wrapping: Properly wrap each piece of cheese individually, ensuring that there are no gaps or exposed surfaces. This will minimize the risk of flavor transfer and contamination.

4. Storage containers: If using storage containers, make sure they are clean and dry before placing the cheese inside. Using separate containers for each cheese type can further reduce the chance of cross-contamination.

5. Clean tools: When handling different cheeses, use separate utensils or knives for each type to avoid cross-contamination. Clean and dry the utensils thoroughly before using them with a different cheese.

6. Hand hygiene: Wash your hands between handling different types of cheeses to prevent cross-contamination. This is especially important if you’re cutting or handling cheese with your hands directly.

7. Storage order: Store the cheese based on the intensity of their flavors. Strongly flavored cheeses, such as blue cheeses, should be stored separately from milder cheeses to prevent overpowering their flavors.

By following these practices, you can ensure that each cheese retains its distinct flavor profile and freshness, allowing you to fully enjoy the unique characteristics of each cheese variety.

In the final section, we’ll share some tips for prolonging the freshness and quality of your cheese, regardless of the storage method used.

Tips for prolonging cheese freshness

To ensure the longevity and quality of your cheese, regardless of the storage method chosen, there are several tips you can follow. These tips will help maintain the freshness, flavor, and texture of your cheese for an extended period:

1. Keep it well-wrapped: Properly wrap your cheese in breathable materials, such as cheese paper, wax paper, or beeswax wraps. This will protect the cheese from drying out and limit exposure to air, preventing mold formation.

2. Store it separately: As mentioned earlier, store different types of cheeses separately to prevent cross-contamination and preserve their unique flavors. This is especially important when storing strong or pungent cheeses alongside milder ones.

3. Regularly check and rotate: Check your stored cheese regularly for any signs of mold, excessive moisture, or drying. Rotate the cheeses to ensure equal exposure to air and maintain consistent quality.

4. Control humidity: Some cheeses thrive in specific humidity levels. Consider using a cheese dome or airtight container with ventilation holes to maintain the desired humidity for the cheese. For softer cheeses, use airtight containers to prevent excessive drying.

5. Temperature control: Maintain the appropriate storage temperature based on the type of cheese. Monitor the temperature in your refrigerator or storage area to ensure it remains within the recommended range.

6. Avoid plastic wrap: While plastic wrap can be used for temporary storage, it is generally not recommended for longer periods. Plastic wrap can trap moisture, leading to the growth of mold, and can alter the flavor of the cheese.

7. Trim and rewrap: If you notice mold forming on the surface of a hard cheese, trim off the affected portion, rewrap it, and continue storing. Mold does not penetrate deeply into hard cheeses, so removing the affected area can salvage the rest of the cheese.

8. Appreciate the aging process: Some cheeses may develop improved flavors and textures with age. If you enjoy the complex profiles that come with aging, experiment with longer aging times for certain types of cheeses while keeping a close eye on their condition.

Following these tips will help prolong the freshness and quality of your cheese, allowing you to enjoy its flavors to the fullest. Remember, each cheese is unique, so make sure to understand its specific storage requirements for the best results.

Now that you have a comprehensive understanding of cheese storage and preservation, you can confidently store and savor your favorite cheeses without worry. Happy cheese storage and enjoyment!


Proper cheese storage is essential for maintaining the flavor, texture, and quality of this beloved food. By understanding the fundamentals of cheese storage, selecting the right cheeses, and following proper preparation and wrapping techniques, you can prolong the shelf life of your favorite cheeses and minimize waste.

Whether you choose to store cheese in the refrigerator or at room temperature, it’s important to create the ideal environment to slow down the growth of bacteria, prevent mold formation, and preserve the unique qualities of each cheese.

Remember to always avoid cross-contamination by separating different types of cheeses and using dedicated utensils and storage containers. Following good hygiene practices and regularly checking and rotating your cheeses will also contribute to their freshness and longevity.

By implementing the tips mentioned in this article, you can prolong the enjoyment of your cheese, delighting in its rich flavors for as long as possible. So go ahead, continue exploring different cheese varieties and experiment with storage methods to find what works best for your taste preferences and lifestyle.

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of cheese storage, become a cheese preservation expert and elevate your culinary experiences with the perfect slice of cheese. Happy storing and savoring!

Frequently Asked Questions about How To Store Cheese

What are the best storage conditions for cheese?

The best storage conditions for cheese include wrapping it in wax paper or cheese paper to allow it to breathe, and then placing it in the warmest part of the refrigerator, such as the vegetable drawer. It’s important to keep it away from foods with strong odors to prevent it from absorbing unwanted flavors.
Can I freeze cheese for long-term storage?

While it’s possible to freeze cheese for long-term storage, it can affect the texture and flavor. Hard cheeses like cheddar or parmesan tend to freeze better than soft cheeses. It’s important to wrap the cheese tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before placing it in an airtight container or freezer bag.
How can I prevent cheese from drying out in the refrigerator?

To prevent cheese from drying out in the refrigerator, you can store it in a resealable plastic bag with a damp paper towel to maintain moisture. Alternatively, you can also use cheese storage containers designed to regulate humidity and prevent the cheese from drying out.
What is the best way to store different types of cheese?

The best way to store different types of cheese varies depending on their moisture content and texture. Soft cheeses like brie and camembert are best stored in their original packaging or wrapped in wax paper, while hard cheeses like gouda and parmesan should be wrapped in cheese paper or parchment paper to allow them to breathe.
How long can I store cheese before it goes bad?

The shelf life of cheese varies depending on the type and how it’s stored. Generally, soft cheeses have a shorter shelf life of 1-2 weeks, while hard cheeses can last 3-4 weeks or longer. It’s important to check for any signs of mold or off odors before consuming the cheese.

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