Cheese is an everyday food staple in different parts of the world, and like most other food items, it is essential to know the best ways to keep it fresh and long-lasting. The first method that may come to your mind is freezing the cheese to maintain these properties. However, experts say that while it is possible, it is not advisable to do so for several reasons.
The freezer is considered the holy grail of food storage because low temperatures can help stave off bacteria growth and maintain food items' qualities.
However, this doesn't always apply to cheese.
Cheese typically has a smooth and creamy texture, but these are abolished and replaced by displeasing features like a crumbly texture and diminished taste when stored in the freezer.
This happens because, during freezing, ice crystals form inside the cheese because of its natural moisture. Components of the cheese's dense structure expand as they freeze and contract when thawed out, leaving holes that weaken the structure. Thus, the crumbly texture is attained.
On the other hand, the ice crystals affect the complexity of a cheese's flavor, and in some varieties, can even leave behind a burnt or metallic taste.
In conclusion, it is best advised that you finish your cheese before you're ever tempted to extend its shelf life by transferring to a freezer.
In a case where you have to freeze your cheese, keep the following tips in mind:
You can freeze any cheese as long as you plan to shred, crumble or melt it.
Semi-hard cheeses can stand up to cold temperatures, unlike soft cheeses.
Before freezing your cheese, cut it into slices for easy accessibility.
If you have already opened the original packaging, make sure to transfer the cheese to an airtight container.
Store the cheese for one to six months, depending on its type.
To thaw the cheese, place it in the fridge for about two hours and use it within three days.