Keeping Cheese


Temperature

Cheese should ideally be stored between 5 - 10 degrees c.  Unless you have a well-appointed cellar or store, the best place to keep your cheese is in your fridge.

As most fridges are often a little too cold for cheese, try to put it as near to the bottom of the fridge (the warmest part) as you can.  Ensure it is kept away from strong foods like meat and fish.  Cheese is very absorbent and will quickly take on other flavours (this is why we keep the cheese in separate chillers in the shop and one of the reasons why we don't sell meat).

When you are ready to use your cheese, allow it to rest at room temperature for a while, provided the room is not overheated.  You will know if it is when the cheese starts to sweat!

Some people like to keep their cheese in special containers designed for the purpose.  We have no firm views on this and have heard both good and bad reports - over to you.


Wrapping

The best way to keep your cheese is in the wrappings we provide when you buy it.  Alternatively, if you want to use cling film, make sure you use fresh packaging each time you re-wrap to prevent the spread of bacteria.

If you have bought cheese with a wax or cloth binding, only cover the cut face of the cheese with cling film.  You may like to experiment with silver foil, some people prefer this.

Wrapping the cheese too tightly will cause it to sweat, insufficient wrapping will cause it to dry and crack.  In France, people still use vine leaves to wrap their cheese - if you can't find vine leaves, try keeping a stick of celery alongside your cheese to maintain moisture.


Freezing

It is possible to freeze cheese, but we don't recommend it unless you have no other options! Some cheeses freeze better than others, freezing changes the texture of cheese and makes it crumbly.

If you do freeze cheese, wrap it very tightly and freeze it fast. Defrost it in the fridge and eat it straight away.  Cheese kept in this way is probably best used for cooking.


Shelf life

By its very nature, cheese is preserved in milk and as such can be kept in a reasonable condition for some time.  At the same time, it is a perishable product.  As a rule, hard cheese will keep for longer.

It is quite possible to scrape or cut mould from a cheese which has evolved, but uses your judgement about this and does not keep runny cheeses like Brie too long.  If a runny cheese smells of ammonia, chances are it is overripe.


Getting Advice

The best way to keep your cheese fresh and tasting good is to buy reasonable quantities, eat it within a few days and then come back for more.  But then we would say that, wouldn't we! In all seriousness, however, if in doubt - ASK! We are happy to advise you on how to keep and enjoy your cheese.

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