When you buy cheese, whether it’s in a supermarket, at the dairy, or at the market, the goal is to be able to savor and enjoy it for a while. Here are some tips on how to store your cheese pieces properly.
Good packaging material
First of all, materials are a priority, because cheese is a living and evolving product. Just like a human being, it will consume oxygen, produce CO2, transpire, age…: all parameters that must be taken into account.
Soft cheese with a bloomy rind – like Camembert for example – needs to evolve. The white flowers that dot its rind must live to allow the cheese to develop. Its packaging must allow enough oxygen to pass through so that the bloom can develop… but not too much so that maturation does not occur too quickly!
For a dry or pressed cheese (Gruyère for example), where the maturing process is done beforehand, the packaging will stop the maturing process or at least slow it down. For this purpose, the cheese will be placed in an oxygen-free atmosphere.
Little Tips of Advice
Whenever possible, keep your cheeses in the original paper from the cheesemaker. When you buy your cheeses in a supermarket, eliminate plastic and opt for appropriate packaging:
- Hard or semi-hard cheese: wrap in the paper from the cheesemaker, cling film, or even better: beeswax-coated wraps
- Soft cheese: store in a ventilated box or beeswax coated wrap
- Blue-veined cheese: wrap in the cheesemaker’s paper or cling film (not too tightly), so that the cheese can breathe.
- Fresh cheese: should not be exposed to too much air, and ideally should be kept in an airtight package.
Cheeses are best kept in the refrigerator inside the crisper, preferably with vegetables, as the humidity is higher, which will allow the cheese to stay fresh longer.
If you have a cheese box, this will also do the trick, as long as you wrap the cheeses individually to limit the mixing of flavors.
To freeze or not to freeze?
As a general rule, it is not advisable to freeze cheese. Because of the very low temperature, the cheese undergoes a shock that disrupts the maturing process. This results in a deterioration of the taste of the cheese. Best to keep the cheese out of the freezer and inside the fridge!