The Art of Cheese Storage: Preserving Flavour and Quality

Farmhouse and artisan cheese, also known as fine cheese, is an amazing thing. Unlike the mass-produced cheeses found in supermarkets, fine cheese is a living entity, constantly evolving in texture, flavour, aroma, and character. There are two distinctive phases that cheeses go through after they have been made – maturation and storage.

The maturation of cheese is a crucial phase that can last anywhere from a few days to several years, depending on the variety. This period allows the cheese to fully develop its distinctive qualities. However, once a cheese is cut, the onus shifts to storage. Proper storage is not just about extending the shelf life of cheese but also about maintaining its safety and preserving its complex flavours.

Proper storage is the key to preserving the unique flavour, texture, and aroma of fine cheese and giving them the best chance to last in your fridge for as long they they can based on their variety. Here, we explore the essentials of cheese storage and how long different types of cheese can last when stored correctly.



The Basics of Cheese Storage

To ensure your cheese remains safe to eat and retains its delicious complexity, it is essential to store it under the right conditions. Here are the fundamental principles of proper cheese storage:

  1. Always Keep Cheese in the Fridge: Store your cheese in the refrigerator at a temperature below 6°C. Just as you wouldn't leave steak outside the fridge, cheese should not be left on the counter or in a larder as it will spoil.
  2. Temperature Control: A stable environment is crucial; temperature fluctuations can expedite spoilage or dry the cheese out. Avoid storing cheese in a shed or garage. The vegetable compartment in your fridge, free from strong smells and draughts, is ideal.
  3. Proper Wrapping: The type of wrapper you use matters. Duplex cheese paper, with its dual layers, is the best choice as it prevents the cheese from drying out while allowing it to breathe without suffocating. If you can't reuse the original paper you received you cheese from us in, foil is a good alternative. Avoid wax paper and cling film as they can dry out the cheese too quickly.


How Long Can Cheese Last?

The longevity of cheese in storage depends on its moisture content and ripeness at the time of purchase. Here's a breakdown of how long you can expect different types of cheese to last:

  1. Soft, Semi-Firm, and Blue Cheeses:
    • These cheeses have higher moisture content, making them more susceptible to microbial growth. Typically, they can be kept for up to two weeks in the fridge.
    • Exceptions:
      • Fully Ripe Cheese: If your cheese monger advises that a cheese is fully ripe, it should be enjoyed as soon as possible.
      • Uncut Soft Cheese: Soft cheeses like Camembert de Normandie and Morangie Brie can continue to ripen if left uncut in their original packaging. These cheeses may have a shelf life of 3-4 weeks, as indicated on their packaging. They will reach peak ripeness and flavour around the date specified.
  2. Firm and Hard Cheeses:
    • Cheeses like Isle of Mull Cheddar or Comte have lower moisture content and can last up to a month or sometimes longer in the fridge.
    • Mould Growth: It’s normal for these cheeses to develop surface moulds due to ongoing microbial activity. These moulds are not harmful and can be scraped off before consumption.

Proper storage is vital to preserving the exceptional qualities of fine cheese and extending its longevity. By controlling the temperature, using appropriate wrapping materials, and understanding the specific needs of different cheese types, you can enjoy your cheese at its best for as long as possible. Treat your cheese with care, and it will reward you with its rich, complex flavours and delightful textures.

Savour cheese - savour life!


The Cheese Lady x



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