How to Store Cheese

Proper storage of your artisan cheese will help control mold and dehydration, the two major obstacles to keeping cheese fresh.  Proper storage of your artisan cheese will control the air flow and humidity conditions of the stored cheese.

Generally, the harder the cheese the longer you can store it. Hard cheese can keep up to a couple of months in proper conditions. Soft cheese can keep up to a week or two if properly stored. To lengthen the lifespan of your artisan cheese and to keep it fresh, follow these cheese storage guidelines:

  • Fresh cheeses, like feta or mozzerella, should be eaten quickly as they will not last more than a few days. Store fresh cheeses in their original containers in their original liquid if applicable (feta, for instance, is often stored in a salt water brine which is good for it). Keep fresh cheese cold and tightly covered.
  • Hard cheeses, like parmesan, do not need to breathe (release their own moisture) as most other cheeses do. As such, keep them wrapped tightly in plastic wrap in the refridgerator. Blue cheese, although not in the hard cheese category, can be successfully stored similarly.
  • Sticky cheeses, like roquefort, should be stored in the refridgerator wrapped in wax paper and then covered over in plastic wrap. This will keep it from sticking to the plastic wrap.
  • Soft, semi-soft, and semi-hard cheeses, like brie, havarti, or cheddar, should be wrapped in wax paper or a paper towel to give them room to breathe, and then in a plastic container. You may even want to store the cheese in a container which isn't properly sealed to allow some moisture to escape. Alternatively, it may be safer to store the cheese in a sealed container, but be sure to open the container every couple of days to release moisture and ensure the cheese's freshness.

And that brings us to the last couple of pointers to help store your cheese and keep it fresh. One key is to check on your cheese often, say every few days, to see if it seems too dry or too moist, and to scrape off any mold which may appear. Be sure to remove about a 1/2 inch area around the mold.

Furthermore, each time you open the cheese package, change the wax paper or plastic wrap it's covered in.

Finally, beware of storing cheeses with strong flavors near cheeses with weaker flavors. And be especially careful of storing weaker flavored cheese in the refrigerator for too long as they can pick up the flavors of the fridge!