Q: How should I keep my cheese wrapped?
A: Cheese should be kept wrapped in cheese paper. The paper is specially designed to allow the cheese to breathe and not get dried out. If the paper gets tossed, don’t despair! The next best thing to wrap your cheese in is a layer parchment paper with another layer of saran wrap over the parchment to keep it from drying. The next best thing is foil. DO NOT wrap your cheese directly in plastic or saran! The fats in the cheese end up interacting with the plastic and cause a stale, plastic-y flavor to develop.
Q: How should I store my cheese?
A: Keep your cheese in the fridge when it’s not being served. The colder temperatures will stabilize the cheese and keep it from ripening too quickly.
Q: How quickly do I need to eat my cheese before it gets too old?
A: Soft cheeses should be eaten more quickly than aged cheeses – a good general rule of thumb is that soft cheese should be eaten within 2 weeks of receipt, and more aged cheeses can last in the fridge for a few weeks. The firmer the cheese is, and the less moisture it has, the longer it will keep. You can keep aged cheeses for a REALLY long time… (2 months or more) They might develop surface mold on the cut surface, but they’re still safe to eat – just trim that mold off!
Q: At what temperature should I serve my cheese?
A: To best enjoy cheese, eat it at room temperature. We like to keep it out for an hour or so before serving to allow the flavors to fully express themselves.
Q: Can I freeze my cheese?
A: In a word, no. Freezing cheese alters the flavor and texture that is not super nice… If you’re afraid you can’t eat it all in a timely fashion, we recommend inviting all your buddies over for a cheese-eating party! Nobody’s going to say no to that…
Q: How do I know if a cheese is too old to eat?
A: The general rule of thumb is that soft cheeses will spoil faster than aged cheeses. If you have a bloomy rind cheese that looks very brown or gray on the rind and smells like ammonia, it’s probably too old to enjoy. However, your taste buds are your best guide here! Taste the cheese – if it tastes spicy, soapy, or bitter, it is probably too old. If it tastes strong, but does not have any of the above flavors, munch away! Firm, aged cheeses are pretty much indestructible. Even if there is mold on the cut surface of the cheese, you can just trim it away and keep using it.
Q: What molds are edible vs inedible?
A: All of the mold on cheese is technically edible. However, there are certain kinds of mold that are less desirable. For example, pink mold on a bloomy rind cheese is not desirable – it is an indication that the cheese was a bit too damp at some point in production. Blue or gray or greenish mold on the surface of a bloomy rind cheese is totally fine to eat, and will not influence the flavor. Surface mold on a cut piece of cheese is technically edible (i.e. it will not kill you or make you sick) but should be trimmed away for best flavor.
Q: What should I do if mold grows on my cheese?
A: All cheese is dependent on different bacteria and mold to ripen it and develop its flavor… In the world of cheese we LOVE mold! Should any mold develop on the cut surface of the cheese, don’t worry, and DON’T throw the cheese away! Simply trim away the surface mold and then keep on enjoying that glorious wedge!
Q: Can I eat the rind?
A: YES! Unless the cheese is wrapped in wax or cloth, the rind is edible. The rind is to the cheese what crust is to bread. With softer bloomy rind cheeses, the rind really enhances the flavor. With more aged cheeses, the rind can be quite dry, hard, earthy, etc. Try it for yourself – if you like it, eat it, if you don’t, trim it away.
Q: Can the mold on cheese be a problem for people with allergies?
A: There are some penicillin-based molds in cheeses – mainly bloomy rind cheese and blue cheese. However, a person would have to have a VERY strong allergy to have a reaction to the cheese. The worst we’ve heard of is people having a slightly itchy sensation in their mouths or tongues.
Q: Why do some people not want eat raw milk cheese?
A: Most pregnant women are advised by their doctors not to eat raw milk cheese. There is a pathogen called Listeria that can be dangerous to an unborn fetus, and that bacteria can be carried in cheese. HOWEVER, if a cheese is made in a manner that is safe (i.e. clean production facilities, healthy animals making the milk, etc) there is an EXTREMELY small risk of this bacteria being present.