Can You Freeze Cottage Cheese? Top Tips to Store Hard and Soft Cheese
If there’s one thing that can instantly make everything taste a whole lot better, then it’s cheese. Cheese can be paired with a number of foods, either as a side or as one of the main ingredients of the dish.
Most people prefer to buy processed cheese rather than natural ones, mostly because those are much easier to store and handle. If you’re someone who loves to cook, then you must give natural, freshly made cheeses a try.
Worried about not knowing how to store them properly? Don’t fret. I recently found this awesome site where I learned a lot of food storage tips. This guide is an extension of that to show you not only how to freeze cottage cheese but other types of cheese as well.
Types Of Cheeses and How To Store Them
Let’s say that you bought a fresh batch of cottage cheese. After eating it, you must be thinking of ways to save it for next time. You could be wondering – can you freeze cottage cheese?
Before you can begin to answer those questions, you must first determine what kind of cheese it is. After you figure that out, you can most definitely find the right way to store that particular type of cheese. A quick google search can lead you to many helpful ideas.
Let’s look at the types of cheese you can find and ways to store them.
Soft cheese is usually made by mixing milk with lactic acid bacteria. These bacteria will digest milk sugar, producing lactic acid. This causes milk proteins to curdle, forming a curd.
These kinds of cheeses are usually unripened and aren’t pressed to remove the liquid, hence giving them a smooth, soft, and spreadable texture. Soft cheeses are best enjoyed with bread, your favorite salad recipes, and sometimes fruits too.
Storing Soft Cheeses
Normally, soft cheeses like cottage cheese have a short shelf life – around ten days. Other soft cheeses, like mascarpone, can be stored for up to six days. You can usually store most soft cheeses for about one to two weeks before they start going bad.
In order to store them properly, you have to make sure that the cheese still has a little contact with air. This will stop it from becoming soggy. The first method is to simply wrap the cheese with waxed paper; the paper will act as a breathable cover for the cheese, retaining its flavor.
The second method is to get a bell jar. Simply place your cheese into the bell jar after you open it and refrigerate it.
From the above methods, it’s clear that you cannot freeze cottage cheese.
What Not To Do
Do not wrap your cheese in a layer of cling film. The plastic wrap will act as an airtight seal. It’s not breathable, and your cottage cheese will soon lose both its texture and flavor.
Hard cheeses are rich in flavor, especially because they aren’t as “watered down” as soft cheeses. They are made using special enzymes and culture acids that cause the coagulation of milk. This is then pressed in order to remove the excess liquids and is then aged with the help of mold or bacteria over a long period of time.
Parmesan and pecorino manchego are some of the most well-known hard cheeses that are frequently used in pasta. Another popular hard cheese is cheddar, which is used in mac n cheese, popcorn, or even in spicy ramen noodles to tone down the spice.
Storing Hard Cheeses
With hard cheeses, you don’t have to worry about the breathability in your choice of the wrapper. You can start by wrapping your block of cheese with parchment paper or wax paper. Seal the wrapper with some tape. You can now put the cheese in a zip-lock bag or in a plastic container and leave it in the fridge.
What Not To Do
Hard cheese is very temperature sensitive. In fact, these cheeses are matured at a very specific temperature, which is around 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
When you store hard cheese in the colder half of the refrigerator, it tends to slow down the aging process and ruins its texture. If the temperature is too warm, then it will accelerate the aging process. Rapid aging can often raise the moisture levels of the cheese, which will give it an unusual flavor.
Hence, avoid keeping your cheese in the colder areas of your fridge. Instead put them in the drawers, which often tend to be higher in temperature.
It is also possible to store hard cheese outside, especially if you’re going to consume it on the same day. Just store them under a cloth made of cotton or under a bell jar.
How To Know If Your Cheese Has Spoiled
Even if you store cheese properly, it doesn’t necessarily eliminate the risk of it going bad.
The best way to find out if your cheese is spoilt is to carefully observe the surface. If you see any mold, then chances are it’s not the mold that was used to age it. Instead, these are signs of contamination. Although you can just scrape off the top layer and save the remaining cheese underneath, it’s best to get rid of the whole block to avoid getting sick.
If your hard cheese feels too hard, then it has gone dry from being stored too long.
Similarly, if your soft cheese feels slimy and a little too runny, you should probably get rid of it. Lastly, if you happen to notice that your cheese has started to smell a little pungent, then that’s also a sign that it’s way past its expiry date.
Without a doubt, there’s a huge difference between storing hard and soft cheese. While the former contains added preservatives to prevent chemical reactions (that cause aging or spoiling), the latter does not.
Moreover, you need to use the right wrappers and temperature when storing cheese in the fridge.
So, to answer your question – can you freeze cottage cheese – it’s clearly not recommended.
Even after following the above tips on storing hard and soft cheeses, if they tend to go bad quickly, consider getting smaller portions.