Cheese is one of those foods that can be used or consumed in countless ways. It can enhance the taste of foods like pizza, salads, sandwiches, and pasta. To be honest, the list of foods where you can use cheese is so long, but I’m not here to talk about that.
With the numerous uses of cheese, it is not shocking that a lot of people would not hesitate to stock up on it whenever there’s a sale. But how would you extend the storage life of cheese? Can you just leave it in the fridge? Or can you freeze cheese?
The short answer to that question is yes and no. It may sound confusing, but it’s really the answer to that question. You can freeze cheese, but you might not like how the cheese ends up when you thaw or defrost it. That’s because not all cheese types freeze well.
Freezing can inactivate yeast, bacteria, and microbes that can prevent food spoilage. It can also prevent cheese from causing various illnesses. But putting cheese in the freezer can affect its texture.
It may not be a secret to you that there are many types of cheese. To better answer the question “can you freeze cheese", I will list down some of the more common cheese types. I will then discuss if it is advisable to freeze them, and how to do so.
Let’s start with freezing cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is a fresh cheese characterized by a soft and creamy texture. It is derived from curds of pasteurized cow's milk. You can get it in different forms like whipped, creamed, sodium-free and lactose-free.
It has grown in popularity the past few years because of its weight loss potential. It is high in protein but low in calories thus it is often part of many weight loss diets.
However, this type of cheese doesn’t freeze well. When defrosted or thawed, cottage cheese can be mistaken for baby food because of its watery and grainy appearance.
It’s such a bummer because this cheese doesn't really last long in the fridge. When continuously refrigerated, it will only last for a week past its best before date.
But then again, cottage cheese may still be frozen if you are to use it in certain dishes such as:
- Baked mac
- Baked penne
- Cheese bars
You can also freeze cottage cheese if you are to use it in dipping sauces. Frozen cottage cheese may also be mixed with fruits such as bananas, berries, and peach. Personally, I love to use cottage cheese in scrambled eggs. It adds a creamy texture to it.
And if you are not bothered eating cheese that is grainy and watery, then go ahead and freeze cottage cheese.
In case you decide to do so, I suggest that you wrap the cheese in its container as there’s a tendency for cottage cheese to absorb flavors from other foods in the freezer. You can then place it in a freezer bag or a plastic container that is safe for use in the freezer.
When stored in the freezer, cottage cheese can remain safe for consumption for up to six months past the sell-by date. Label the container with the expiration date so that you would know when to use the cheese.
I would also recommend that you stir the cheese first before freezing to prevent separation upon thawing.
Speaking of thawing, you can thaw cottage cheese in the fridge for several hours. It is not recommended to thaw it on the counter since the change in temperature may lead to bacterial growth, spoiling the cheese in the process.
How’s about freezing feta cheese?
Feta cheese is quite expensive thus it is not surprising that many homemakers stock up on this type of cheese whenever there is a sale.
This cheese also doesn’t last that long. When you leave it in the refrigerator, feta cheese won’t last more than two weeks. So should you freeze feta cheese?
Feta cheese freezes better than cottage cheese. There’s a slight change in the flavor of the cheese, but it is possible to bring back some of that flavor. As for the texture, freezing cottage cheese can make it a bit crumblier. Thus, it would be ideal to use thawed feta cheese in casseroles, sauces, and burgers.
Here’s how you can freeze feta cheese. Remove it first from the water where it is packaged in. Dry it with a paper towel. Wrap it in a plastic bag to prevent freezer burn and then place it in a freezer bag. Make sure to remove the air from the bag before putting it in the freezer.
If you don’t think you will be able to use all of the cheese, I suggest you cut it into smaller blocks then wrap the blocks individually.
When you have decided to use the frozen feta cheese, remove it from the freezer and transfer it to the fridge to thaw. Don’t remove the wrapping yet because this would cause drying out of the cheese.
As I said earlier, there’s a chance that feta cheese will lose some of its flavors when frozen. But that’s salvageable as you can place the cheese in a brine made of salt and water. This should restore the salty flavor that we all love about feta cheese.
But what if you find the cheese too salty? Don’t worry as there’s a fix for that. Take a piece of the cheese that you intend to use then soak it in a solution of half cup fresh milk and half cup of water for about an hour.
You can also store thawed feta cheese in olive oil. It’s a practical solution for feta cheese to be used in salads. You can do this by placing the feta in a glass jar and then covering it completely with olive oil. Leave a space of about ½ inch below the top of the jar.
Seal the jar and store in a cool place. There’s no need to refrigerate it.
However, keep in mind that you should not re-freeze feta cheese that has been thawed. It should be used within 2-3 days after being thawed.
There are plenty of uses for thawed feta cheese. You can toss it in pasta dishes. It also works as a garnish. You can also add it to salads.
Can you freeze goat cheese?
Cottage cheese is a staple of Mediterranean countries. Also known as chevre cheese, it can be a great addition to pizza, salads, and ravioli. Its sharp and tangy flavor can enhance the flavors of these dishes.
Like the two types of cheese mentioned above, goat cheese doesn’t last long in the fridge. When refrigerated, cottage cheese only stays fresh for two to three weeks-- maybe longer if you keep it sealed. But you can’t expect it to remain safe for use for months when left in the refrigerator.
Freezing goat cheese is the best way to extend its freshness. When stored properly in the freezer, goat cheese can be safe for consumption for up to three months past its sell-by date.
The good news is that goat cheese freezes well, whether it is a solid block or one that is in the spreadable form. So how should you freeze goat cheese?
You’ll have to consider the form of the cheese. Soft and spreadable goat cheese usually is available in plastic or glass containers. It is commonly flavored with olive oil. There’s a bit of a problem when freezing soft goat cheese-- it tends to be watery when defrosted.
In freezing spreadable goat cheese, don’t remove it from its container. Instead, just wrap it in a plastic bag to prevent freezer burn. I usually double wrap the container.
Label the plastic with the date of first freezing so that you would have an idea when to use the goat cheese. Remember that frozen goat cheese is good for up to 3 months past its sell by date. Then place the container in the middle of the freezer.
Now, how would you freeze goat cheese that is in solid form? Well, you can cut it into cubes before wrapping them tightly and putting them in a freezer bag. I suggest that you break up the goat cheese block into smaller portions if you intend to use them in different recipes.
You can then simply take out the goat cheese cubes when you are ready to use them. Thaw the frozen cheese in the refrigerator overnight. Goat cheese in the solid form usually becomes crumbly and soft after thawing. You can use them in salads and other recipes where soft cheese is called for.
How about spreadable goat cheese? As I mentioned earlier, this form of cheese tends to become watery after thawing. You can remedy this by stirring the cheese. This should also help in maintaining the creamy texture of the cheese.
Can mozzarella cheese be frozen well?
I am one of the millions of people who love this delicious soft cheese. I love to add it to pizzas. My partner, in fact, likes my bagel pizza recipe which is one way to reuse bagels.
As I have mentioned in this post about storing mozzarella cheese, mozzarella cheese can easily get spoiled when not stored properly. That would be such a bummer considering that mozzarella is quite expensive.
Refrigerating mozzarella cheese is also not the best way to store it. Refrigeration can affect the texture of the cheese, causing it to become chewy and rubber-like.
Fortunately for us who love mozzarella, most forms of mozzarella freeze well. Pre-packaged mozzarella cheese, for one, is ideal for freezing. It can retain its flavor and texture even when stored in the freezer. Freezing can also extend the shelf life of the cheese for up to three months.
Here’s how you can store pre-packaged mozzarella cheese. Spread shredded mozzarella on a baking sheet, which you will then place in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes. This trick should make the mozzarella cheese harder.
Then remove the baking sheet from the refrigerator and wrap it with a plastic bag. Make sure that you squeeze the air out of the bag before putting it into the freezer.
In case you are shredding the mozzarella by yourself you can toss some cornstarch to prevent the cheese from sticking together.
In my experience, thawed pre-packaged mozzarella cheese tends to be drier compared to fresh mozzarella, but I find it pretty acceptable.
But how about bricks of mozzarella cheese? Can you also freeze it as well?
The answer is yes! In fact, bricks of mozzarella can even stay safe for consumption for up to six months when stored in the freezer. Wrap it in a plastic bag then put the cheese in the middle part of the freezer, where the temperature is at a constant.
You can then defrost the frozen chunk of mozzarella cheese in the fridge overnight. The cheese can still be safe to use 3-4 days after being removed in the freezer and refrigerated. But if you thaw it in cold water or the microwave, you should use the cheese right away.
Fresh mozzarella from buffalo’s milk, however, is a different case. When you freeze it, you would have cheese with excess liquid. The excess liquid is called whey which is rich in proteins.
When you remove whey from the mozzarella cheese, there is a bit of change in the flavor of the cheese. Aside from that, mozzarella cheese also tends to fall apart easily after being frozen.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t freeze fresh mozzarella cheese. If you are to use the cheese for baking, then it would not really matter if it crumbles easily, right? Serving it for a tasting party though is a different matter. In this case, you might want to store the cheese in the fridge instead.
When stored in the fridge, fresh mozzarella can last for 3 weeks past its sell-by date. There is a chance mold would appear on it. You can still eat the cheese by cutting away an inch around the mold and then covering the cheese again in a fresh wrap.
Have you ever freeze blue cheese?
Blue cheese may not be as popular as mozzarella perhaps due to its sharp and salty taste. It can improve the taste of steaks and burgers. If you stock up on blue cheese, how should you store it?
Freezing blue cheese is the best way to extend its shelf life. Properly stored in the freezer, it can last for six months. That’s quite long especially when you compare it to refrigerating blue cheese, which can only extend the shelf life to three weeks.
There’s one caveat, though-- blue cheese can lose its flavor quickly when it is in the freezer. Thus I suggest that you should not wait for the blue cheese to sit in the freezer past two months.
The chances of blue cheese losing its creaminess after freezing are also high. This may not be an issue if you are to toss it in salads, but you may not like it if you are to serve the cheese in a tasting party.
So keep in mind that the less time blue cheese is left in the freezer, the more likely it will retain its taste and texture.
In freezing blue cheese, wrap it in a double layer of plastic to prevent freezer burn. This will also avoid the cheese getting flavors from the other foods in the freezer. In case you don’t have an idea on when you will be able to consume or use the blue cheese, you can cut it in pieces then wrap them individually.
Place the cheese in a freezer bag then squeeze the air out of it. Seal and then label the freezer bag.
To thaw the blue cheese, remove it from the freezer then transfer it in the fridge. Let it stand there overnight. Once it has thawed completely, remove the cheese from the wrap and place it on the counter for 30 minutes. This would let the cheese to regain its texture and flavor.
You can then store leftover thawed blue cheese in the ref. You should consume it within 48 hours.
Cheese is one of the most popular foods in the world, but it is no secret that it can get expensive. Any practical homemaker would be tempted to buy tons of cheese whenever there’s a sale.
If you are one of those people who like buying loads of cheese, I believe you now have a better idea on how to freeze cheese. Freezing works for most cheese types, although there are some cheeses that don’t really freeze well.
Can I ask for a small favor? Please share this article on your social media account. Let’s help other people get to know how to properly store cheese, shall we?