Q. I like to buy foods in bulk when they’re on sale. I’m worried that if I buy cheese in bulk it might go bad. Is it possible to freeze cheese?
A. Cheese can be frozen, but some cheeses freeze better than others. Block cheeses such as cheddar, provolone, Swiss, or Monterey Jack freeze well because they are solid and have a low moisture content. To freeze these types of cheeses, first wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Next, place wrapped cheese in a small freezer bag and press out as much air from the bag possible before sealing. These types of cheese can be safely frozen for up to two months.
When thawed, even block cheese can lose some of their original texture, and may no longer be great for serving sliced. Instead, reserve these cheeses for recipes that call for shredded or melted cheese so that any changes in texture won’t be noticed, like soups, nachos, or grilled cheese sandwiches.
Aged cheeses such as Parmesan, Asiago, or Pecorino freeze well. Freezing these cheeses has the advantage of preventing mold from growing and helps to preserve their flavour. These cheeses freeze best in small pieces or when grated. Grated cheese can be used directly from the freezer but larger pieces need to be thawed before use. To freeze, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag, or place grated cheese in a freezer safe airtight container. These cheeses can be frozen for up to 3 months, and are best used in recipes as their texture may change when thawed.
Soft cheeses are more difficult to freeze because of their high moisture content, although cream cheese freezes well. To freeze, place in a freezer safe airtight container. To defrost, allow cream cheese to thaw in the fridge. Some separation may occur upon thawing. If this happens, simply mix or whip until combines and the original texture is restored.
Other soft cheeses may lose their texture, as the high water content can cause ice crystals to form in the cheese when frozen. While ice crystals don’t make the cheese inedible, it can make it watery upon defrosting. The change in texture isn’t unsafe, but soft cheese that’s been frozen is best used melted in recipes. To freeze soft cheese, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer bag with the air removed. For all types of cheese, label the package with the date and the type of cheese for reference. Freeze up to two months for best results.