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Storing Parmesan Cheese

Larry_Albertson's picture

What's the best way to store block parmesan cheese and how long will it keep?

Smittyroo_'s picture

Larry, dont know if this will help but heres some input on parmesan....
Parmesan (Parmigiano)
Named after an area in Italy, Parma Parmesan is one of the world's most popular and widely-enjoyed cheeses. Milk used for Parmesan is heated and curdled in copper containers but not before most of the milk's cream has been separated and removed. Curd is cut and then heated to 125 degrees F, all the while stirring the curd to encourage whey runoff. The curd is further cooked at temperatures of up to 131 degrees F, then pressed in cheesecloth-lined moulds. After two days, the cheeses are removed and salted in brine for a month, then allowed to mature for up to two years in very humid conditions.
cow milk
Fat content:

Recommended Wine:
Cabernet Sauvignon Pinot Noir

MEAN_CHEF's picture

I assume you are referring to parmigiano reggiano which in our house consumes 20% of the food budget. I simply store it in the fridge. Never stays long enough to go bad. You can also freeze it in 1/2 -1 lb blocks but you would be talking $50.00 or more worth of cheese to resort to freezing.
Any mold which forms on the cheese in the refrigerator can be scraped off.

aussiechef's picture

After you have eaten your cheese, put the rinds in olive oil for a month and you have wonderfully flavoured oil.

Bonita_Schaly's picture

If you are storing the cheese for an extended period of time, try this. Wrap your cheese in cheese cloth and dunk the entire thing in paraffin wax, probably an 1/8" thick. I have never tried this but, I've read that the cheese will last almost indefinitely. Hope this helps.

Rebecca's picture

This may be heresy to some, but I grate a couple of blocks and freeze in zip-lock-type plastic bags. Freshly grated Parm. Reg. is needed for so many recipes - if I had to grate some every single time, it would mean I simply wouldn't make some of the things I want to. Its just the last step that I don't have to do. The pungency is diminished somewhat but the convenience is worth it to me right now. Frozen rinds are great in minestrone.

FlavourGirl_'s picture

Another use for the rind - add to soup when cooking; remove before serving.

FlavourGirl_'s picture

I store mine in plastic wrap because it is convenient. I've read that you should wrap it in wax paper first then aluminum foil. I tried this and did not see a difference from plastic wrap.

If the cheese dries out and becomes chalkier, moisten a piece of cheesecloth with water, wring it out so it is damp and wrap it around the cheese. Then wrap in foil and store in the refrigerator for a day or two. Unwrap the Parmesan and re-wrap with the wrap of your choice.

Walt's picture

How to store Cheese

Tips from Steve Jenkins February 22, 1997 Cheese Expert Steve Jenkins author of Steve Jenkins Cheese Primer
gives us these rules for storing cheese:

General Rules: Cheese is best
stored in the refrigerator as close to the bottom of the appliance as possible
- the vegetable compartment is ideal. Wrap it in aluminum foil or waxed paper
(waxed paper being the best of the two). Wrapped this way, the cheese will
be able to breathe and further develop without drying out. Cheeses of various
types need not be segregated. They may share the space inside the compartment.
The harder the cheese, the longer it will stay fresh (up to a month) in the
vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. Semisoft cheeses will usually
be fine for several weeks. Cut pieces of soft cheese will last for less than
two weeks. Cheese suffers enormously from being frozen, so simply get the
notion out of your head.

About Wrapping: When wrapping
it, the main thing is to be sure the cheese is kept covered and moist, still
able to breathe, but without breathing so much that it dries out and cracks.
To accomplish this, wrap the cheese tightly in aluminum foil or waxed paper.
(If the cheese weighs more than 3 pounds (1 1/2 k), fist wrap it in damp
cheesecloth or other cloth and then in foil.) Though at one time I railed
against it, my feelings about plastic wrap have tempered over time, as the
quality and consistency of this irreplaceable kitchen material have improved.
While I once loathed allowing a petroleum product to touch any food - certainly
not my hallowed cheese - I now discover that after all my ranting and raving
about it, plastic wrap really does a pretty good job. I must offer one caveat,
however: If the plastic wrap is in contact with the rind or interior of the
cheese for too long (more than a week), the cheese begind to suffer; it
suffocates, becomes slimy-rinded, discolored, and certainly less than it
should be, or was the week before. But guess what? Had you used aluminum
foil, cheesecloth, waxed paper, or a combination of all three, you would
have fared no better. The rule of thumb is that harder cheese will last longer
than softer ones, with semisoft (or semifirm) cheeses falling somewhere in
between. Whether you use aluminum foil, waxed paper, or plastic wrap, be
aware that once you've unwrapped a cheese stored in the refrigerator, the
wrapping should be discarded and the cheese should be put in a new wrapping.
Reused materials won't reseal properly. Excerpted from Steve Jenkins Cheese
Primer Workman Publishing 1996

Bass Lake Cheese Factory

STORING CHEESE Proper storage
will ensure that the original flavor, appearance and quality is maintained.
Generally, unopened cheese products stored in the refrigerator at 34°
to 38° F will maintain good quality even beyond any freshness date stamped
on packages. However, once opened, the following guidelines are suggested:
Natural cheese and pasteurized process cheese will remain fresh approximately
4 to 8 weeks in the refrigerator. Wrap cheese tightly to prevent surface
drying. We recommend that you use a clean wrap after each time you handle
your cheese as this will keep it even longer. Each time you handle your cheese
you are adding bacteria to it, so a fresh wrap will help prevent mold. Shreded
cheeses are more susceptible to mold development and moisture loss because
they have more exposed surfaces. Therefore, rewrap or reseal what remains
and plan to use it within few days. Aromatic cheeses, such as Limberger and
Blue, should be wrapped in plastic film and stored in airtight containers.
This is for several reasons: one, you don't want your refrigerator to smell
like these cheeses and, secondly, the mold Blue has in it can infect the
other food in your refrigerator. Once any cheese is opened, you want it to
retain moisture for the sake of texture. To minimize moisture loss, keep
it tightly wrapped. This should also help keep cheese and its storage mates
from exchanging odors. If cheese develops surface mold, simply cut off
approximately 1/2 inch from each affected side. The remaining cheese is fine
but should be used within the week. Remember, mold spores are airborne and
are natural part of our environment. That's why it is important to wrap or
seal all high moisture food, like cheese, as airtight as possible. Cheese
is like a sponge-any time you put cheese in your refrigerator (say next to
an onion) and neither is wrapped tightly, then your cheese may taste of that
onion. We at Bass Lake Cheese Factory usually recommend to our customers
that they use a zip lock bag with as much air squeezed out of it as possible.
©1998 Bass Lake Cheese Factory
it will have a nutty aroma.

StevenHB_'s picture


According to Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet, the whey is then used to feed the pigs from which they make Parma Proscuitto. Two awesome products from the same region - and they're interrelated.

Incidentally, I haven't heard anything of Jeff Smith since he was accused of funny business with children. What ever happened with that?

Carolina's picture

If I remember correctly, MC said he paid out a huge sum of money and that was that.

aussiechef's picture

Wasn't he just the messiest cook you ever did see? He gave a new face to mise en place.

Smittyroo_'s picture

The few times I watched that program I always thought his "assistants" looked a little too pretty to be cooks..(present company excepted of course.)

Carolina's picture

Come on you guys. Was he ever proven guilty? I used to enjoy his shows, especially the earlier ones and the one on Italian cooking. His "Cooking with Wine" cookbook is VERY good.

Chiffonade_'s picture

Re: Frugal Gourmet (was wondering why there were 13 new messages about cheese)...I always enjoyed his shows. He was one of the first people who taught me that food was more than sustenance - more than just something to power our engines but also do something for our souls.

I would love to know what happened to him - I wonder if he has an e-mail addy. I just don't
i believe
anything funny went for a court ruling, they don't stand for much anymore...look at OJ.

Carolina's picture

Sorry. That doesn't convince me of his guilt. When money is an issue, greedy people will say just about anything.

MEAN_CHEF's picture

Let's not start that tobacco company discussion again. I thought it was finished.

Regarding the perv. Didn't say he was guilty or not. It's just an update.