Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Freezing cheese

From Coleen:

I've never frozen cheese. Can you freeze all types of cheeses? Is the texture the same? Do you leave it in the original wrapper? Any and all info would be VERY helpful.

Hi, Coleen!

I have frozen blocks of cheese like cheddar, mozzarella, pepperjack, colby, swiss, etc. I do freeze the blocks in their original wrappers.

The main difference I have noticed is that cheese that has been frozen tends to crumble when sliced or shredded. Different brands vary slightly, but in general the cheddar and mozzarella cheese seems quite crumbly after freezing.

For casseroles, pizza, or anything else requiring shredded cheese, the crumbles work great! For slicing or cubes, it doesn't work as well. :)

I'd love some more reader input on this one! What types of cheese have you frozen, and what were the results? :)

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Comments

I've frozen shredded Parmesan cheese with good results.

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GinnyBerry

I have also frozen the harder cheese like parmasean, romano, asiago. They are also a bit crumbly. I usually shred cheese before I freeze it so I don't have to deal with a crumbly mess. Cheese keeps pretty well in the fridge, so I shred what we won't eat over the next month and freeze it.
Toni
http://thehappyhousewife.com

I buy cheese when on sale (latest Price book price moved from $3 to $4!), with cpns if possible, etc. I also take advantage of Deli Dept cheese ends. If they don't have any set out, I just ask and they always seem to have some, which have yet to be wrapped. I can get Provalone, Swiss, American, Cheddar, Munster for $2.39 this way. Great deal. I salvedge what I can for sandwiches by using a hand planer, and store these in the snack drawer of the fridge. With a family of 6, it's gone w/i a week. LOL! I also hand shred the rest of it on a box grater, or ask one of the kids to do it for me. I divide the mixed cheeses from the Deli ends and store them separately: American in one, Swiss in another, etc. I also shred some of the blocks of cheese. Sometimes, I can repackage the now shredded cheese into it's original packaging (Kraft uses a ziplock type bag). Sometimes it IS cheaper to buy the cheese preshredded-those I just toss into the freezer. Typically we have: Monteray Jack, Pepper Jack, extra sharp Cheddar, Swiss, Middlefield of Ohio Baby Swiss (annual Xmas gift from DH's Aunt : ) !), 5 or 6 Italian Cheese blend, Provalone, Parmesan, Mozzarella. Others slip in such as American, Colby. I prefer Cheddar in mac and cheese but will stretch it with some shredded Deli ends American. Also, I have pre-sliced, separated w/ waxed paper (save in baggie to reuse later), and then frozen cheese for sandwiches. It avoids the crumbling that Tammy references, was acceptable. I found it easier to just anticipate our sandwich cheese needs and keep those cheese out in the spare refrigerator. I do rotate my stock, to use the oldest first. During the school year, I can make up to 40 sandwiches/week! HTH
Carol

We buy large blocks of cheddar cheese from Sam's Club and freeze them. For a while we were so frustrated with the crumbliness of it when it came out of the freezer, until a friend recommended that we shred it then freeze it. Why didn't we think of that? Now we shred it all in our food processor, bag it, and freeze it.

I only freeze cheese that I plan on using for baking (in cassaroles, etc.) Freezing does change the texture, but not the flavor.

I think shredding before freezing works best, especially if you add a few T. of corn starch to the shreds and shake. This keeps the softer cheeses from clumping together. I noticed that the pre-shreds at the store also use a non-clumping agent, and one of them listed corn starch. I started adding it, and it does make a great difference!

With the shredded frozen cheese, I can take out only what I need for a recipe, and the shreds thaw very quickly.

-Gwen

If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands? –Milton Berle

Thanks for the information on what to use to keep cheese shreds from caking in the freezer! I love it when people share wisdom they've learned....it's so helpful! Thank you again!

I have frozen creamed cheese and riccotta cheese before, it changes the texture but I use it in baking so not a big deal. This way I can buy these cheeses on sale and have them on hand when I want to make a treat.

Only freeze cheese you plan to incorporate into a recipe. Slice if first if you want it for sandwiches, but the texture will be too weird to make a cheese plate or something with it.

You can also grate the cheese and flash freeze before freezing if you need it grated.

I try not to freeze cheese. It keeps for a long time in our refrigerator. If a bit of mold gets on the cheese I slice that part off and throw it out.

I freeze shredded cheese only and find that it works well for anything (tacos, soup, casserole, wraps, etc). My trick is to throw the bag in the fridget to thaw before Hubby finds out it was in the freezer. He hate eating "frozen" foods (cheese, bread, etc)
- http://bargainhuntingwife.blogspot.com

Hi Tammy,

I always enjoy reading through all the Kitchen tips but I don't usally have one to share. Everyone always seems to contribute some great tips I never would've thought of!

Today, I have sort of a Kitchen Tip, because it involves grocery shopping and meal planning so I thought I would put up a link just in case anybody wants to read it.

http://farmhomelife.blogspot.com/2008/07/grocery-and-meal-planning.html

Thanks!

Trixie

I freeze all of our cheese. Block, shredded and sliced. From Mozarella to Cheddar to Montery Jack. I particularly like freezing shredded cheese becauase I can usually use it right out of the freezer when adding it to warm dishes or cooking with it.

You can slice cheese first, too, as well as shredding it before you freeze it! One note - do thaw the shredded cheese WELL before you use it - at least if you plan on doing a recipe that requires you to handle the cheese, like sprinkling cheese on pizza. A few hard whacks of the bag against the table will break up the cheese well enough to use it, but your hands will cramp from the cold if you handle the cheese. ...NOT fun. My hands shook and ached, and I could not feel my fingers. Ah, the joys of forgetting to plan ahead! :)
~Amber

Thanks for all the info!

Coleen

Thank you for the idea about freezing shredded cheese. I was just wondering about this myself. I bought 2 bags of shredded cheese today at Aldi's and spent almost $7. I bought 6 things and the total came to over $12. I was in shock so I looked at my receipt to see why and that was the reason. Almost want to give up cheese for this amount. I will look for the suggestions about the end cheese. Do they sell you these for a lower price? Thanks for the great tips! Keep them up.

Janice

Janice, my local Shoprite's have a marked section of a Deli display case where they place packaged Deli meat and cheese ends. Depending upon what's available, I commonly find Provalone, Swiss, American, Cheddar, etc. ALL of the deli cheese ends are sold @ $2.39/lb.
American otherwise is sold ON SALE for $4.99
Provalone ON SALE is $4.99
Swiss ON SALE is $5.99
Cheddar ON SALE is $5.99

My old price book for cheese was $3/lb, I moved it to $4/lb a while back. $2.39/lb is very welcomed here! : )
Carol

Like the above ladies were saying, freezing shredded cheese works fantastically. We had a relative from Wisconsin (CHEESE STATE!) visit us and bring a whole COOLER of cheese. He works at a factory there in Wisconsin so he is quite familiar with how to treat it. His advice was that you only freeze the shredded, since (like you noted) block cheese tends to crumble and be ornery :). I don't think the variety of the shredded cheese matters- we've frozen everything from parmesan to chipotle cheddar and had the same results. We're still enjoying his generosity!

I stock up on shredded cheese when it goes on sale (specifically in May around Cinco de Mayo!) and pack my freezer with it. We go through SO MUCH cheese around here...in salads, casseroles, Mexican dishes, you name it. Shredded cheese freezes best, I think. I've never had a problem, but my blocks of cheese do have a tendency to crumble.

We recently started freezing feta ( to use in greek style pasta dishes) and have been really happy with it. It does change texyure but is handy for casseroles and "hamburger helper" style dishes. It is a great deal by the bucket at GFS compared to the grocery store price. I have used it to make a greek style dressing also.

Maggie (www.erratichomemaker.blogspot.com)

Our local Italian market sells big blocks of mozzarella at much cheaper prices than the grocery store. We buy 10 pounds at a time, shred it, spread it on cookie sheets and freeze. Freezing it on cookie sheets first helps to keep it from freezing together in a big clump. Once it's frozen we transfer it to freezer bags and store it that way. We have pizza night every Friday, so we always have the need for shredded mozzarella.

I freeze cheddar and other cheeses in blocks or shreds, and do agree that they're only really good for cooking after thawing, but we still stock up on cheese whenever it is on sale.

We had the same problem with our cheese being crumbly but we found out that if we thaw our cheese in the refrigerator it slices nicely. Hope that helps! ~Ann

I routinely shred and then freeze cheddar, colby, and colby jack cheeses. I buy the 2% variety when I can find it. However, I buy a *big* bag of shredded mozzarella cheese from Sam's Club. It's easier to break apart.

To thaw before using (like on pizza 'cause I usually don't thaw it first), I put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds on Defrost. I do that to soften cold butter too.

I have sliced and frozen harder cheese with success too although I'm going to try the idea above of thawing cheese in the refrigerator for slice-ability.

LeeAnn
3forschool.blogspot.com

Hi -
A friend told me years ago to bring frozen cheese to room temperature when thawing, before refrigerating again.
I've been doing it successfully ever since - any time of year, any kind of cheese.
I just leave it on the counter until completely thawed [or longer ;)] and thoroughly refrigerate it before trying to grate or slice.
It's very convenient to cut a large block into 1 pound chunks, and thaw as needed.
Deb

My wife is starting a Cookie Business :Healthy Indulgence" all natural cookies with Fiber, Antioxidents and Omega 3's
She has gotten an awesome response to the taste of these cookies, she has decided , instead of selling the cookies, is to market and sell the Dough----we are trying to find a 48-64 oz bucket, due to that we will freeze the Dough, The Bucket we are looking for we wanted it, preferably with a handle and an air tight lid-(for Freezing) ----
Can you help us with this?
Blessings,
Tom

My suggestion would be to check with local bakeries/delis. I know at least one grocery store here that has smaller buckets (not sure of the exact size... maybe 1 gallon?) that have the airtight lids -- they look just like the 5-gallon ones, except smaller. I'm not sure if they'd be small enough for you though... 64 ounces isn't very big. :)

Another option would be a restaurant supply store/company or a paper/plastics company...

Or, check online. I know there are some great container companies. I have not ordered from this place, but they seem to have a variety and a good reputation: M&M Industries. They carry a half-gallon size. Check their website for distributors in your area -- that might give you an idea of a company/place to check for even more options! :)

As everyone else has said, I do hard cheese all the time. But I've also done Brie and blue cheese. We don't mind the rind, so I keep that on. We don't eat it as part of a cheese plate after being frozen, but it's great afterwards for being used with hot pastas. Just make sure they are wrapped well.

I work at a cheese factory in NY called Goldenagecheese.com that produces their own cheese. To send the cheese to our customers, we freeze the cheese and also send the cheese in insulation. The freezing does not affect the taste at all in my opinion. As for the crumbling, the older the cheddar is, the more liekly it will crumble anyway. If you buy cheddar cheese that is in a wax, it is less likely to crumble apon thawing or just eating. We freeze all types of cheese including, mozzarella, cheese curds, meunster, and cheddar as old as 7-9 years. We have never had major problems with freezing the cheese! Hope this helped a little!

My mom use to freeze cheese and I didn't like it, but if you use it to cook I don't think it is bad.

Is there an easy way to stem gooseberries? They have to be stemmed on both ends and it is so time consuming. My husband enjoys fresh gooseberry pie and I have worked long hard hours on this task in order to please him.

Oh, I wish. In fact, I was looking for the same information when I came across your question. We have 11 gooseberry bushes in our yard and this year they are all loaded. I am looking for a faster way that the traditional paring knife...still looking.

I have read that you can store cheese for long periods in the fridge by wrapping it with an apple cider vinegar-soaked cloth, then placing in plastic bag or whatever. I have never done this because I never think to do it, but I've heard amazing stories about longevity of cheese using this method. Maybe someone else can remember to do it and give a report.

I use a vacuum food savor bag which I pour a few drops of vinegar in and then vacuum seal the cheese. Works like a charm. Just swish a few drops of vinegar around and shake the vinegar out some - put the cheese in and seal. I keep in the meat/cheese drawer of the refrigerator. I use either white or cider vinegar. Yes, I always do it with any cheese I open which I buy in the 2 pound brick or large cut pieces of the parmesan, etc.

I have had great success keeping sharp cheddar in the fridge for several weeks by wrapping it very tightly in waxed paper, then in a ziploc type bag. I discovered this when I had a huge block that I did not want to spoil while on a 2 week vacation. Came back to fresh cheese, no mold! In fact it had "aged" a bit and had great flavor.

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