Freezing fresh cheese is a quick and convenient way to keep it on hand for recipes or snacks. However, not all types of cheese will freeze well. When deciding whether to freeze a particular cheese, consider whether it can handle freezing and thawing without becoming crumbly or too soft.
We will discuss with you the best types of cheese to freeze, how to freeze cheese by wrapping and storing, and how to thaw frozen cheese properly.
With these tips, you can enjoy your favourite cheese for extended periods without sacrificing quality.
Can You Freeze Cheese?
You can freeze cheese, but the outcome might vary depending on the type of cheese and the intended use after thawing.
Cheese, with its wide range of textures and flavors, can be categorized into hard and soft varieties. Hard cheeses, such as Cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan, are more amenable to freezing. When frozen and subsequently thawed, they generally retain much of their original texture and flavor.
Soft cheeses, on the other hand, including varieties like Brie, Camembert, and Ricotta, can undergo noticeable textural changes. They might become crumblier or even slightly watery after thawing.
So, while freezing cheese is a practical preservation method, understanding the nuances associated with different cheese varieties and following proper freezing and thawing procedures can make a significant difference in the end result.
Best Ways to Freeze Cheese
Now that we know which types of cheese can be frozen let’s talk about the best way to freeze them.
Step 1: Cut the Cheese into Portions
Before freezing cheese, cutting it into portions you can easily use later is a good idea. This will make it easier to thaw the cheese and prevent any waste.
Step 2: Wrap the Cheese
Afterwards, wrap the cheese securely using either plastic wrap or aluminium foil, ensuring that it is tightly wrapped to prevent the entry of air that could result in freezer burn.
Step 3: Label and Date the Cheese
Labelling and dating the cheese before putting it in the freezer is essential. This will make it easier to track what you have in the freezer and how long it has been there.
Step 4: Place the Cheese in the Freezer
Place the wrapped cheese in the freezer.
If you have a lot of cheese to freeze, it’s a good idea to place the wrapped portions in a resealable freezer bag or airtight container to keep them organised.
How to Thaw Frozen Cheese in 3 Easy Steps
When it’s time to use frozen cheese, there are a few things to remember to ensure that it thaws properly.
Step 1: Remove the Cheese from the Freezer
Take out the cheese from the freezer and transfer it to the refrigerator to defrost. It’s essential to thaw cheese slowly in the fridge to prevent it from becoming too soft or losing its flavour.
Step 2: Let the Cheese Thaw
Allow the cheese to thaw in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. However, if you’re pressed for time, you can expedite the process by placing the cheese in a bowl of cool water.
Step 3: Use the Cheese
Once the cheese is thawed, you can use it in your favourite recipes. However, remember that the cheese’s texture may be slightly different from fresh cheese, especially if it’s softer.
Types of Cheese That Can Be Frozen
Not all types of cheese are suitable for freezing. Some cheeses, such as ricotta and cottage cheese, have a high moisture content, which can cause them to become grainy or watery when frozen. Other types of cheese, such as soft cheeses like brie and camembert, can become runny and lose their texture when frozen.
However, several types of cheese can be frozen with success, including:
- Hard Cheeses: Hard cheeses (like Cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan) tend to freeze better than soft cheeses (like Brie, Camembert, and Ricotta). Soft cheeses may become a bit more crumbly after thawing, while cream-based cheeses might separate.
- Semi-Hard Cheeses: Semi-hard cheeses like provolone, swiss, and mozzarella can also be frozen. It is worth mentioning that these cheeses might experience some crumbliness upon thawing.
- Firm Cheeses: Colby, Monterey Jack, and Pepper Jack can also be frozen. These cheeses tend to retain their texture and flavour well when frozen.
Can all types of cheese be frozen?
No, not all types of cheese freeze well. Hard cheeses such as cheddar, Gouda, and Parmesan freeze better than soft cheeses such as brie or feta. The higher the fat content in the cheese, the better it will freeze.
Do I need to cut the cheese into portions before freezing?
It is recommended to cut the cheese into portions before freezing. This will make it easier to use later without defrosting the entire block.
How long can I store cheese in the freezer?
Hard cheeses can be stored in the freezer for up to six months, while soft cheeses should only be held for two to three months.
Can I freeze shredded cheese?
Yes, you can freeze shredded cheese. It is best to freeze it in a resealable freezer bag or an airtight container.
How do I thaw frozen cheese?
To thaw frozen cheese, transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight. Do not microwave or thaw at room temperature, as this can affect the texture and flavour of the cheese.
Can I use frozen cheese for cooking or melting?
Yes, frozen cheese can be used for cooking or melting. However, it may have a different texture than fresh cheese, so it is best used in recipes where consistency is less important, such as casseroles or soups.
Finding the best way to freeze cheese ensures its freshness and flavour. While freezing cheese can be a great way to extend its shelf life, not all types of cheese freeze well, and it’s important to wrap and store it correctly.