The Type Of Cheese You Should Never Store In The Freezer

If expiration dates weren't a thing, our fridge drawers would be stuffed to the brim with cheese. This is partially because you need different types for different dishes. Our dream cheese drawer would include blue cheese for a richer potato gratin, Vermont Creamery's gold-medal-winning goat cheese, blocks of feta to spruce up our citrus salads, and much more. Of course, we'd also add in some classic cheddar, especially because one in five Americans say it's their favorite type, according to a YouGovAmerica poll.

But alas, all good things must come to an end, and even our ideal collection of cheeses would go bad if left uneaten for too long. Exactly how long depends on the type — opened packages of hard varieties can last for six weeks in the fridge, semisoft cheeses up to three weeks, and soft types one to two weeks. If you see mold, your block becomes dry, or it starts smelling like ammonia, you can take it as a sign that it's starting to go bad, according to Allrecipes, and you have a few options. You can cut off the moldy bits and trim the dry edges, blend the whole thing to create a cheesy topping, or turn it into a dip. Or, if you're not trying to eat it right away, throw it in the freezer — but be careful, as one type of cheese won't hold up well once frozen.

Freezing soft cheeses ruins their texture

According to Cook's Illustrated, frozen cheeses can last up to two months when wrapped in parchment paper and aluminum foil, although they're even better when vacuum-sealed. However, not all cheeses are created equal, and some are best left in the fridge. Real Simple explains that soft types, like Brie, have more fat and water than hard varieties and can turn into a watery mess when defrosted. Healthline further illustrates that while freezing doesn't affect the nutrients in cheese, it allows ice crystals to form inside the block, which releases water when thawed and can completely alter the consistency. They list paneer, queso fresco, ricotta, and more as some of the worst types to freeze.

So what can you freeze? If your cheddar, Colby, or gouda blocks are about to go bad, you're in luck, as hard varieties like these hold up fairly well once frozen. Also, according to Allrecipes, you'll get the most out of frozen cheeses if you use them in recipes where they're cooked, such as grilled cheese, as opposed to thawing them for a charcuterie board. There are optimal ways to freeze different types, too — Taste of Home recommends separating deli-sliced cheese with parchment paper and removing air from a plastic bag when using it for freshly-grated cheese. And when in doubt, buy this produce in small quantities so you can always consume it fresh at peak quality.