Use Butter To Prevent Cheese From Drying Out

If you're regularly finding chunks of dried-out cheese in the recesses of your fridge, we've got a hack to help keep your manchego, gouda, and cheddar fresh for longer. All you need to do is apply a thin layer of butter on the exposed surfaces of your cheese to reduce the risk of it drying out and boost its shelf life.

So how does a simple coating of butter stop cheese from becoming unpalatably crusty? Well, if cheese is left uncovered in the fridge, its surface can become hard and unappetizing to eat. This occurs because cheese loses moisture within the cold, dry environment. Butter hampers this process by forming a protective seal around the cheese, which significantly lessens moisture loss over time.

This trick is particularly useful if you prefer to have a variety of different cheeses on hand for meals, but aren't able to use each one before it goes bad. For example, a mature cheddar is perfect for an intense mac and cheese, whereas creamier fontina is ideal for a gooey pizza with an appetizing cheese pull. Frankly, the ability to store your cheese in a way that extends its lifespan can lead to more interesting meals, less food waste, and fewer dollars spent on groceries.

How to apply butter to cheese to increase its shelf life

This hack is easier to carry out if your butter is at room temperature before you begin, so consider taking it out of the fridge to allow it to warm up to a spreadable consistency. Softer butter will spread better over the cheese, after all, creating a seamless protective barrier on the surface with an even thickness across each side.

Unwrap your cheese and spread the softened butter over every exposed area, including the underside; the buttery layer should be visible but not excessive. Then place your cheese back into the wrapper, or re-wrap it in fresh parchment or wax paper (be sure to fold it well around the sides). You can also store your cheese in an airtight container if you prefer.

When you want to use your cheese in a recipe, simply cut off as much as you need, and scrape off the butter before using. However, you may want to leave the butter on the surface if you're going to shred it over pasta, lay it on crackers, or eat it as a snack alongside some crudité and fresh bread. Whatever you do, make sure you reapply more butter to the exposed edges of the cheese before returning the remainder to the fridge.