If you happen to buy a large block of Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano), you may wonder if Parmesan cheese goes bad and how long Parmesan cheese lasts.
Basically, this hard Italian cheese has a long shelf life when stored properly. It can’t last forever, but you should try your best to prolong this moment as much as possible. Let’s see.
Is parmesan cheese bad?
Thanks to reduced moisture levels, hard Parmesan cheese has less mold growth, and you can keep it longer than soft varieties. Basically, its shelf life varies depending on the cheese’s age and storage method.
The best thing is that you can use this cheese, even if its small surface is sloped, by cutting the affected area. Keep in mind that this is not the same as grated parmesan cheese. It has a short shelf life, and mold can be difficult to remove.
Once your light beige cheese turns yellow, smells strange, or feels moldy, you can be sure something is wrong. A sign of spoiled shredded cheese is its wet, spongy texture. In such a case, you should throw it away to avoid possible food poisoning.
How long does parmesan cheese last?
Like most hard cheeses, Parmesan can last a long time. You can store an unopened package in the refrigerator for 7 to 9 months. Don’t worry about the ‘use by’ date on the label as this product can last for weeks after that point.
An open package usually maintains its best quality for up to two months when stored in the refrigerator. Grated Parmesan goes down quickly, but it will be edible at least one week after the expiration date printed on the label. However, you should use shredded or shredded cheese in an open refrigerator within seven days.
6 Tips to Tell If Parmesan Cheese Has Spoiled
When it comes to hard cheeses, including Parmesan, the presence of mold spots is often harmless. After you see them, use a knife to scrape away about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of changes around the affected surface and around them. Take care to avoid contact between the knife and the mold to avoid contaminating the rest of the piece.
The rest is completely edible without any problems. Unfortunately, you should throw away the cheese when mold covers most of its surface. When mold completely covers the grated cheese, it often contaminates more than you can see. In such a case, the best option is to discard the remaining cheese.
The parmesan rind is usually darker than the rest of the block, and many people, including me, prefer to eat the tough part. Once the color turns dark yellow or gray, you should avoid using such cheese.
Grated Parmesan is always white to light gray in color. Once it turns yellow or dark gray, you should consider the piece bad.
Once Parmesan has gone bad, you’ll recognize a distinctive smell as a sure sign that the cheese is no longer edible. Depending on the cause of the spoilage, you may notice a musty, sour or pungent smell.
The best way to tell if grated parmesan has gone bad is to check its texture. Once it feels wet and squishy to the touch, it’s time to get rid of the whole package.
Note that grated Parmesan may dry out over time, but this will not affect its quality. However, it will be delicious if you melt it into your prepared dish.
When you notice that your cheese has a foul or sour taste, you should throw it away without thinking twice.
When you store Parmesan in a high humidity area, it will freeze after a while. One solution to prevent clumping is to add uncooked grains of rice to the jar with grated cheese to absorb excess moisture.
Avoid putting the rice directly into the jar as this can be a problem once you decide to remove the cheese. The best option is to put the rice in a cheesecloth bag and add it to the cheese-filled jar.
How to Store Parmesan Cheese Longer
Parmesan has a long shelf life, but the method of storage affects its condition and longevity. Let’s look at your options:
- Block – Store Parmesan chunks in the refrigerator at 39 to 46 F (4 – 8 C). Because it needs to breathe, you should wrap it properly, including:
Wrap large pieces of cheese weighing at least 2 to 3 pounds (0.9 – 1.4 kg) in a slightly damp paper towel. Then, put a layer of aluminum foil on it.
When you want to keep the best taste and texture of cheese, you should wrap it in parchment paper. It is best to wrap the package in plastic wrap or foil for extra protection from absorbing odors from the refrigerator.
Wrap the cheese in butcher paper or wax paper before refrigerating.
Place the block in a zipper lock bag but be sure to get rid of the air before placing it in the refrigerator.
It is possible to wrap the cheese in plastic wrap, but it will taste distinctly sour after a while.
No matter which method you choose, be sure to change the wrapping periodically when storing the cheese for more than 5 to 7 days.
- Veg – Always refrigerate at 39 to 46 F (4 – 8 C). Remove the right wrapping material to prevent drying and allow the Parmesan to breathe. Wrap it in breathable plastic wrap, cheese paper, or parchment paper, but avoid plastic bags.
- Grated – Store this parmesan in the original container whenever possible. Never keep it out of the fridge for more than two hours. When you want to store the cheese you’ve grated yourself, put it in a reusable container.
It is possible to store Parmesan in the freezer to extend its shelf life. Place it in an airtight container or freezer bag, seal it tightly, and store it for a few months. Always take care to remove as much air as possible.
Sometimes, exposing Parmesan to too much air will cause it to change color. It may turn white, and the crust starts to thicken. If this happens to you, try reviving the cheese by soaking it in water and wrapping the piece.
Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight until moist. Then, wrap it in new plastic wrap and refrigerate as usual.
The Danger of Using Expired Parmesan Cheese
Fortunately, properly stored Parmesan will last longer and won’t spoil as quickly. Once it’s broken, you can see it. Its taste, color and smell are usually clear signs that something is wrong.
When you see mold, you can cut it off and continue using the cheese without any problems. Unlike other foods, spores do not spread beyond the surface of Parmesan.
Keep in mind that you may see different molds on your cheese. Some of these are harmless, while others can cause respiratory problems or allergies. When you eat cheese with molds that produce dangerous mycotoxins, it will make you sick.
Also, molds sometimes contain harmful bacteria, including:
- In such a case, this product will cause food poisoning, followed by abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea.
Can You Freeze Parmesan Cheese?
Because Parmesan blocks and wedges have a long shelf life, they don’t need to be refrigerated. Shredded cheese, on the other hand, can only last 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator, and you should freeze it to keep it edible longer when necessary. The process includes:
Grind the leftovers
Pack them in a freezer bag or airtight container.
Unfortunately, low temperatures will reduce the quality of the cheese, and it will lose its normal texture and flavor and begin to break down. So you shouldn’t eat parmesan like this, but you can use it to make casseroles, sauces, and soups.
Never thaw the entire package, but take only the amount of cheese needed for a particular meal and return the rest to the freezer.
Parmesan is a nearly lactose-free hard cheese with a long shelf life when properly stored. Storage method depends on the type of use and packing method. The best option is to refrigerate the package, but you can also freeze the cheese when you plan to use it for soups, pizza toppings, and pasta.