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Storing Cheese

No matter what, do NOT put plastic wrap directly on your cheese? "Is she crazy" you ask? No. Plastic wrap suffocates a cheese just like it does any living thing. However, as you will see, there are a couple of situations in which plastic wrap should be used. Below are a few tips for storing your cheese and making it last. Before you read on, though, clear some room in the drawer of your refrigerator. That's where all your cheeses should be stored.

Fresh cheeses - Keep these cheeses in the plastic tubs they come in. If they come vacuum-sealed, as some fresh goat cheese does, just take it out of the plastic and put it in an airtight plastic container.

Semi-soft cheeses - Wrap these in waxed or parchment paper.

Soft-ripened cheeses (brie, camembert, or any white, bloomy-rind cheeses) - If the cheese comes in a box, leave it there until you're ready to open it. Once you do, transfer any uneaten portions of the cheese to a plate. Cover the cheese with waxed paper followed by plastic wrap. Put the whole thing in the drawer of the 'fridge.

Surface-ripened cheeses - firm style: Get out your airtight plastic container, poke a few holes in it, and put a small, slightly damp piece of wadded-up paper towel in the container to maintain a little humidity. Put the unwrapped cheese in the container and close it. Place it in the refrigerator drawer. Change the paper every couple of days.

Surface-ripened cheeses - creamy style: An airtight container is also a good for the creamy style of surface-ripened cheeses. Take the cheese out of its packaging (except St. Marcellin and St. Felicien, which come in their own ceramic or plastic crock), and put it in the container. Shut the lid and store it in the refrigerator drawer. No airtight containers on hand? Then put the cheese on a plate, wrap it in waxed paper followed by plastic wrap placed around it, and poke a few holes in it. Again, keep it in the drawer of your fridge or on the bottom shelf.

Semi-hard and hard cheeses - Since these cheeses have already lost quite a bit of moisture, to keep them from drying out further, wrap them with wax or parchment paper and then either foil or plastic wrap. Once again, store the cheese in the refrigerator drawer.

Blue cheeses - Blue cheeses are often sold in foil wrap. This is okay, but be sure to change the foil. The type used by cheese producers has a tendency to get a bit slimy if the cheese is a creamy style. If it is a harder style, follow the same procedure as you would for semi-hard and hard cheeses.

Washed rind cheeses - These are often sold in a wooden box. Keep these in that box and cover the box with plastic wrap without allowing the plastic to touch the surface of the cheese. If the cheese is not in a box, put it in an airtight container, such as an old cottage cheese carton, poke a couple of holes in it, and put it in the drawer. Or, if it's runny, follow the procedure for soft-ripened cheeses.