How long can you keep cheese before it goes off?

Dusty Baxter-Wright
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From Cosmopolitan

So you've devoured the Christmas cheeseboard and hope to be picking at the leftovers well into January 2019. But before you do, it's vital to know how long you can keep different cheeses before they go off for two reasons.

One), because you want to avoid waste as much as possible, and two), because it definitely gives you an excuse to buy more if you know you have a longer period to eat it.

It's important to know throwing away certain cheese at the first site of mouldy sides could mean wasting perfectly delicious cheese. So what are the rules about keeping cheese and which types last the longest?

Hard cheeses

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Examples: Parmesan, Cheddar, Grana Padano

Food website Tasting Table say unopened hard cheeses can last in the fridge for two to four months, and the freezer for up to eight months. Once opened, you should consume within six weeks.

Considering we can get through a pack of pecorino on pasta in 7 days, six weeks is more than enough leeway.

Semi-soft and semi-hard cheeses

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Examples: Gouda, Gruyere, Emmental and Edam

StillTasty, a shelf life guide, say semi-soft and semi-hard cheeses can last for up to three weeks once opened, or two months in the freezer if unopened - even if it's over its 'sell-by' or 'best by' date.

Even if the cheese has mould on it towards the end of the three weeks, it's still edible - just cut away at least one inch around the mould (without touching it) and re-cover the cheese in fresh wrap.

Soft cheeses

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Examples: Brie, Mozzarella, Feta, Gorgonzola

Because soft cheeses contain more moisture than hard cheeses, they won't last as long (even in the fridge), and so need to be consumed within two weeks of purchase.

Tasting Table say that although you can technically store soft cheese in the freezer, it would mean you lose the soft fluffy texture - and nobody wants that.

For the best results, keep soft cheeses in their unopened packaging until you are ready to use them, and then consume them as quickly as possible.

Now that is a challenge we're willing to accept.

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