If you are someone that likes to cook often then you probably use a lot of cheese. I mean how can anyone blame you? Cheese is a great addition to any dish. Pasta, pizza, sandwiches, burgers, salads, you name it. However, sometimes a small amount of cheese can remain and you don’t know what to do with it. Throwing it away is simply not an option, but you know that if you leave it in the fridge it will probably go bad. In that moment you probably think to yourself, can cheese be frozen? Most foods can be frozen so why not cheese? However, you also might fear that if you freeze it, its flavor and texture might change. Will it lose that delicious salty flavor and become bland? If you want to learn if this is going to happen or not, just keep on reading!
How freezing affects cheese
So can cheese be frozen? Yes, it can. Like most foods found in your house, cheese can also be frozen. But now that you know this you might also wonder how freezing affects cheese. Unfortunately, even though freezing cheese doesn’t diminish its nutrients, it still changes its flavor and texture. Depending on the amount of moisture found in different cheeses, they freeze at different temperatures. More water means that the cheese can freeze at higher temperatures, and vice versa, less water means that the cheese needs lower temperatures in order to freeze.
Freezing cheese results in the formation of ice crystals inside it. Later when you are thawing it, these ice crystals turn to water and together with all the moisture that was already there, leave the cheese. This means that freezing your cheese will dry it out and make it crumbly. Furthermore, freezing your cheese will deactivate any microbes found in it. These microbes are usually mold, bacteria and yeast. By doing so, the shelf life of your cheese is extended. Later when you thaw it these microbes may or may not become active again. If your cheese is still not ripe and you freeze it then you might damage the microbes added to it and prevent it from properly ripening. The end result will be cheese with different quality than the one you bought.
Best and worst cheeses to freeze
Now that we answered can cheese be frozen positively, you probably want to know what are the best and worst cheeses to freeze? It is widely known that cheeses that are not meant for eating fresh but rather for cooking, are the ones that are the least affected by freezing. Hard cheeses are better for freezing than soft cheeses. However, this doesn’t mean that the freezing process won’t affect them. Some of them may change their texture and become all dry and crumbly. Slicing them can be a real bother. Semi soft cheeses can also be frozen. Cheeses most suitable for freezing are: Pizza cheese, Edam, Colby, Mozzarella, Gouda, Swiss, Limburger, Cheddar, Provolone, Monterrey Jack, etc.
Even though these cheeses are more suitable for freezing than others, we can’t guarantee that they won’t change their texture or flavor. That’s why the usual practice for frozen cheese is to use it while cooking. That way you won’t have to be annoyed if its texture has changed.
Even though the previously mentioned cheeses might change their texture and flavor upon freezing, they won’t do it to an extent that the next ones will.
Even though romano and parmesan are hard cheeses and we previously said that they are more suitable for freezing, it is better if you keep these two in your refrigerator. They won’t go bad for a year. Special cheeses that are not bought every day and that have very powerful and distinctive flavor also shouldn’t be frozen. If you want to enjoy some of these more fancy cheeses, we recommend buying them in smaller portions and eating them fresh. There is no point in spending a large amount of money for cheese only to later freeze it and destroy its flavor. Cheeses like blue cheese that are made with mold also shouldn’t be frozen. You can easily damage the mold and with that – its flavor. So all in all, the worst cheeses for freezing are: Romano, Brie, Ricotta, Processed cheese, Camembert, Queso fresco, Parmesan, Paneer, Cottage cheese, etc.
How to freeze cheese
Now that you got your answer for can cheese be frozen? – You probably want to know how to freeze cheese. Freezing cheese is not always our first choice, but even if we decide to do it we should know how to do it properly to ensure the least amount of quality loss. First of all divide the cheese into pieces that you are going to use at one time. For any big blocks of cheese make sure they do not weigh more than a pound. If they do, we recommend slicing the cheese or grating it before freezing. Wrap your cheese in foil if you do not have the original packaging. After that, place it in a container or a ziplock bag. That way no air will get into the cheese. After that you can freeze it and use it in the next 6 to 9 months.
All in all can cheese be frozen? Yes it can, but can we guarantee you no loss of quality? Unfortunately we can’t. Even though there are some foods that taste exactly the same after being frozen, cheese is not one of those foods. Even though some cheeses can endure the freezing process much better than others, most of them will have a different texture and even flavor. If you decide to freeze your cheese however, follow the instructions above. Choose one of the best cheeses for freezing, wrap it up nicely and freeze it for 6 to 9 months. Remember that you can only freeze it once. If you still have some cheese left you shouldn’t refreeze it by any means. This goes for other foods as well not just for cheese.