Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cheese Storage: An Experiment

We LOVE cheese at our house. All sorts of cheese. From fresh to bleu to crumbly to stinky. And you shouldn't laugh. This is not a bad Wisconsin dairy joke.

I really love the feeling of buying a chunk of artisan cheese, and bringing it home in its pretty cheese paper. I swear it lasts longer that way, and I get a great deal of enjoyment from taking it out of the fridge, uncrinkling its packaging, and taking a nibble of something wonderful. For a long time, I figured that my obsession with the ritual of cheese buying and eating had more to do with my romanticism than anything. But, I am beginning to suspect it's based in a bit of fact.

A while back, I read about Formaticum cheese papers. Formaticum insists that cheese is a delicate food and when treated improperly, it will quickly deteriorate. Seems logical, no?

I do think that we tend to forget that cheese is a living organism. We wrap our chunks of delicious living cheese in plastic, and we place it in our refrigerators. Gradually, the cheese suffocates. We are often shocked when we come back to sad, crumbly, moldy pieces of cheese in the back of our cheese drawers. At best, it tastes a bit less like the lovely thing that it once was.

And so... I've decided to see if I can improve my own cheese storage practices. In addition to following the storage tips I found at Formaticum, I've ordered a packet of cheese papers today -- and so they should be arriving next week. I'll admit to feeling a bit giddy over the prospect of being able to wrap my lovely cheeses in Oregonian papers that promise to allow them the luxury of aging gracefully. I'll be sure to report back on my findings.

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  1. Okay, so I buy regular Tilamook Cheddar for my cheeseaholic kids. Its not a special cheese, per se. It comes in plastic. Should I then take it out of the plastic and wrap in the paper? Or is the wrapping just for the higher end/specialty cheeses that I don't share w/ the little people in the house?!

    Also about sprouting grains, I have some info about it on my blog under "Posts you dont want to miss" or something like that. :)

  2. I am going to suspect that the paper might increase the longevity of what I'm going to term "everyday" cheeses. But, I'm not completely sure.

    At $0.50/sheet(US), I'm tempted to stick with my regular methods of storage with commercial cheeses... and use this for specialty bits. But, maybe I'll experiment and let you know.

    Thanks for the info on sprouts!!

  3. So this post just made me really hungry for cheese :) But I think 8am might be too early for a big hunk of cheddar... or maybe not?

    That's interesting- I just figured that cheese was pretty hardy and never considered improper storage, but that does make sense. Please let us know if the papers really do keep the cheese fresher!

  4. Hi Heatherbakes, Part of what I teach (as a nutrition educator) is to think outside of meal association. Why would cheese be okay for lunch but not breakfast? If your body can tolerate cheese, then go ahead and it in the morning. You need to start the day with protein and fat to get your body and brain going. I think cheese fits that bill perfectly!


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