The king of Italian cheese — this is what parmesan cheese is often called. Due to this, it deserves the royal treatment. This is especially true when it comes to storing it. Authentic parmesan cheese doesn’t come with a cheap price tag. It can be upsetting to see it go to waste just because you made the mistake of storing it improperly.
A parmesan cheese wheel or wedge should be wrapped in parchment paper and aluminum foil, and kept in the fridge. Powdered or grated parmesan cheese should be stored as it’s stored at the supermarket. Refrigerate if it’s displayed in the fridge. Place in the pantry if it’s displayed on a shelf.
If you are on the hunt for the correct way to store parmesan cheese, look no further. Below are some of the steps that you need to take to keep it from going bad.
Different forms of parmesan cheese require different storage methods. It’s important to know all of them, especially if you are a massive fan of this hard cheese and you love getting it in its various forms.
After reading this article, you will have the parmesan cheese-storing skills of a seasoned cheesemonger!
Parmesan Cheese vs. Parmigiano-Reggiano
Before we answer pressing questions such as “how long can you store parmesan cheese?” or “can parmesan cheese be stored at room temperature?” let us first answer a question that a lot of people are too embarrassed to ask.
And it’s none other than “what is the difference between parmesan cheese and Parmigiano-Reggiano?”
They are one and the same. Well, at least in some instances.
Here’s the deal: Parmigiano-Reggiano is parmesan cheese, but parmesan cheese may or may not be Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Put simply, Parmigiano-Reggiano is authentic parmesan cheese. It’s so authentic that it can only come from Italy.
What’s more, to be considered as Parmigiano-Reggiano, the product has to meet certain things that the Italian law requires to keep the integrity of traditional Italian food products, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, intact.
For parmesan cheese to have the honor to be regarded as Parmigiano-Reggiano, it has to be:
- Produced in the Italian provinces of Parma, Reggio-Emilia, Modena, Bologna or Mantua.
- Made from nothing but unpasteurized cow’s milk.
- Produced between April 15 and November 11 to make sure that the milk is from cows eating fresh grass.
- Shaped into a 66-pound or 88-pound wheel, and aged for no less than 14 months.
- Stamped with details such as when and where it was made, and of course “Parmigiano-Reggiano”.
In the US and elsewhere on the planet, Parmigiano-Reggiano is usually known as parmesan cheese.
However, refrain from assuming that all parmesan cheeses in the market can be considered as Parmigiano-Reggiano. If the product you’re about to buy does not meet all of the guidelines above, then it’s not Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Most parmesan cheeses out there may not be Parmigiano-Reggiano alright, but many of them can come very close to the real deal. It’s just a matter of choosing the right brand or maker.
However, no matter if the parmesan cheese that you have in your kitchen is authentic or fake, it still needs to be stored in the right way.
Otherwise, it will lose its qualities that many people love about it in just a matter of days or weeks. Improperly storing it may also cause mold to form.
Don’t stop reading now to know how you can keep parmesan cheese in excellent shape for a long time.
Storing Different Forms of Parmesan Cheese
If you love parmesan cheese, you will be more than delighted to know that it comes in an assortment of forms. This only means that there is one available for every need and shopping budget.
Regardless of the form, it’s of utmost importance that you store parmesan cheese correctly. Different ones require slightly different storage needs — some of them are more challenging to store than the rest.
The following are the proper ways to store different parmesan cheese forms.
How to Store Parmesan Cheese Wheel
Are you aware that an unsliced cheese wheel that is waxed can last for more than 25 years? This is especially true if it’s stored under the right conditions. Once sliced, its shelf life begins to shorten significantly.
Unfortunately, not all cheese wheels are waxed.
One very good example is a wheel of parmesan cheese. It’s true that it has a rind. While it’s hard just like wax, it’s not wax.
As a matter of fact, unlike wax, you can eat it — the rind is just parmesan cheese exposed to the elements. Like wax, it offers some sort of protection.
Especially if your parmesan cheese wheel is massive and the real thing, too, chances are that you have shelled out more than a whopping $1,000 just to get your hands on it.
This is why it’s a must that you store it in the right manner. Otherwise, it is very much likely that you will fail to make the most out of your expensive investment.
When shopping, you will come across parmesan cheese wheels that are vacuum-packed. They are also usually stored at room temperature. That’s okay as this will not harm them.
The wheel of parmesan cheese that you bring home, however, should be kept in the refrigerator. This is to make sure that all of its fantastic characteristics will be preserved.
Yes, even if the parmesan cheese wheel is unopened, it is a good idea to keep it in the refrigerator once purchased.
It’s a completely different story if you open the wheel of parmesan cheese or slice it.
How to Store Cut or Unpacked Parmesan Cheese Wheel
As soon as you open a vacuum-packed parmesan cheese wheel, it will begin to slowly lose some of the characteristics that make it worthy of being dubbed as the king of Italian cheese.
The entire process becomes faster as soon as you slice the wheel of parmesan cheese. To slow it down, it’s a must that you store it properly.
Your family member or friend may recommend placing in a ziploc bag or wrapping in cling wrap the opened or sliced parmesan cheese before placing it in the refrigerator. However, experts will strongly disagree.
The problem with placing or wrapping in plastic the wheel of parmesan cheese after opening or slicing it is that it can prevent the cheese from breathing. This can cause moisture to collect within.
It’s no secret that moisture and most dairy products do not mix. When they do, it’s very much likely for mold to form. (Later, we will talk about what you should do when mold forms, so don’t stop reading now.)
It’s because of this exactly why it is not a good idea to place or wrap a wheel of opened or sliced parmesan cheese in plastic. Instead of wrapping it in cling wrap, you should wrap it in parchment paper.
Worry not if you do not have parchment paper around. Wax paper is also good as a wrapping material.
After wrapping the wheel in parchment paper, you should wrap it in aluminum foil. This will protect the product from the frigid environment inside the refrigerator while still allowing it to breathe.
In addition, aluminum foil will help lower the risk of the parmesan cheese wheel absorbing the odors of other food items, which will certainly make it less delightful to consume.
But to be safe, stash the properly wrapped wheel of parmesan cheese in the deli drawer. You may also place it in the crisper drawer at the bottom of the refrigerator.
But how long does parmesan cheese last in the fridge?
Because parmesan cheese is a hard type of cheese, it can last longer than soft cheeses. A wheel of parmesan cheese that’s opened or sliced but properly wrapped can last for around six weeks. On the other hand, a wheel that is still in its vacuum-packed can last anywhere from two to four months.
How to Store a Wedge of Parmesan Cheese
A wedge of parmesan cheese and a wheel of parmesan cheese wheel require pretty much the same storage. But because a parmesan cheese wedge is smaller and takes up less space in the fridge, storing it is easier.
Compared to a wheel, a wedge of parmesan cheese can go bad faster.
That’s because it can be more trouble-free for moisture and mold to wreak havoc on it. Due to this, you should take the necessary steps without delay. It’s also a must that you carry them out as properly as you possibly can.
Just like when storing a parmesan cheese wheel the right way, you should wrap a parmesan cheese wedge in parchment paper. Afterward, it should be wrapped in aluminum foil.
Because it can be easier for a wedge of parmesan cheese to go past its prime than a wheel of parmesan cheese, make sure that every side and corner is sealed.
Stash properly wrapped parmesan cheese wedge in the deli or crisper drawer where the temperature is just right and far away from food products that may lend their smell to parmesan cheese.
After grating the wedge or slicing a piece from it, remember to wrap it right away and properly, too. Place it back inside the refrigerator without delay to keep it out of harm’s way.
By the way, vacuum-packed parmesan cheese wedges are available at most supermarkets.
Once you get home, immediately put the product inside the refrigerator. And if you have opened it, you may keep it in its packaging, but wrap it very well in aluminum foil before placing it in the fridge.
How to Store Parmesan Cheese Powder
Powdered, shredded, grated — these parmesan cheese forms available at supermarkets can help you save a great deal of time.
They also help you save money as they eliminate the need to buy a gigantic parmesan wedge or wheel, a huge portion of which you might not use or need.
When shopping for these forms of parmesan cheese, you will come across refrigerated and unrefrigerated variants.
There is no need to carefully inspect the label to know whether the parmesan cheese product that you are about to place in your shopping cart is refrigerated or unrefrigerated.
All you have to do is take note of how they are stored at the supermarket. It’s refrigerated if it’s in the refrigerator, and it’s unrefrigerated if it’s on the shelf.
Properly storing supermarket-bought powdered, shredded or grated parmesan cheese isn’t that tricky. All you have to do is store it at home as it was stored at the supermarket. Just do the same, and you’re golden!
Something that is refrigerated should be stored in the fridge.
It doesn’t matter if it’s unopened or opened. Usually, the best-by date of unopened refrigerated powdered, shredded or grated parmesan cheese is a little over a week.
Something that’s been opened has a best-by date that ranges anywhere from three to seven days.
Can you store parmesan cheese in the cupboard?
You certainly can, provided that it’s the unrefrigerated powdered, grated, or shredded variant. It’s a good idea to store it in the driest and coolest spot in your kitchen or pantry. The product will stay in pristine shape that way for up to a month or more.
No matter the type of cheese, molding is a problem that may strike as a result of improper storage.
Compared to a parmesan cheese wheel or slice, parmesan cheese that’s powdered, shredded, or grated is more prone to molding. That’s because more surface areas are exposed to the elements.
And that’s why if you are on the hunt for tips on how to keep powdered, shredded, or grated parmesan cheese from molding, just follow the tips above.
Dealing With Dryness and Molding Properly
There are a couple of reasons why it’s important for parmesan cheese, no matter the form, to be stored correctly. One is to keep it from drying and thus losing its characteristics. The other is to keep it from molding.
No matter if the issue is dryness or molding, worry not as there is a solution!
How to Get Rid of Parmesan Cheese Dryness
When it’s dry, parmesan cheese is no longer as enjoyable to consume as parmesan cheese that’s fresh from the store. It can suffer from dryness if it’s not stored properly. The same is true if it’s way past the best-by date.
A wedge of parmesan cheese is more susceptible to becoming dry. With more surface area exposed to the elements, it tends to lose moisture quicker.
The good news is that it is fairly easy to deal with this problem. Yes, there is no need to throw away a dried out wedge of parmesan cheese and say bye-bye to your money.
To get started in the quest to vanquish parmesan cheese dryness, soak a piece of cheesecloth in water. A kitchen towel will also do. No matter which of the two you use, wring out excess water.
Wrap the dry wedge of parmesan cheese in it. Afterward, wrap it in cling wrap.
Place in the refrigerator overnight. The parmesan cheese wedge will be restored to its former glory the next day. In other words, you can use it as you deem fit all over again. Just remember to properly store it this time (wrapping it in parchment paper and aluminum foil) to keep the same problem from happening all over again.
By the way, do not allow a wedge of parmesan cheese to be wrapped in a wet cheesecloth or kitchen towel for more than 24 hours. Otherwise, it will become soggy and even moldy.
Speaking of which, continue reading to learn how to deal with parmesan cheese mold.
How to Get Rid of Parmesan Cheese Molding
Failure to properly store a wheel or wedge of parmesan cheese can cause mold to form without any trouble. This is especially true if it’s placed in an area in the kitchen where it’s hot and humid. The product may also mold inside the fridge if it’s not wrapped in the way discussed above.
Luckily, parmesan cheese is a hard type of cheese. This means that when mold shows up, the surface is the only one that is affected. The hardness of parmesan cheese helps keep mold from forming below the surface.
Because of this, there is no need to panic when you see some mold spots on a wheel or wedge of parmesan cheese. All you have to do is remove the affected part or parts with a knife or spoon, and you can eat or store your parmesan cheese once again — no need to dispose of that pricey king of Italian cheese!
Unfortunately, it is a completely different story if mold appears on powdered, shredded or grated parmesan cheese. The solution is not to scoop out the moldy clumps. What you need to do is throw away the product.
There are different types of mold out there.
Some of them won’t harm you, while others may kill you. Since it’s hard to tell which mold has formed on your parmesan cheese, it’s not a good idea to risk it. The best step to take is to get rid of it ASAP before it ends up in your mouth or that of someone you love.
What could happen if you accidentally eat moldy powdered, shredded or grated parmesan cheese?
If you’re lucky, nothing will happen.
But if you’re unlucky, you may have an upset stomach. You may also experience nausea and vomiting. If you’re really unlucky, you may end up in a hospital due to organ failure.
Just Before You Store Parmesan Cheese
Refrain from assuming that parmesan cheese is hard-wearing just because it’s a hard type of cheese. Failure to store it properly can result in your costly purchase going bad in a matter of days or weeks.
Especially if you cannot consume the dairy product quickly, it’s a must that you store it the right way.
Different forms of parmesan cheese require different storage methods. By following the tips above, you can have peace of mind that your parmesan cheese, no matter the form, can be around for a long time for your enjoyment.