What Happens to Shredded Cheese If Left Out Overnight?

You absolutely love cheese. And you totally hate the thought of throwing away seemingly perfect shredded cheese that’s been sitting out overnight. So, should you toss it into your mouth or into the bin?

Leaving shredded cheese out overnight causes it to sweat due to the separation of its solid and liquid components. It dries out afterward. In some instances, shredded cheese left out overnight becomes dark and crusty. Shredded cheese that looks, smells and tastes moldy should no longer be consumed.

Shredded cheese makes enjoying cheese quicker and easier. But it can also quickly and easily give you all sorts of nasty digestive symptoms if it happens to be bad already.

Read on to become a pro in telling whether you should give shredded cheese a go or the boot.

shredded cheese

Is Sweaty Shredded Cheese Bad?

Sweaty shredded cheese isn’t bad. However, it no longer looks as appetizing as when it’s fresh from the grocery store. Sweaty shredded cheese may no longer be as flavorsome, too. Shredded cheese sweats when it’s exposed to heat, which causes the butterfat content to separate from the solid components.

Room and high temperatures — these are the things that can make shredded cheese wet and clumpy.

When serving cheese, shredded or otherwise, it’s a good idea to allow it to come to room temperature first.

This helps bring out the best flavors that everyone loves about cheese. As a general rule of thumb, you should take cheese out of the refrigerator 20 to 30 minutes prior to serving it.

Allowing it to sit out longer will cause its butterfat content to turn from solid into liquid, which usually takes place at around 90°F (32°C) — the higher the temperature gets, the sweatier cheese becomes.

Refrain from throwing out sweaty shredded cheese as it’s still fit for consumption, albeit less appetizing and flavorsome.

If you can see moisture on shredded cheese, it means that it has started sweating not too long ago. If it’s been sweating for a long time already, it will be dry and crusty. And, in some instances, it might also appear dark.

However, just because shredded cheese looks wet doesn’t mean right away that it’s sweating.

Just took it out from the refrigerator and the weather is kind of warm and sunshiny? Chances are that shredded cheese isn’t sweating — it’s just causing moisture in the air to condense on it because it’s cold.

How To Stop Shredded Cheese From Sweating

Storing shredded cheese in the refrigerator will keep it from sweating. Unfortunately, the process of sweating cannot be reversed. However, it can be put to a halt, thus keeping shredded cheese from sweating out more of its butterfat content. Sweat on shredded cheese may be blotted out with a paper towel.

There is only one way to prevent shredded cheese from sweating and ending up soggy. And it’s none other than storing it at temperatures between 40°F and 53°F (4°C to 12°C) — most refrigerators are colder.

So, in other words, keeping shredded cheese in the fridge can keep unwanted sweating at bay.

Noticing some sweat on shredded cheese that’s been sitting on the countertop for a while now? Sadly, there is nothing you can do to make shredded cheese reabsorb the liquid it has sweated out and thus restore its full flavor. But fret not as you can always keep shredded cheese from sweating even more.

Armed with a paper towel, blot out any sweat you can spot on shredded cheese. Afterward, either serve shredded cheese right away or store it in the fridge.

Unfortunately, even if you succeed in keeping shredded cheese from sweating further, the fact remains that it will no longer be as good to look at and as nice to munch on as before — it will depend on how much butterfat the dairy product has sweated out and how effective the manufacturer’s choice of anti-caking agent is.

Why is Shredded Cheese in an Unopened Bag Wet?

The content of an unopened bag of shredded cheese could end up wet whether stored in the refrigerator or placed on the countertop. The moisture content of shredded cheese could condense, causing the product to become wet and even mushy in some spots. It doesn’t mean that shredded cheese has gone bad.

Refrain from assuming that shredded cheese in an unopened bag will stay pristine until the best by, best if used by or use by date printed on its packaging arrives.

Even if the bag of shredded cheese is unopened and thus airtight, it’s possible for its content to get moist.

grated cheese

This is most especially true if you purchased a bag of shredded cheese without a lot of unnecessary ingredients, like an anti-caking agent that helps prevent it from clumping up as a result of the presence of moisture. Shredded cheese with an anti-caking ingredient may not become clumpy, but it can still end up wet in the fridge.

Since the culprit is moisture, needless to say, keeping shredded cheese from coming into contact with excess moisture can help save you from ending up with a wet bag of shredded cheese.

To keep this dairy disaster from happening, it’s a good idea to transfer shredded cheese from its original packaging to a ziploc bag. Just see to it that you squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing the bag. You may also wrap shredded cheese in either aluminum foil or wax paper — many cheese lovers prefer the latter.

Can You Remove Mold From Shredded Cheese?

Moldy parts on a block of hard or semi-soft cheese can be cut away so that the rest can be consumed. Unfortunately, the same cannot be done on soft cheeses as well as shredded cheese with mold. If some areas of a bag of shredded cheese have mold, chances are that the rest of the content has mold, too.

Shredded cheese naturally contains water. Its moisture content can range anywhere from 30% to 45%, depending on what type of cheese it’s made of.

Cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella, Swiss — these are the kinds that are usually sold shredded.

And because shredded cheese has a high moisture content, it’s not unlikely for it to get moldy after some time. This is especially true if the product is stored improperly, such as in a hot and humid kitchen. The problem with mold in shredded cheese is that it can spread faster than mold on a block of hard or semi-soft cheese.

It’s for this reason why it’s a bad idea to try to get rid of moldy shredded cheese and consume the rest of the bag. If one portion looks like it has mold, throw everything away.

Consuming moldy shredded cheese can result in anything from a mild stomach ache to severe food poisoning symptoms — it will depend on the individual’s digestive and immune system. But because the consumption of cheese with mold could cause vomiting, diarrhea and even internal bleeding in some, don’t risk it.

Just Before You Use That Shredded Cheese Left Out Overnight

Before you attempt to consume shredded cheese that’s been left out overnight, do what you would at street corners and railroad crossings: stop, look and listen.

Stop adding that shredded cheese to your sandwich, pasta or salad, look if it’s sweaty, dry or moldy, and listen to what your senses are telling you after observing, smelling and tasting it.

Why do some people say shredded cheese is less healthy?

Some shredded cheese manufacturers add powdered cellulose to their products. Usually obtained from wood pulp, cellulose serves as an anti-caking agent, which means that it keeps shredded cheese from clumping. Powdered cellulose increases the carbohydrate content of shredded cheese.

Why does shredded cheese smell like sweaty feet?

According to scientists, bacteria used to ripen many types of cheese also live on the human body and feed on dead skin cells, giving off gas that has a distinctive cheese smell in the process. As a matter of fact, scientists have made cheeses with bacteria from various areas of the human body.

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