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Block of Parmesan Cheese

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Need some info on this. I have a block of Parmesan left over from a previous recipe. Whats the best way to store it?
Grate it all up and keep in airtight bottle in fridge?
Ziplok bag in the fridge?
Vacuum seal and store in the fridge? Block or grated?
:confused:
post #2 of 28
Why would you even consider pre-grating it? That's a sure-fire way to have it dry out.

I don't know if it's the best way, but I just slip the block into a ziplock and store it in the fridge---basically how I keep all my cheeses once they're started.
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
I have always bought a bottle of pre-grated cheese. Parmasan or Romano. Always pre-grated. A block of parmasan is new to me. Don't know how to store it.
post #4 of 28
I buy parmesan at a great italian deli around here. I usually have them grate it for me because I like how finely they grate it - like a powder. I then place it in a plastic container and store in the freezer. Oddly enough when it is very finely grated it does not freeze. I can take it out of the freezer at serving time and it is not clumped or anything.

If I have a left over block of cheese that I wasn't going to use right away I'd put in a ziploc bag and store in the freezer. Otherwise it keeps in the fridge for a while.

Don't forget to keep the rind. I add it to soups and stock for risotto.

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post #5 of 28
I have heard that you are supposed to wrap in parchment paper and then foil for the longest life. I buy huge blocks of cheese for my pizza making, and I just put them in a zip loc. I use it fast enough so it doesn't go bad. Zip loc is probably just fine as long as you are going to use it sometime soon.
post #6 of 28
To buy it pre grated is a sin, as soon as its grated it starts to lose flavor as well as aroma. To store it grated is ok for a while making sure it stays dry or it will mold. I prefer putting it in a plastic bag and then getting as much air as possible out of bag then store in a fridg that maintains a steady temperature of 38 to 40 F. It can also be frozen which iI have found does not affect quality that much. chefed
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post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
Freezing seems to be the most popular so far. So... will freezing, using what I need, re-freezing, using what I need, re-freezing again... will this ruin the block?
post #8 of 28
Nope.

I have been freezing, using what I need and refreezing my blocks of Parmesan for years. The only real down side is you cannot make nice slivers with the frozen stuff.

When I need parmesan I slice a section off the frozen block and grate in my handy hand held hard cheese grater. The taste is not lost (very little if any lost). You can even still make cheese <tuile> or tiles if you want.

Luc H
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post #9 of 28
Before you freeze it, cut it into smaller pieces so you wont have to thaw the whole thing.
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post #10 of 28
what would happen if you tried freezing Parmesan cheese without removing all the air possible? would it affect flavour and aroma?
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post #11 of 28
I have a FoodSaver vacuum sealing system. I rarely have moldy cheese now. I have a block of Grana Padano in the fridge that I bought in April. It has no mold on it. I try not to handle it with bare hands, as I feel that would transfer substances that would make the cheese spoil faster. I put a plastic sandwich bag on my hand to hold the cheese while grating it.

I don't freeze cheese often, but I would only freeze it if I vacuum sealed it.
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post #12 of 28
Never pregrate, and never freeze. While Parmigiano withstands freezing better than most cheese, you are turning a $20 hunk of heaven into a $10 piece of cheese that has little to do with what the the craft and tradition behind parmigiano intended. Freezing cheese ALWAYS affects texture. It will get moisture pockets, and can absorb off-flavours. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, keep it cold, change the wrap every time you use it and it will last a long time in your fridge. No need to freeze, I promise! Besides, how long can a good piece of parm last in anyone's fridge?? :D
post #13 of 28
I've been advised never to store any cheese in plastic of any kind. It needs to breath, not sweat. Wrap in greasproof paper or parchment and buy just as much as you need. I stand by that.
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post #14 of 28
Repeated freezing/thawing is usually not the best practice with anything. Why not cut the block into smaller blocks with each block being the amount you'd anticipate to use in each cooking and take out one smaller block at a time as needed?
post #15 of 28
Many years ago we bought a nice Rubbermaid or Tupperware or some such brand cheese storage box, a tightly sealable plastic thing. What a waste! The first few days we had various bits of cheese in there it was sweating, getting gooey and all starting to smell bad. I imagine it might be better if all you buy is the common plastic wrapped blocks of pastuerized, processed, cheese like food product, they might be more adaptable to such an environment.

It does seem like harder, drier grating cheeses like parm can handle being wrapped more tightly in plastic bags. I have a small wedge I bought about two weeks ago that I keep in a plastic sandwich bag in the meat compartment of the fridge. For dinner tonight I got too lazy to brine and grill some pork loin I had planned on doing, guess I'll do that tomorrow. So I boiled up a pot of pasta topped with nothing but butter, garlic and a nice pile of that parm, freshly grated. If you have access to a market that sells small chunks of parm ,and you've always used pregrated, you owe it to your taste buds to try some freshly grated. That stuff in the green cardboard cans just can't compare to the real thing!

mjb.
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post #16 of 28
This is a very good idea ... FWIW, the local Whole Foods sells Reggiano rinds for a fairly hefty price.

scb
post #17 of 28
From the Parmigiano-Reggiano Consortium:

Storing informations - Parmigiano-Reggiano International

However, please note that the original poster did not say the cheese was Reggiano, just that it was Parmesan.

shel
post #18 of 28
I have a block of parm in the fridge thats 3 months old. No mold at all. I keep it in an over sized ziplock so it has some air. Tastes as good as the day I bought it.
post #19 of 28
I agree with the buy as much as you need part. However, you are only partially right about the parchment paper. Parchment should be used for soft ripened cheeses with rinds that require some oxygen. Hard cheeses are different. As soon as they are cut, they lose both flavour and aroma, and they lose it very quickly. In addition, they pick up whatever aromas are in your fridge before you can even pick them up yourself. For this reason, cut surfaces must be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap as soon as possible. A cheese like gruyere which is a washed rind firm cheese should have cut surfaces wrapped in plastic, and its rind left loosely exposed in parchment paper. This is because the rind is still alive and needs oxygen so as to not suffocate and denature. Parm rinds are alive too but they are sealed with the natural oils of the cheese and I've never had a problem with rinds going off when wrapped tightly. This is the accepted practice among cheese professionals and it's what I teach in my cheese curiculum.
post #20 of 28

Freeze Some of it and Keep some of it in the fridge, then you'll know!

 

Don't use plastic though, just greaseproof paper is fine.

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post #21 of 28

I buy blocks of Mozzarella and cut them into roughly 1   lb chunks, Vacuum seal them with my Vacuum sealer, and keep them in the freezer.  Years later, they still taste (once you thaw them out) as good as the day I bought them in unfrozen 5 lb blocks.

 

I also buy large quantities of P. Reggiano, some real goat Romano, and some blocks of Asiago.

 

I have a secret combination by weight and grind them all up in the Robot Coupe.

 

Then I weigh them in 1 lb packages and vacuum seal them too (always dating them so I use up the oldest in the freezer first).

 

Its kind of funny how sucking the air out of the bag kind of makes them back into blocks, but once they thaw a little bit in the fridge, they taste and smell exactly as fresh as the original aroma the had when I robot couped them!

 

Been doing it for years, and with no oxygen trapped in the bags, I've never had one go bad or moldy on me even years later when I discover them down at the bottom of the freezer in the garage.

 

I'm pretty picky about taste and wouldn't think of doing this if I detected any degradation in flavor.

 

doc

post #22 of 28

Anneke seems onto it....

 

Poorman's vac packer...dip your ziplock bag into a container of water to force out the air before sealing...

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post #23 of 28

Aaaarghhh.... never, ever pre-grate any cheese. That's a sure way to have it lose all its flavor and start molding.

 

I store my block of parm in a zip lock, trying to get as much air out as possible (usually just by pressing on the bag with my hands, if I feel thorough by swallowing the air left through the opening with my mouth, like I do before I freeze stuff) and keep it in the fridge. I believe if you want to go the extra mile you should wrap the block in cheese paper or parchment paper, but then it's strongly suggested to use new parchment paper every time you use the cheese (so bacteria don't accumulate). Personally I haven't found it necessary.

 

It keeps in the fridge for a very, very long time. No mold.

post #24 of 28

Pre-grated cheese from the store - yuk.  What do they put onto it to make it taste so bad?  Sure, great (pun intended) if its an emergency, but how long really does it take to grate some cheese from fresh?

 

I'll sometimes do too much so I'll put it in a zip-lock and do it the poorman's way as above or such the air out by mouth (I'm just too cheap to buy a vac or an air pump, and this is only for home).   Freezes well and you can grab what you want when you want it.  As long as it is fresh grated, it tastes fine.

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post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by DC Sunshine View Post

Pre-grated cheese from the store - yuk.  What do they put onto it to make it taste so bad?

 

Nothing, it's been grated and allowed to dehydrate so it doesn't clump up in the bag. That's why it tastes like caca and won't melt properly. Just like it has been said above, never pre-grate a cheese, it loses flavor.
 

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post #26 of 28

The original vac packing (cryovac or visking)) was done with a heavy duty shop vac . You can do it home with a heavy plastic bag and your vac cleaner. The trick get as much air out as possible. It is extremely difficult for things to oxidize or go bad without oxygen present.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #27 of 28

Just freeze it - you won't have to worry about how long you've had it or when it will go bad. When I need some I break a wedge off with a knife and grate it frozen - the high fat content of cheese prevents it from freezing into a rock hard block and it thaws very quickly.

post #28 of 28

Kinda coincidental, but I found a small wedge of forlorn/forgotten parm/rommano WAY in the back of fridge just a few days ago.  Not even gonna say how LONG it had been missed!?!  It was HARD, but not moldy... never even opened!  Being very frugal, couldn't just toss it.  Figured I really didn't have anything to lose, so used grater disk on food processor.  FP wasn't real happy with the hardness of the cheese (had to do a lot of short pulses) but I was no patient enough to hand grate it.  Tastes fine.

 

As for freezing... gonna do that next time I buy a chunk.  Don't think I'll even worry about cutting off a piece to grate or thawing.  Bet it'll grate just fine frozen.

 

And on high prices at Whole Foods for rinds... pretty much ALL their stuff is high... IMO!?!

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