Is it OK to Freeze Cheese?
Many books say if you freeze cheese, it will not taste right after you thaw it out later. While in some cases this is certainly true, it can’t be said for all cheeses. The biggest complaint some people have when they freeze cheese is that it changes the texture of the cheese. Cheese is naturally moist, and when you freeze it, all the moisture freezes into tiny ice particles, which break up the perfect texture of the cheese.
Not all cheeses are created equally, especially when you’re talking about freezing them. Hard cheeses like cheddar or parmesan are less affected by the texture differences that happen while they’re frozen, although you can also safely freeze cheese that is fresh and soft. Fresh mozzarella or goat cheese can easily be saved for longer periods of time by freezing them. To freeze this kind of cheese, just wrap it tightly in its original packaging. If the original packaging is too damaged to cover the cheese properly, use plastic wrap instead. Some people would be shocked at the thought of trying to freeze cheese that came home fresh from the farmer’s market, but it’s much better to freeze it rather than let it go bad, right? Many people don’t even notice the texture difference in the cheese when they thaw it out.
Most kinds of block cheese can easily be frozen also, especially if you bought the cheap kind from a bulk food store like Sam’s Club or Costco. Just slice it into good portion sizes for your family and wrap it up tightly to freeze it. If you have a vacuum sealer in your kitchen, this is one of those times when you will really find it to be useful. Just be sure you don’t buy so much bulk cheese that you can’t use it up in a couple of months. Cheese generally only stays good in the freezer for about two months at a time.
Another kind of cheese that freezes fairly well is shredded cheese. This is especially true if you plan to use it in a recipe that involves melting the cheese. For example, if you bought a huge bag of mozzarella cheese on sale, just keep out what you’re going to use now and put the rest in the freezer. Try to squeeze as much of the air out of the package as you can before you freeze it. Wrapping the bag in an additional layer of plaster wrap after you squeeze all the air out will also help keep your cheese fresh in the freezer.
There are a few kinds of cheese you should never freeze. These include pretty much any kind of cheese that comes in a tub or plastic container. Ricotta cheese is one kind that should never go in the freezer because you’ll never recognize it again.
If you do decide to freeze cheese, just make sure you thaw it out completely before you try to use it.