When we find ourselves in shops, like Guffanti’s, we hardly go out with a single slice of cheese. For cheese lovers like me, conservation is often the main problem. The first concern is: how do I keep it? If not, what should I do? And above all when it expires?
Let’s start by saying that the cheese never expires.
If well preserved, it can evolve in taste, in aromas, thanks to casein, the milk protein. It is a continuous process called proteolysis, the most characteristic and complex process of maturation.
This is why it is important to preserve cheese better.
First, we must differentiate whether we have a whole wheel or a slice.
The wheels must be stored in a humid environment. If you do not have a proper environment like a cellar, you can wrap them in a damp cloth in the refrigerator at 2° – 6° C degrees.
The wheels must be cleaned, at least once a week, with salt and grapeseed oil to prevent bacteria from forming on the crust and compromising their ripeness.
Finally, they must be turned to have a homogeneous maturation of the whole cheese.
For those like me, who merely take slices, perhaps even more than one, you have to absolutely read the small tips that I have managed to get from the masters of Arona.
1. The cheeses must be preserved with other cheeses, to avoid promiscuity with other foods in the refrigerator.
2. The slice must always be covered with baking paper or food paper. It is advised to create humidity by wrapping the uncovered part of the crust and leaving it free.
3. In case of blooms (commonly called molds), the cheese is not to be thrown away. It must be cleaned with a damp cloth until the affected part is completely clean.
4. Max 6° C degrees refrigerator temperature.
5. You should trim the part uncovered by the crust, if you won’t eat it to prevent it from hardening or being contaminated by bacteria as well as not to risk decay.
However, when does the slice of cheese expire, what do we buy in our shops?
If the cheese is of high-quality and hand-made, they can be indicatively:
• Hard cheese: 60 days
• Semi-hard cheese: from 30 to 60 days, depending on the type
• Soft cheese: maximum of 15 days
The only risk there can be for the decay of the cheese is the infiltration of blooms or bacteria under the crust, stopping the evolution of the casein and consequently the process of proteolysis.
At this point, we have all the information to be able to visit the shops in our beloved region or for you live too far away, pay a visit to the Piedmont Delights website to order the cheese you like or try new ones.
Thanks to these little secrets for conservation, they allow us to maintain the quality of the product and taste the same cheese, at a different time of its maturation.
We just have to try!
Have a great cheese!