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Great Options For Long Term Cheese Storage
We couldn’t wait to try waxing cheese for long term storageWe bought 240 lbs. of cheese from an Amish store here in Missouri earlier this summer and the savings were amazing.
But we had a problem. How did we store all that cheese without taking up 1/3 of my freezer space?
First, I think it’s important that we start with understanding what kind of cheese this is. This is Monterey Jack block cheese. It’s in huge blocks.
This cheese is more on the soft side but not completely soft. It holds its shape but only when kept cool.
Options we’re going to cover below include:
Freeze Drying (OBVIOUS)
All of them are viable options.
Let’s start with freeze drying the cheese.
Freeze Drying Monterey Jack Cheese
As usual, I usually recommend freeze drying cheese for long term storage. It’s one of my favorite ways to store most food long term.
But Monterey Jack is a hard one. You have to make sure you do it right. Now, when we first tried it, we cubed it. I LOVE freeze dried cubed cheddar or mozzarella. However, cubed Monterey Jack… melted. Yeah, you heard me. It was greasy and melted and was just a general mess and did NOT fully freeze dry. I wasn’t impressed.
So, we thought, okay, let’s try it shredded. I didn’t have hopes for it, but my husband suggested we give it a try since there would be more surface area. And there was! Shredded, this cheese worked perfectly. I thoroughly enjoyed it. My husband shredded it with this new Ninja food processor we got. (Our last one fried up with so much use. Hopefully, this one makes it longer lol).
Definitely do Monterey Jack cheese SHREDDED.
Yes, we had so much cheese, I had to give canning it a try.
Now, before you freak out. I’m a rebel canner. If you’re someone who likes to follow rules, then do NOT take my advice on this. Do NOT can your cheese. I grew up rebel canning and I live in a community that celebrates the Amish way of things. The majority of the Amish in this area water bath their food storage. So, I canned this cheese using the hot pack water bath method.
Here’s how we did it.
First off, we cubed the cheese, but not small. Just small enough to get into the pint jars that I had already sterilized.
We then put them into the oven with the lids off at 250 deg F. The cheese melted and I added more until the jars were full (to about 3/4 inch head space). I then placed the lids and rings and hand tightened. I then pulled them from the oven and placed them into my roasters where I hot water bathed them for 20 minutes.
They all popped and I know how beautiful jars of cheese that melts similar to Velveeta but that is much more… shall we say, “real”?
Don’t they look pretty?
Okay, so waxing cheese was hit or miss and this is because of the type of cheese that we used.
Monterey Jack cheese is NOT a soft cheese nor is it a hard cheese. We don’t recommend doing these types of cheese, now that we’ve had experience with it.
We did everything right, and we’ll explain what happened as we go along.
How Do you Wax Cheese?
Well, first we cut our cheese into 1.5 lbs. blocks of cheese.
Then we let them sit out, covered with flour cloth for 5 days. This would have been MORE than enough time for the cheese to “Sweat” and get harder, were the cheese a firmer cheese like a cheddar or parmesan.
As you can see, the cheese blocks were so soft, they “melted” through the wires of the wire racks we used to give them air all around the edges. They even lost their shape in some instances. Some of the blocks were left out more than 5 days in the hopes that they would get harder or dry out more.
The Cheese Wax
When we were ready, we purchased this cheese wax from Amazon – it’s red because black just looked WRONG (you’ll see why I’m glad we went with red later in the post) and the white wasn’t really easy to see that we’d done it. So red it was.
We melted chunks of the wax in these aluminum pans in a foil “nest” inside my stainless steel electric skillet. It took about 30 minutes to get to the melted stage and then we had our good friends come over and help us wax them.
Admit it, it looks so fun!
How Long Does It Take To Wax?
We did at LEAST 3 coats of wax on each side of the blocks and let them cool and dry between the loads.
We were sure proud of our blocks of cheese.
How do you know when your waxed cheese is bad?
Well, let me tell you. Our wax cracked and broke open. You can see in the images below the mold growing under the cracks. See why it’s good that we didn’t have black wax?
Waxing Cheese For Long Term Storage
When waxing cheese for long-term storage, it is important to avoid overheating the wax. If the wax becomes too hot, it will spread rapidly and go on too thin. To prevent this, make sure the container is tightly closed and that there is a grease fire extinguisher on hand. Once the wax is at the right temperature, you can begin waxing. It is best to apply the wax in an in-and-out motion, in thin, even layers.
What Kind Of Wax Can I Use?
Professional cheesemakers often choose to wax their hard cheese for long-term storage. This process keeps cheese fresh for several months or even years, but it is essential that it is stored at room temperature to prevent mold and mildew growth. Cheese wax is more pliable than paraffin wax, so it can move with the cheese during the aging process. It also dries quickly, which means less waxing time and less moisture buildup.
Long-term storage is not difficult, especially if you plan ahead. When you are planning, you have to remember that cheese might be scarce if the grid is down. So, you should think about making substitutes. If you don’t have access to cheese, waxed cheese is an excellent alternative.
The waxing process is effective for storing cheese for long periods of time, even without refrigeration. In addition to protecting cheese from bacteria and mold, it also keeps moisture in the cheese. Once the cheese wax is applied, let it dry.
Beeswax is another alternative. Beeswax is a natural product and is sustainable. Beeswax is made by bees and is a popular choice for cheese waxing. Beeswax can be reused several times. Beeswax is also more sustainable than paraffin-based waxes. Beeswax has been used for centuries to wax cheeses. However, today there are many modern waxes available.
Beeswax For Waxing Cheese
Beeswax is a natural ingredient that can be used for long term storage of cheese. The only downside is that it’s a bit more expensive than paraffin-based cheese wax, but it’s also a renewable resource and sweet-smelling. Here are some things to remember before using beeswax on your cheese:
First, make sure your wax is hot enough to kill mold spores. The ideal temperature for waxing cheese is 224-236F. Using a good grip is important to keep the cheese from falling into the wax. Make sure you read all the warnings regarding direct heating of the wax.
Once the wax has completely hardened, store your cheese in a cool, dry place. Keep in mind that wax will eventually turn brittle when exposed to cold temperatures. In such cases, use a paraffin wax, as it contains an extra ingredient to prevent brittleness. Also, turn your cheese regularly to avoid mold growth underneath the wax. This will help prevent spoilage and keep the cheese fresh.
If you wax your cheese properly, it will keep for years. At room temperature, it will stay fresh for 25 years. If the cheese does become stale, you can cut it up into portions and re-wax it again. Make sure to wax the cheese in block sizes that you can eat within three to five days.
Another great benefit to beeswax is that it is non-toxic. It prevents toxins from transferring into the food and prevents mold growth. It is also very easy to clean. It also prevents fresh produce from wilting. Furthermore, it is recyclable, so you’ll have less waste in the end.
Beeswax can be bought in pellet form at your local craft store. These pellets can be melted onto medium-sized Ideal Wraps and then applied to the cheese. This creates an extra-thick wrap that prevents moisture from escaping, keeping your cheese fresh and safe from bacteria. It is also great for storing sliced cheese.
Cheese wax is a special kind of wax that acts as a seal and prevents the growth of bacteria and mold. Beeswax is a much better barrier than paraffin, and it’s non-toxic. Moreover, it is better for cheese than paraffin because it dries faster. This reduces processing time and reduces the risk of bacteria reaching the cheese.
Beeswax is great for storing cheese and is a great way to preserve cheese for long periods. Beeswax wraps are also reusable and can be reused. The wax coating helps protect cheeses against moisture and helps in the ripening process.
Many cheeses are prepared to be refrigerated. However, they often don’t have low pH levels or other factors that prevent the growth of bacteria. Therefore, storing cheese that is meant for refrigeration at room temperature can be dangerous. To avoid this risk, opt for food-grade waxes.
Carnauba wax is one of the hardest waxes available and is produced from the Copernicia tree, native to Brazil. It is also very moisture-resistant and will not melt when exposed to heat. Another popular wax for cheese storage is beeswax, which is derived from tree resins.
Carnauba wax is a natural product made from the leaves of the carnauba palm tree. This wax is a plant-based substance and is used in a wide range of products, including car detailing products. It creates a thin protective layer that resists heat and repels moisture. It is typically yellow or brownish green in color.
Carnauba wax has been used to protect cheese from air and mold. It is a safe wax that doesn’t affect the taste of cheese and is easily handled. The waxes are available in food-grade form and can be easily melted in a crock pot or double boiler. After melting, the wax is added to the oil and poured into a mold. This wax has a long shelf-life of several months.
While waxing is a convenient and simple method of extending cheese’s shelf-life, it does not extend the life of many foods. Foods such as fruits and vegetables do not benefit from wax as much as cheese. Cheese wax can be kept in a cool, dry place. If you’re unable to refrigerate the cheese, you can purchase it at a local store that sells it waxed.
Carnauba wax is a food-grade wax made from beeswax and carnauba wax. This wax is commonly used to coat aged cheese and create a protective layer against bacteria. Remember to use a piece of foil while waxing to prevent wax drips.
Cheese waxing can extend the shelf life of cheese by 25 years if properly stored. However, it is important to know that cheese waxing is not a first-line food prep method. It requires research and the proper equipment to achieve the best results. However, it is an effective method for long-term cheese storage.
To wax cheese, you can dip it into the wax or paint it on with a brush. It’s best to apply two thin layers rather than one thick one. You’ll want to wax the cheese at least twice if you plan on storing it in a long-term manner. However, this method is not ideal for cheese that is sold in small blocks. Again, we did it at least 4 times.
Can I Reuse Wax From Cheese Waxing?
We were able to reuse the wax after taking it off the cheese that it DID work with. Again, it was hit or miss with our cheese.
I prefer freeze drying my cheese, but all of these options are viable, if done correctly.