June Dairy Month – Pass the Cheese PleaseJune is National Dairy Month, which means it’s time to spread awareness about the health benefits of dairy! Milk and yogurt are commonly touted for their health benefits, but did you know that cheese is also an important player in the dairy group? More than 600 varieties, types and styles of cheese are made in Wisconsin.
Many unopened cheeses stored in the refrigerator will retain their quality even beyond the freshness date stamped on packages. Once opened, shelf life depends on proper storage, which in turn depends on the type of cheese purchased.
Fresh cheeses like cottage cheese, ricotta, and fresh mozzarella are high in moisture and quite perishable. They should be kept tightly sealed, cold and used within two weeks.
Semi-soft cheeses including Monterey Jack, Muenster, Brick and Harvarti once opened are best kept wrapped in waxed or parchment paper and then in plastic wrap.
Firm and hard cheeses like Parmesan, Asiago and Aged Cheddar should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap to minimize moisture loss.
Blue-veined cheeses such as Blue and Gorgonzola which have no protective rind, should be wrapped securely in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Exposure to air causes excessive moisture loss and encourages additional mold development.
Shredded cheeses have more surface area exposed to air and will lose moisture and develop mold readily. Wrap leftover shredded cheese tightly and use within a few days.
Don’t forget to stop by the dairy aisle and pick up a slice, block or wedge of your favorite cheese to serve.
Sources; Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board