Who cut the cheddar? Much like wine, cheeses are aged for maximum taste, so it may be a little disappointing to find that aged cheeses like cheddar lose their flavor after only a week in a fridge. According to the USDA, hard cheeses may last three or four weeks in the fridge after opening, but just because something is safe to eat doesn't mean that the quality hasn't been lost.
Cheddar cheese has the uncanny ability to absorb the smells around it. This may not only affect its potency but also cause the cheese to spoil as well. The reason that cheese seems to go bad so quickly despite being aged for a long time is that it's no longer in a controlled environment. It's important to consider the quality of your cheddar when planning that charcuterie board. As cheese shop owner Kendall Antonelli explains to Real Simple, "Firmer cheeses can keep for a while but they start to absorb ambient aromas. For ideal flavor, I recommend eating them within seven to 10 days of purchase. After that point, they're still good but may be less of a showstopper on a cheese board, so use them in the kitchen cooked into your favorite recipes."
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Cheese
So what can you do about all that cheddar you just bought? Well, if it's already opened, then your best course of action would be to eat it before it loses its quality. Throw that wine tasting party you've always dreamed about! If the cheddar hasn't been opened yet, then it should last for a while longer. According to the USDA, unopened cheese can last up to six months in the fridge, giving you plenty of time before it starts to lose its quality.
There are steps you can take to ensure the quality of your opened cheddar for as long as you can. Kendall Antonelli recommends storing the cheese using a special kind of paper, saying, "Store these cheeses in specialty cheese paper, which allows them to 'breathe.' Alternatively, wrap them in wax paper." You should store your cheese in the vegetable tray where the temperature is most stable. Wrap in both wax paper as well as plastic. Likewise, if you really want to ensure the quality of your cheddar, keep it away from strong smells. That means you should probably throw out that leftover fish instead of storing it in the fridge. Your cheddar will thank you.
Read the original article on Mashed.