Extend The Shelf Life Of Feta Cheese With One Easy Step

feta cheese sliced up on cutting board
feta cheese sliced up on cutting board - nelea33/Shutterstock

If you buy a small tub of crumbled feta, you may be able to use it all up in one use. However in most cases, like when you buy a whole block of it, you'll probably have some left over. While keeping this type of cheese in the same container or package it came in is perhaps the most convenient way to store it, it's not always the best option. Although unopened feta can last for as long as six months in the fridge, as soon as you open it, this timeframe shortens to only seven days.

Thankfully, extending the shelf life of this dairy product is as simple as storing it in olive oil after opening, which can maintain its freshness for two to three weeks. The way it works is the fat in the olive oil creates a barrier around the cheese, effectively sealing it off from outside contaminants. As a result, the feta is protected against bacteria, yeast, and other microbes, thereby delaying spoilage. This is just one of the many benefits of storing feta in olive oil.

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Storing Feta Cheese In Olive Oil Vs. Brine

scooping feta cheese from jar filled with olive oil
scooping feta cheese from jar filled with olive oil - this_baker/Shutterstock

When you buy feta it often arrives swimming in a briny solution, a classic preservation method that is the key to keeping feta fresh for longer. However, swapping that liquid out for olive oil has its advantages. As this type of cheese sits in olive oil, it develops a more complex flavor by absorbing the aromatic compounds that are present in the olive oil. Brine on the other hand, will only make it saltier.

Since feta takes on the taste of the liquid it's stored in, the type you use will make a noticeable difference. Opting for extra virgin olive oil, for example, introduces a robust, peppery flavor to feta, while ultra-refined or light olive oil offers a milder, more neutral taste. But regardless of the type you go with, it will still impact the texture.

Storing this dairy product in olive oil envelops it with moisture, creating a lusciously creamy mouthfeel while preventing it from drying out. In contrast, brine merely maintains the cheese-crumbly consistency without the added dimension.

How To Properly Store Feta In Olive Oil

cubes of feta cheese in jar of olive oil
cubes of feta cheese in jar of olive oil - Anna_Pustynnikova/Shutterstock

In order to fully experience the benefits of marinating feta in olive oil, proper storage is key. Start with an airtight container or jar to shield the cheese from as much air exposure as possible, as this can expedite spoilage. Also, make sure this container is clean and dry before you transfer the cheese into it to avoid any contamination. Whether you opt to cut the block in smaller pieces or leave it whole, what matters most is that it's fully submerged in olive oil.

It's also important to note there is a wrong place in the fridge to store your cheese since you don't want artisanal varieties getting too cold. And even though this method is an effective preservative, you'll still want to check it periodically for signs of spoilage. While olive oil does alter the taste of feta cheese, it should never taste very sour or overly pungent. If it also develops a smell reminiscent of yeast or dough, your cheese has definitely gone bad. But when stored properly, the feta should remain fresh for the full two to three weeks of its extended shelf life.

Read the original article on Daily Meal