Blue cheese truly is one of those love it or hate it types of ingredients. Some of us can’t get enough of its pungent smell and dank, rich flavor while others practically cringe at even the thought of eating such a thing. It’s such a unique ingredient, with many varieties showing up throughout the world. It is absolutely unbeatable as a sauce to go over a steak. It is incredible as a dip for hot wings. It also just works its magic as part of a cheese board or over a salad (also read our Best Fondue Pots and Sets Reviews for 2020) or even over popcorn! (I know right??). It is just so versatile that we absolutely love it.
For us, we’ve never had blue cheese long enough for it to even begin to go off, so we weren’t sure of the signs. But fear not, we have scoured the internet for all of the information you could possibly require when it comes to storing blue cheese effectively. We’ve also found the answer to the question we thought might be impossible to find – how can you tell if it has gone off if it already looks like it HAS gone off?! So, if you’ve just bought a large wedge of blue cheese and you’re capable of exercising more restraint than we are, this is the info you will have been looking for. Thankfully, it has a rather long shelf life in general, but we will elaborate exactly how long it can be kept if stored correctly. So, let’s get to it!
The Best Way to Store Blue Cheese
Starting off with the most common form of blue cheese, the wedge. The wedge of blue cheese will store in the same manner as most other cheeses. So, this essentially means that the best place for it is in the fridge. However, this comes with a caveat. Most blue cheese stores best at around 46 °F (approximately 8 °C). This is instantly problematic as most fridges are colder than this and most pantries are a tad warmer. However, if the model of your fridge happens to have a crisper drawer, you’re in luck as this will do the job perfectly! However, it is not just as easy as all that. There are a few other factors to keep in mind, such as…
Letting it breathe
According to specialists, blue cheese contains certain live cultures that need to breathe somewhat to avoid any spoilage. As a result, if you tightly seal up your blue cheese and don’t give it room to breathe, it will spoil much quicker than it should. Thankfully, most blue cheese is already sold in a wrap that will allow for a bit of breathing, so the best option here is to loosely repackage it again before refrigerating. Should you have purchased your cheese freshly cut from a wheel, we would strongly recommend transferring it into some cheese or wax paper as soon as possible. Give it a nice loose wrap and all should go swimmingly from there on out.
Pre-crumbled blue cheese
In the case of blue cheese that comes in crumbled form, likely found in a plastic container, we don’t really have any advice by which to prolong its shelf life. As it turns out, simply placing it back into the fridge between uses is the best treatment you can give it. One last tip: make sure to keep a good distance between your blue cheese and your other cheeses as the live cultures in blue cheese can actually infect any other cheese they come into contact with. Blue cheese is great and all, but it’s nice to have the option of having something else once in a while!
How Long Does Blue Cheese Last?
Crumbled blue cheese
This may come as a surprise to a lot of you, as it did for us, but crumbled blue cheese lasts much longer than blue cheese in wedge form! Generally, the shelf life of crumbled blue cheese sits somewhere between 5 and 6 months, which is incredible when you think about it. So, if you are the kind of cook who only rarely uses blue cheese in recipes, it is therefore advisable to purchase your blue cheese in crumbled form. Naturally, once the package has been opened, it begins to degenerate at an increased rate of speed. Once opened, for best results, consume the contents within a week. So – up to 6 months when unopened, and down to a solitary week once the seal has been broken. It’s quite a dramatic sway, but if you are in the know you won’t get caught out.
Blue cheese wedges
Store-bought and wrapped blue cheese will come with a sell-by date, and in most cases, this is relatively accurate. The estimates by the manufacturer generally state that two months is the longest it will stay good for, but we think that you can extract an extra two weeks out of your cheese if you treat it right. The best part about buying your cheese in this form is that opening it and resealing it correctly won’t negatively impact its sell-by date. Just remember to wrap it loosely and not tightly when refrigerating it.
Should Blue Cheese be Refrigerated?
Blue cheese should always be returned to the refrigerator after use. Freezing might also seem like a logical step to take, especially if you have bought in bulk. However, it might not actually be the best idea… The issue that this brings up is not one of safety, as freezing will ensure that. Instead, it is a matter of how the defrosting process can distort both the flavor and the texture of the cheese. In other words, it will no longer work as a salad topping or on a cheeseboard, but could still be fine for use in a sauce. In general, it isn’t really the kind of ingredient that we would recommend stocking up on.
Signs That Your Blue Cheese May Have Gone Off
Spotting signs that your blue cheese has gone off is a little easier than one might expect, taking into consideration the appearance it already has. Thankfully, we are not looking out for a blue mold growing on the surface of the cheese as that would be nearly impossible to spot. Instead, the signs of degradation are as such:
Though blue cheese already has a salty undertone to its flavor, you will begin to notice that this element of the flavor comes more to the fore over time. At a certain point, it just isn’t worth using anymore.
Though blue cheese’s default appearance is that of ‘gone off’, there are still some pretty signs of discoloration that will begin to occur over time. These will affect only the white part of the cheese and can appear in pretty much any of the colors of the rainbow! Generally, the colors you should be looking for are green, yellow, brown, and even pink. Should you see any of these colors on the exposed surface of your cheese it is best to simply chuck out all of it in its entirety.
Very few things on this earth smell as bad as blue cheese that has been too long in the tooth. This smell can range from a faint whiff of ammonia to a full-blown smell of urine. Now, we know we don’t need to tell you what to do with that!
Blue Cheese Storage, Sell-by Dates, and Other Related Questions
Does blue cheese have mold in it?
Yes, blue cheese is made by introducing Penicillium mold cultures into the cheese which can appear in either a blue or green hue and carries a distinctive taste not otherwise found in cheese.
Is blue cheese safe?
Blue cheese is generally totally safe for consumption, so long as no other molds have begun to develop on the cheese itself. Naturally, if you are lactose intolerant, then you shouldn’t be eating it. If you are pregnant, it should also be avoided. This is not due to the fact that it is made with a mold culture but instead is due to the fact that it is made using unpasteurized milk, which can cause listeriosis in pregnant women. Symptoms of listeriosis include; headaches, fever, aches and pains.