So, you’re curious about blue cheese. Although it looks strange, you’ve heard that it makes an excellent accompaniment for steak. Some people also love this moldy cheese on their salads. But, is it safe to eat blue cheese?
Perhaps you’re planning to host a wine tasting. Of course, a cheese board is a must. You’re thinking of serving blue cheese, among other kinds.
Since this will be your first time, you’re not sure what to do if you have leftovers. You’re wondering: Does blue cheese go bad? How long can you keep blue cheese in the fridge?
In this article, we break down everything you need to know about the blue cheese shelf life, its storage, and how to tell if blue cheese is going off. If this is something you’re looking for, read on!
How To Store Blue Cheese
Blue cheese is a broad term to define cheese made from either cow’s or goat’s milk and ripened with molds called Penicillium. Some of the most famous blue cheeses include Roquefort, Stilton, and Gorgonzola.
Blue cheese has a unique “moldy” appearance that looks like blueish or greenish veins. It has a sharp and pungent smell, which can be disturbing for some people but addicting for some others.
We can find blue cheese at least in two forms—as a wedge or crumbles. Both have to be kept refrigerated.
Storing blue cheese crumbles is easy and straightforward. It usually comes in a resealable tub. Make sure it’s tightly sealed when not in use.
For a wedge of blue cheese, you should store it properly to prevent the molds contaminating other foods in your fridge. If you have other cheese in the refrigerator, keep them separated.
Blue cheese also tends to absorb odors from its surrounding. So, proper wrapping is vital to maintain its original flavor.
First, wrap blue cheese with cheese paper or parchment paper. Don’t wrap it too tightly. Blue cheese is a living thing that needs to breathe. Otherwise, it spoils early.
Next, place the wrapped cheese in a resealable plastic bag or an airtight container and keep it in a crisper or vegetable drawer.
As always, practicing good hygiene is vital when it comes to food storage. Only use a clean knife or cutlery to cut the cheese.
Don’t let it sit too long at room temperature. Put it back into the fridge after each use.
How Do You Tell If Blue Cheese Has Gone Bad?
This is probably the most important question among others. You might think that blue cheese is already “moldy,” so, how can I tell that blue cheese isn’t safe anymore?
First thing first, let’s rewind to the time when you opened the package. Since there are a bunch of blue cheese varieties, you may see different details each time. Give it a thorough look and a good whiff. Try to get to know the blue cheese you buy.
Fresh blue cheese is naturally ripened with harmless molds that look like blueish to greenish veins. It has white to beige color and can have either creamy to a crumbly texture.
Now, fast forward to a few weeks later when you’re assessing if the blue cheese is still good to use. Find irregularities or unusual characteristics compared to the first time you open it.
1. Wrong kinds of molds – be careful with other types of molds that are trying to take over your cheese. If you see pink, gray, or black molds, it’s already time to say goodbye.
2. Texture and color changes – when it’s spoiled, blue cheese turns from white, beige to yellowish, pinkish or brown. The texture also changes from smooth to fuzzy or slimy.
3. Off-smell – Fresh blue cheese smells sharp and pungent. But, when it’s bad, it develops a funky or rancid smell. It often smells like ammonia.
If you think that the look and smell are still the same, maybe give it a little taste. When the taste is too sharp or biting, it’s best to discard it. Likewise, if you’re in doubt, better to stay on the safe side.
How Long Does Blue Cheese Last?
There is no exact answer that can appropriately answer how long blue cheese lasts. The shelf life depends on a large extent of preparation methods, aging, and storage conditions. Hence, it’s useful to know how to determine whether blue cheese is spoiled.
If you purchase blue cheese that’s freshly cut from a wheel, you can ask the cheesemonger how long it should last. It can be different depending on the specific type of blue cheese you get. Generally, it lasts for a few weeks in the refrigerator, up to one or two months maximum.
If you buy a pre-packed wedge of blue cheese, in most cases, you’ll find a “best by” or a “sell by” date. You can pretty much rely on this information.
This date is a rough estimate, and if you take good care of the cheese, it may stay edible for a week or two past the date. On the other hand, don’t expect magic to happen if it’s left out or not adequately wrapped.
When it comes to bleu cheese crumbles. You should also respect the “best by” or “use by” date. Of course, you can allow one or two weeks past the date as long as it’s unopened. Once opened, try to finish it immediately before it loses its freshness.
|Blue cheese types||Refrigerator|
|Blue cheese wedge (pre-packed or from a wheel)||3 to 8 weeks or “best by” date + 1 week|
|Blue cheese crumbles (unopened)||“best by” date + 1 to 2 weeks|
|Blue cheese crumbles (opened)||1 week|
This table is for a general estimate for the best quality. The actual shelf life may differ depending on the preparation methods, brands, and storage conditions. It’s always worth checking for a few minutes before use.
The blue-vein molds may look intimidating. But these are Penicillium – the same family of fungi that produce penicillin. It is considered harmless and doesn’t pose any significant health risks for consumers. (*)
Blue cheese dressing is typically made with perishable ingredients, such as yogurt or sour cream. It should be kept refrigerated. To stay on the safe side, don’t leave it at room temperature longer than 2 hours.
Generally, it’s recommended to freeze blue cheese. After thawing, the texture becomes crumbly and may lose some flavors. If this is something you can tolerate, you can freeze blue cheese for up to 6 months, and better use it for a cooked dish.
Blue cheese is a unique cheese that is either loved or hated. It has a sharp pungent aroma and is loaded with umami taste. As with other cheese, blue cheese also goes bad.
Both blue cheese wedge and crumbles need to be kept refrigerated. With proper storage, blue cheese can stay fresh for a few weeks. Make sure the wedge is wrapped correctly, while the crumbles can remain in the original tub.
Bleu cheese is naturally moldy. Determining if it’s bad is not always easy. Try to know the characteristics of your cheese when you open the package for the first time. If anything seems off with the look, smell, and taste, chances are the cheese is already spoiled.
*Photo by AndreySt/depositphotos