When it comes to Parmesan cheese, many people wonder how long it can be kept in a container before it goes bad. Parmesan cheese is a popular and versatile cheese that is used in a variety of dishes, from pasta to salads to soups. Understanding how long Parmesan cheese lasts can help you prevent waste and ensure that you are using fresh, flavorful cheese in your recipes.
How long does Parmesan cheese last?
Properly stored, Parmesan cheese can last for a long time. The shelf life of Parmesan cheese depends on several factors, including the type of Parmesan, how it is stored, and whether it is grated or in a block.
Unopened Parmesan Cheese
If your Parmesan cheese is unopened and stored properly in the refrigerator, it can last for several months beyond its “best by” date. This is because the aging process of Parmesan cheese helps preserve its flavor and texture. However, for the best quality and taste, it is recommended to consume unopened Parmesan cheese within 6-9 months of purchase.
Opened Parmesan Cheese
Once you have opened your container of Parmesan cheese, the shelf life will be shorter compared to unopened cheese. Proper storage is essential to maintain its freshness.
After opening, grated Parmesan should be tightly sealed or resealed in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator. It can generally last for about 1-2 months this way.
Note: It’s important to check for any signs of spoilage such as mold growth or an off smell before consuming opened or expired Parmesan cheese.
Tips for storing Parmesan Cheese
To maximize the shelf life of your Parmesan cheese, follow these storage tips:
- Keep it cool: Parmesan cheese should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature of around 34-38°F (1-3°C). This helps slow down the aging process and prevents spoilage.
- Wrap it properly: If you have a block of Parmesan cheese, wrap it tightly in wax paper or aluminum foil to protect it from air and moisture.
This will help maintain its flavor and prevent it from drying out.
- Avoid plastic wrap: While plastic wrap may seem like a convenient option, it can trap moisture and promote mold growth. It’s best to avoid using plastic wrap for storing Parmesan cheese.
How to tell if Parmesan Cheese has gone bad?
If you are unsure whether your Parmesan cheese is still good to use, here are some signs of spoilage to look out for:
- Mold growth: If you notice any mold on the surface of the cheese or within grated Parmesan, it’s best to discard it. Mold can produce toxins that may cause illness.
- Foul smell: If your Parmesan cheese has an unpleasant odor or smells rancid, it’s an indication that it has gone bad and should not be consumed.
- Texture changes: If the texture of your Parmesan cheese feels slimy or excessively dry, it may have deteriorated and is no longer good to eat.
In conclusion, when stored properly, both unopened and opened Parmesan cheese can last for a significant amount of time. By following the recommended storage guidelines and checking for signs of spoilage, you can enjoy the delicious flavor of Parmesan cheese in your dishes for an extended period.