When it comes to cheese, Parmesan is one of the most popular varieties. Its rich and nutty flavor makes it a favorite ingredient in many dishes, from pasta to pizza.
But what happens when your Parmesan cheese sits in the fridge for a while? Is it safe to eat old Parmesan cheese? Let’s take a closer look.
What is Parmesan Cheese?
Parmesan cheese, also known as Parmigiano-Reggiano, is a hard, aged cheese made from cow’s milk. It originated in Italy and has been produced for over 800 years. True Parmesan cheese is aged for at least 12 months, but some varieties can be aged for up to 36 months.
How Long Does Parmesan Cheese Last?
Like all foods, Parmesan cheese has a shelf life. However, due to its hard texture and low moisture content, it can last for a long time if stored properly.
Unopened Parmesan cheese can last for up to 6 months in the fridge. Once opened, it should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container and consumed within 4-6 weeks.
How Can You Tell if Parmesan Cheese Has Gone Bad?
One of the easiest ways to tell if your Parmesan cheese has gone bad is by checking for mold. If you see any mold on the surface of the cheese, discard it immediately. Additionally, if the cheese has an off smell or taste or appears discolored or slimy, it’s best to throw it away.
Is It Safe to Eat Old Parmesan Cheese?
While eating old food may not always be advisable, eating old parmesan cheese is generally safe as long as there is no mold present. Due to its low moisture content and hard texture, parmesan does not spoil easily. However, it may lose some of its flavor and texture over time.
How Can You Use Old Parmesan Cheese?
If you have some old Parmesan cheese that you’re not sure what to do with, there are plenty of ways to use it up. Here are a few ideas:
- Grate it over pasta or pizza
- Add it to soups or stews for extra flavor
- Mix it into scrambled eggs or omelets
- Bake it into bread or biscuits
While eating moldy cheese is never advisable, old Parmesan cheese is generally safe to eat as long as there is no mold present. However, if the cheese has an off smell or taste or appears discolored or slimy, it’s best to throw it away. With proper storage and usage, you can enjoy your Parmesan cheese for many months.