How To Know If Expired Cheese Is Still Good To Eat

Got moldy cheese? Here's what we know.

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Cheese is one of those ingredients that you store in your pantry and refrigerator. It's the ingredient that can make a simple dish super appetizing! 

However, it's common to reach into the refrigerator only to find that the cheese is covered in mold, is hard as a rock, or otherwise, inedible. It might even be expired if it's been stored in your pantry for a long time.

As with all food, it's always best to eat and consume food within the recommended indicated dates on its packages. This is the ideal but when you find that you do have food, such as cheese that's past its due date, you have a choice to make: throw it out or consume it if it's still edible and safe to do so. 

How do you know if that cheese is still edible and safe to eat?   

For cheese, according to information on Eat By Date about cheese, it all depends on the kind of cheese you have. Here are the different kinds of cheese and what to know so you are safe, even it's past its expiry date:  

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1 Kesong puti, cottage cheese, and other fresh cheese 

Kesong puti is a fresh cheese, cheese that has not been aged. Just like cottage and ricotta cheese, kesong puti is commonly packed in whey, the watery liquid that is the result of cheesemaking. The shelf life of this kind of cheese is very short since it's fresh, so it's best to always consume these within the use-by date. 

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When stored properly, this cheese can last longer about 7 up to 10 days after the use-by date. However, if it develops mold or smells and tastes sour, it's best to throw it out. You can prolong storage by freezing fresh cheese for up to 3 months but note that its texture will have changed once thawed.  

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2 Mozzarella, feta, mascarpone, and other soft cheese

Mozzarella, feta, and other soft cheese are the most susceptible to mold when not packaged and stored properly. When stored properly, soft cheese can last one up to two weeks in the refrigerator unopened. However, soft cheese is more likely to develop mold since it's a wonderfully moist environment for it to grow. When that happens, it's best to throw moldy soft cheese out since the mold can affect the flavor and taste of soft cheese even if cut off. 

The only exceptions to this rule are ripened soft cheese such as blue cheese, brie, and camembert. These aged and ripened soft cheese are meant to have mold. (The blue veins in bleu cheese are mold, and so is the white coating on the exterior of brie and camembert.) The good news is that it's meant to be there and it's edible. When mold is of another color, however, it's best to toss this cheese out since it will affect its intended flavor.    

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3 Cream cheese 

Cream cheese is the creamy cheese that you use for cheesecakes, spread onto toast, and make into tarts. This kind of soft cheese is processed differently from other soft cheese since it contains milk as well as cream, meaning it has more butterfat than other kinds of creamy cheese. Plus, while it's tart, it's soft and spreadable, especially when softened at room temperature making it the perfect filling for sandwiches and cream into a filling such as for cheesecakes. 

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When stored properly, cream cheese is best when used by its use-by date. It should still be creamy within a few weeks past this date, by as much as three to four weeks in the refrigerator, but when opened and it's crumbly, it's best to throw it out. If mold starts to grow on it, throw it out as well. 

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4 Parmesan, Pecorino, and other hard cheese 

The harder the cheese, the longer it will last. That's because it's the opposite of soft cheese. Hard cheese has less moisture and thus, mold has a harder time growing on hard cheese than it does on soft cheese. However, when it does grow, it's not the end of what expensive wedge. The good news is that since hard cheese is hard, the mold is more likely to be only surface deep. Cutting it off with some allowance will save that wedge without affecting the rest of the cheese. 

When stored properly, hard cheese like wedges of Parmesan and Pecorino can be stored for months, from two up to four months and when frozen, up to eight months

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5 Processed cheese

Processed cheese is different from other cheese since preservatives are added to the cheese to prevent it from spoiling or that inhibits the growth of mold. This makes it last longer than usual even at room temperature. It's categorized as a hard cheese despite its soft texture.  

When stored properly, processed cheese can last months in storage, unopened, but only a few weeks in the refrigerator. That's because processed cheese is still a moist cheese and the refrigerator is a dry environment that can dehydrate the cheese. This doesn't mean that the cheese will not grow mold once opened. Since it's been made to inhibit the growth of mold, the most that can happen to processed cheese is that it hardens while in storage. This will, unfortunately, happen whether or no you have stored it correctly in the refrigerator.   

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