Parmesan Cheese, often celebrated as the “King of Cheeses” for its exquisite Italian craftsmanship, hails from PDO regions like Reggio Emilia, Parma, Bologna, Modena, and Mantua.
However, the challenge lies in preserving its quality when freezing, as improper freezing can lead to spoilage.
So Can You Freeze Parmesan Cheese, And If Yes Then How Do We Freeze It?
Yes, you can freeze Parmesan cheese for up to six months. To do so, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or foil, place it in an airtight container or freezer bag, label it with the date, and freeze it.
How to Freeze Parmesan Cheese?
Parmesan cheese is a versatile ingredient that adds a burst of flavor to various dishes. If you have a surplus and want to prevent it from going to waste, freezing is an excellent option. Here’s how you can do it:
- Choose the Right Parmesan: Opt for a block or wheel of Parmesan cheese instead of pre-grated varieties. The quality and texture of the cheese are better preserved when freezing in larger pieces.
- Portion Control: Cut the cheese into manageable portions or grate it if you prefer. This allows you to use only what you need without thawing the entire block.
- Wrap It Up: Wrap the cheese portions tightly in plastic wrap, ensuring there are no exposed areas to prevent freezer burn.
- Double Protection: Place the wrapped cheese portions inside a resealable freezer bag or an airtight container. This extra layer protects against odors and moisture.
- Label and Date: Don’t forget to label each package with the date of freezing. It helps you keep track of freshness.
- Thawing: When you need to use the cheese, simply transfer it to the refrigerator to thaw overnight. It will retain its flavor and texture remarkably well.
How Do You Defrost Parmesan?
Defrosting parmesan cheese properly is important to retain texture and flavor. Here are some tips:
- Defrost frozen parmesan cheese in the refrigerator overnight. This slowly thaws the cheese while preventing moisture loss.
- Place the frozen block or grated parmesan in a bowl to catch any drips as it defrosts.
- Defrosting at room temperature for a couple of hours also works well. Ensure the cheese does not sit out for too long.
- Do not defrost parmesan cheese on the kitchen counter or at very warm temperatures. This causes too-rapid thawing and moisture loss.
- The outer part may defrost before the center if frozen in a large block. Check and break frozen pieces if needed for more even thawing.
- Gently break up any large clumps of grated parmesan cheese as it defrosts.
- Avoid defrosting parmesan cheese in the microwave as it can become rubbery. Microwave low power for very short bursts if needed.
- Drain off any accumulated liquid after the parmesan cheese defrosts. Pat dry with paper towels.
Use defrosted parmesan cheese right away for the best flavor and texture. Freeze again if not used immediately. The defrosted cheese tends to become slightly drier. Grate or finely chop to compensate for any crumbliness after freezing.
How to Use Frozen Parmesan Cheese?
Frozen parmesan cheese can be used in cooking, baking, and garnishing just like fresh cheese. Here are some tips:
- Grated frozen parmesan is easiest to use directly from the freezer. Simply grate off what you need.
- Add the frozen grated parmesan at the end when preparing soups, risotto, or pasta. The heat will gently melt the cheese into the dish.
- Use chunks of frozen parmesan when baking egg dishes like frittatas, tarts, or quiches. It will dissolve nicely into the custard.
- Frozen parmesan chips or crisps can go directly into salads, pasta bakes, or on top of pizza.
- Combine frozen parmesan pieces or cubes into dips, pestos, dressings, and marinades. The food processor will break it down smoothly.
- For seasoning, finely grate frozen parmesan over meats, sandwiches, salads, or buttery vegetables while still frozen.
- Allow extra defrosting time if using large frozen parmesan wedges. Cut, shred, or crumble into pieces first.
Avoid freezing parmesan again after defrosting. Use defrosted parmesan cheese within a week or two for best quality.
How to Keep Parmesan Cheese in the Freezer for Longer?
Parmesan cheese can be frozen for extended periods if properly packaged. Here are some useful tips:
- Buy high-quality parmesan and freeze it at peak freshness for longer viability. Cave-aged is best.
- Ensure no cross-contamination when freezing. Use clean equipment and containers.
- Cut larger wedges into smaller portions before freezing. They freeze faster and defrost better.
- Wrap cheese pieces tightly in plastic wrap pushing out all air. Then enclose it in a freezer bag.
- For grated parmesan, spread it on a baking sheet and freeze first before transferring it to an airtight freezer container.
- Add a slip of paper inside the container or bag when freezing, noting the variety and date.
- Place parmesan cheese towards the back of the freezer where temperature fluctuation is minimal.
- Avoid opening the freezer door frequently to limit ice crystal formation and freezer burn.
If using a deep freezer, keep the temperature at 0oF or below. Consider vacuum sealing the wrapped cheese. Store parmesan in the freezer for no more than 8-12 months for optimum flavor and texture.
How To Tell If Parmesan Cheese Gone Bad?
Parmesan cheese will show signs when it has spoilt and is no longer safe to eat. Here is how to tell:
- Check the expiry date and storage conditions. Do not consume if the date is crossed.
- Look for mold growth on the cheese. Parmesan with blue, green, or white mold spots should be discarded.
- The texture becomes excessively gritty, crumbly, or dry if parmesan cheese has dried out or frozen/defrosted badly.
- Smell the cheese. Rancid or sour odors mean parmesan has likely spoiled.
- The taste is very bitter, unpleasantly sharp, or acidic due to bacteria growth.
- Noticeable changes in color from pale to yellow or dark brown hues signal spoilage.
- Softening in texture and surface oiliness also indicate parmesan cheese has gone bad.
- For pre-grated parmesan in containers, check for pinkish or yellow discoloration of the powder.
- Observe for strange bubbling, beading of oil, or white film on the surface.
- Parmesan that has been frozen and defrosted repeatedly tends to spoil quickly. Discard if over 6 months old even if frozen.
- When in doubt, remember the motto – “When in doubt, throw it out”. It’s not worth the risk.
Parmesan that is aged well, stored properly, and consumed by expiry dates can stay safe and tasty for extended periods. But once spoilage signs appear, it is best to discard and not consume the cheese.
Q1. What is the best way to freeze Parmesan cheese?
A1. Grate or shred Parmesan cheese, then freeze in airtight bags or containers. Parmesan freezes well for up to 4 months.
Q2. Why can’t you freeze Parmesan cheese?
A2. Parmesan cheese can actually be successfully frozen, contrary to popular belief. It maintains a good texture when grated before freezing.
Q3. Can I freeze freshly grated Parmesan?
A3. Yes, freshly grated Parmesan cheese can be frozen in freezer bags or airtight containers for 3-4 months.
Q4. How long does Parmesan last in the freezer?
A4. Grated Parmesan will last frozen for about 4 months before moisture loss and texture changes occur.
Q5. What cheese can you not freeze?
A5. Soft, high-moisture cheeses like ricotta, cottage cheese and cream cheese do not freeze well due to curdling. Hard cheeses freeze fine.
Q6. How long does Parmesan cheese last in the fridge?
A6. An opened block of Parmesan will last 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator. Grated Parmesan lasts 1-2 weeks refrigerated.