Freezing cheddar?

So I wanted some sharp cheddar both for future cooking and a long term round of cheese and crackers. I bought a large block (larger than I usually get) because it was on sale, and thus cheaper than buying the pre-shredded and a smaller block.

If I eat part of it and grate part of it, and want to save the rest for future salad topping and/or use in cooking (the two most common uses for me), can/should I freeze it? In what form? How wrapped? How long can I keep it there? (I’ve kept pre-shredded bags frozen for quite a while before, but I’m not sure if this situation is any different).

Thanks in advance!

My mom used to do this, buy a huge block of cheddar, shred it and freeze it in plastic bags. She’d add a tablespoon of flour to the bag to keep the shreds from sticking together.

I think frozen cheese works OK in cooked foods but not so great used “fresh” like on salads and sandwiches. Depends on your tolerance level for texture/quality degradation.

The bagged shredded cheese you buy has been coated with cornstarch to keep it from sticking together, like the flour that AuntiePam’s mom used. This is helpful, but also makes it less melty when heated.

I freeze x-sharp cheddar all the time, either cubed or shredded, and I don’t add anything to keep it from sticking together . . . not that much of a problem.

That’s a cruel thing to do to a nice cheddar. Ice crystals tend to disrupt the finer structure, and not only is the flavor altered, but the aging process is brought to a halt!

Here’s a fairly reputable source about freezing and cheese: http://www.ochef.com/86.htm

Short answer: soft cheeses ok, hard cheeses (including cheddar) to be avoided.

I have done that from time to time with a large block of cheddar. The problem is that freezing mucks up the texture and makes the cheese more crumbly. It would be fine for cooking, but not for serving on crackers.

I find that if you cut the block into smaller sections and wrap each tightly with plastic wrap, they will keep for months in the fridge. When it comes time to serve, the cheese may need some mold trimmed off the exterior, but that does not affect the taste or texture of the remaining block.

I would disagree. I’ve found mold to irrevocably alter the flavor of an aged cheddar, and not for the better. Less aged cheddars, not so much. but who wants a minimally aged cheddar? :dubious:

I avoid this by buying smaller pieces of older cheeses, sealed at the factory, and then leaving them untouched in my fridge for up to 5 or 6 years. I once enjoyed an 11 year old cheddar as a result. Now that was sharp!

I agree with this. I’ve been known to buy a block of cheddar from Sam’s, shred it in the Cuisenart and toss it in the freezer for use in quesadillas and casseroles, but that’s only because those don’t generally (there are exceptions) require a high-quality cheese. If you’re going to make a dish where the flavor of the cheese is supposed to stand out, then don’t use cheese from the freezer.

I shred and freeze all kinds of hard cheese (usually the last 2 inches off a brick) - keep adding it to an airtight container in the freezer. No, it’s not fine, exquisitely aged eating cheese. It’s all crumbly in texture. But when I need shredded cheddar, that container in there is handier than a pocket on a shirt, for omelets, quesadillas, or burritos.