Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rachel Ray's Advice on Freezing Cheese

When it comes to Italian cheeses, which cheeses are best to freeze? Well, according to our favorite Italian homecooking goddess Rachel Ray the answer would be, "None."

Some cheeses do freeze better than others. Ricotta, for example and other soft-ripened, semi-soft cheeses do not freeze well at all.

Cheddar, on the other hand, can be frozen and used for recipes requiring the cheese to melt but you sacrifice some of the creamy rich flavor in the freeze-dried process. When I lived overseas, in fact, it was cheaper to buy the huge block of cheese, take it home, cut off smaller blocks, wrap them up and freeze what wasn't needed immediately. This rendered the delicate cheese crumbly to eat it plain (such a shame since it was fine cheddar from Holland), but worked fine to cook with. But the macaroni and cheese made from the freshly cut cheese always tasted better than when made with the thawed-out version.

In general Rachel's advice is to buy cheese for what you need for the week, with the exceptions of Parmigiano Reggiano or a Pecorino Romano which keeps for weeks in the fridge and she considers staples in her food pantry.

In other words, don't go out and buy the whole wheel. Just get the amount of cheese you need for your week.


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