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A few weeks ago, I went to Amsterdam and bought several pounds of cheese, including one massive (3 pound) round of Edam. It was wrapped in wax paper and was told that I could leave it out on cold, shady spot of the counter until it was broken up, at which point I needed to refridgate it. I left it in the paper for a couple of weeks and imagine my surprise when I went to get a slice and it had what looks like white mold growing on the top. It has spent only three weeks on the counter and appears to be in a yellow parafin wax (it's got printing on it, so I'm assuming it's wax).

Can I still eat it? If I wash off the mold, would that make it better? Should I have put it in the fridge?

If it is edible, how exactly should I store it after it's cut?

I was really looking forward to that cheese.

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I believe that all of the answers here still apply: Is it safe to eat moldy cheese if you slice off the edges? –  Aaronut May 19 '11 at 19:54
    
But doesn't answer my questions about future storage. Also, I believe that this is different because my cheese in question has a wax, which is not addressed in the other question. –  Joel Shea May 19 '11 at 20:07
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Mold is mold, doesn't really matter how it was stored once it's clearly visible. –  Aaronut May 19 '11 at 20:12
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And the wax? That doesn't protect it in any way? –  Joel Shea May 19 '11 at 20:16
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How warm is your house? You might find your definition of cold and shady might be different from a Netherlanders, it's pretty cold there all the time! So that would effect shelf life –  TFD May 19 '11 at 22:36

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I believe that if you cut/scrape off the mold the rest will be fine.

With a huge chunk of wrapped and refrigerated parmigiano reggiano, for example, I have been scraping it off before grating it for over 18 months now with no ill effects.

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For firm cheeses scraping isn't even necessary. A quick wipe with white vinegar will often take care of it. –  Sobachatina May 19 '11 at 20:42
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Reggiano is a hard cheese. Edam is not. Mold doesn't grow roots in hard cheese, but that is a major risk for soft or semi-hard cheese. Not to mention, anecdotal evidence isn't good guidance for food safety. –  Aaronut May 19 '11 at 22:58
    
@Aaronut I have done the same with cheddar, which has a similar hardness to Edam. Even after several months in the fridge, it continues to be edible once the outer parts are removed. –  Doug May 20 '11 at 12:46
    
I've been eating dutch cheeses all my life and I've never hesitated to eat a piece after cutting off the mold. –  BaffledCook May 23 '11 at 17:03
    
@aaronut: whatscookingamerica.net/Q-A/Mold.htm (citation) –  Satanicpuppy Sep 9 '11 at 22:01

My father used to work in a grocery store and they used to do the vinegar thing. He also told use to turn our cheese if stored for long periods so the gases would not come to the top and form mold? Whatever,I do it when I think of it.

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It looks to me that most molds you find on cheese are picked up from the cheese counter where you buy them! That's the only reason I can see for mold appearing inside the wrapping. Now, that suggests that the molds are traditional cheese types, so they are likely to be fairly harmless in most cases.

I cut off mold from hard cheese, the same as most people, but I would remind people that if the knife passes through the mold when making the cut, then it is probably carrying mold spores onto the uncontaminated cheese.

So the best way to remove the mold depends on cutting from a "clean" area to remove a moldy area, and if the knife passes through the mold the blade should be cleaned for each cut (I use paper towel - perhaps I should moisten it with vinegar, like Sobatchina).

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