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I am a cheese lover. I always enjoy finding unique cheeses and trying them. However I always end up with a plethora of opened cheeses which opens up the question of; What is the shelf-life of opened cheeses? Do they differ per cheese. I don't want to waste the cheese!

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2 Answers 2

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Yes, it differs by cheese.

As a very general and vague rule, the softer the cheese, the less time it will last. Large chunks may last longer than small or grated pieces.

A ripe Camembert is at its peak for hours. A nice chunk of Parmesan may last for weeks.

Dairy Googness summarizes as follows:

  • Fresh cheese: a few days to 2 weeks
  • Soft cheese: 1 week
  • Semi-soft cheese: 2 to 3 weeks
  • Firm cheese: 5 weeks
  • Hard cheese: 10 months

Note: my opinion on the above is that the firm and hard times are a little long for opened cheese.

Eat By Date is more conservative, suggesting only up to a couple of months for opened hard cheeses.

You can also freeze cheese with minimal loss of quality, which will substantially increase its shelf life.

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Many cheeses spoil due to aerobic (oxygen-requiring) growth of unwanted bacteria and/ or fungi. I typically vacuum seal any hard cheese that I am not going to use within the next few days to remove that necessary oxygen. This technique usually buys quite a bit of storage time (dependent upon the specific cheese, moisture content, etc.). I have yet to have a block of Romano or Parmesan go bad when vacuum sealed. However, on the other end of the spectrum soft cheeses, such as brie, I will only purchase what I intend to consume within a few days and I never vacuum seal it. The mold on brie is both wanted and edible, and vacuum sealing would just squish the cheese into something not particularly appetizing.

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