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!
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.
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.