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This question talks about feta cheese in a brine or milk bath lasting up to three months. What about crumbled feta?

I was looking through the fridge, and found a 1/2 pound open container of crumbled feta. I have only used about an ounce of it. There is no sign of mold on it, and it smells like feta cheese. A small sample tasted okay. The amazing thing is that I bought it in October or November: 8-10 months ago!

I have a recipe that calls for almost a 1/2 pound of feta, and I will be the only one eating it (so I'm not trying to impress anybody!).

I dislike wasting food, but I dislike being sick even more!

Is it safe to use dry crumbled feta that is so old?

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  • Did you end up eating it? How did it turn out? Mar 29, 2019 at 18:24

8 Answers 8

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I go through a vast amount of feta. It is the queen cheese on my table, always present, and also my main one with my savory baking or salads. Feta is traditional cheese for my country, so I grew up with it, many types of it. My mom would buy many months worth feta and keep it in a brine in a huge pot, without putting it in a refrigerator. With high salt, feta is preserved perfectly. It really will not go bad for even an year if kept in the right salt concentration and if the cheese is fully immersed in the brine.

Here in the US, though, feta cheese many times has very little or no brine. Without brine, feta will go bad in a few weeks, even in a fridge. That was my first mistake I made when I moved to the US. I had to throw away tasteless softened feta after a few weeks. But I learned. I now buy feta either in brine in cans (Bulgarian made, for example), or only a smaller amount if it is in a plastic sealed pack. I don't spend time to make my own brine.

I use a lot of crumbled feta as well - for salads and baking. I do like ease of readiness to use crumbled feta.

Crumbled feta is sold with no brine at all in any store (which makes sense; it would just disintegrate and sediment at the bottom would become useless); so without brine it will go bad, get moldy - I've gone through that learning curve too.

I buy my crumbled feta from Costco, which is more than I need for my one use. My solution to that is just putting the cheese in the freezer. That way, I don't have to worry about it getting moldy or wasting it in case I don't use it soon enough. The freezer will preserve crumbled feta in its original condition, and it will thaw perfectly. I usually don't even thaw the whole pack; I just take what I need and quickly put the rest back in the freezer to avoid thawing the unused portion. If the cheese did not go through freeze-thaw cycle and is dry enough (no liquid added), it will not become single block of ice that will be hard to handle; it will stay as separate curdles if kept frozen all the time making it easy to scoop what you need.

You also can divide cheese in portions and freeze in Ziploc bags. Freezing works perfect for me. Hope this helps.

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  • Incredibly useful answer from a true Feta expert. Thank you so much! Jan 18 at 7:43
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I wouldn't claim to be an expert, nor would I want to give bad health advice. But generally, it's easy to tell if a cheese is still safe to eat - if, as you said, it doesn't have mold that isn't supposed to be there, and doesn't smell. If it were me, I'd eat it as long as it still has the same texture, color, and smell as it started with.

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I have eaten feta cheese for years after the expiration date. The feta is refrigerated tightly closed in the same container purchase and it’s crumbled feta. I have never seen signs of mold, as a matter of fact the older the feta the better it tastes. I purchased it from Sam’s wholesale and feta lasts for years. I haven’t had a problem but I don’t recommend it. However, it's my method and it works for me.

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  • Thank you Rosetta. If you have a moment, can you edit your post for clarity? I'm having a little trouble understanding the part that states "I have never seen signs of mold matter of fact the older the feta the better it taste". Since you are a new user, I don't know if you have sufficient rep to edit even your own post. I upvoted your helpful post to get you started with a little rep to hopefully resolve that possible issue. Jul 28, 2021 at 4:41
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No, feta does not last that long. Once it is out of the brine, you have to treat it as a perishable food.

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  • But crumbled feta is often sold without the brine to start with...
    – Robert
    Jun 25, 2016 at 16:47
  • @Robert I have never seen feta without brine sold without refrigeration, crumbled or not
    – rumtscho
    Jun 25, 2016 at 16:48
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    Right, but the OP said it was in the fridge.
    – Robert
    Jun 25, 2016 at 16:49
  • And perishable food lasts a few days to weeks in the fridge depending on what kind it is, but never a year. Feta tends to get maybe 10 days in the fridge when open and brineless.
    – rumtscho
    Jun 25, 2016 at 16:49
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    The crumbled non-brined feta in my fridge is good till July 19, so about a month to go. We bought it about 3 or 4 weeks ago, and I doubt it came fresh from the factory at that point.
    – Robert
    Jun 25, 2016 at 16:52
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According to eatbydate.com Feta Cheese should last a week past its printed date in the refrigerator unopened. The site suggests that soft cheeses do not have a long shelf life.

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Should be fine. You have seen no sign of change in the cheese. Remember, making cheese is a way of preserving milk. And feta is cured in brine -- salt is a further preservative.

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  • Surely there's a difference between feta that's still in brine and feta that's sitting in a tub of air?
    – Catija
    Jun 23, 2016 at 22:03
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Soft cheeses are the #1 cause listeria if not handled properly. Feta typically has a 5-7 day shelf life, once opened, no matter what the expire date says. I would not risk eating any soft cheese that has expired shelf life.

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  • Feta is not a soft cheese, and its salt content increases its shelf life whether opened or not.
    – Sneftel
    Feb 6 at 9:57
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I have been eating crumbled and block feta cheese at least two weeks after opening for years. We have never gotten sick although I have thrown it out if it became mushy or got a yellowish tint to it. I am just learning about getting listeria (scarey). I don't like wet feta; I like it dry on my salads, unless of course I put it in an omelet or extra inside spinach pie. In any case I am not saying you should do what I do but I do not agree that it only lasts 5-7 days after opening. Now as far as deli counter feta that's in brine I always ask for a certain size chunk and this kind does get dry and tinted after about 10 days so I throw it out. It's a rough judgement but good luck everyone and stay safe and healthy.

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