There’s an easy way to store leftover feta cheese so it lasts for months. Here’s how to freeze feta correctly and safely.
Feta is a type of Greek cheese that has a unique salty taste and bright white color. It’s often made from goat milk, but varieties made from sheep or cow’s milk can be found. It’s the core ingredient in Greek salad and can be found in some truly amazing Middle Eastern recipes too.
How do we stop leftover feta from going to waste? Can we freeze it? And if so, how can we do it properly? Let’s get into it.
The short answer to this question is yes. You can freeze feta cheese. It is easy to find yourself with more cheese than you need, or perhaps have fewer guests show up for dinner, and now you won’t be using the entire block of cheese that you bought. The other issue is that, unlike other kinds of cheese, it has a short shelf life. So if you want to keep your feta cheese longer than you a day, you need a plan. Freezing is one such plan.
The great thing about this is that you get to increase the lifespan of the cheese considerably. This, however, does not come without its effects. We will take a look at some of those. But there are also benefits, which is what makes this a viable option.
How Does Freezing Affect Feta Cheese?
Freezing feta cheese is a great way to increase its shelf life. However, this harms both the taste and the texture of the cheese. While the change may not be that much, it still makes a difference and can throw you off.
When feta cheese is thawed out, it tends to change in texture. You may find it to be a bit brittle. You may not quickly notice this if you were originally looking for a brittle texture. But if you’re looking for something a little more put together, this method might not quite work for you.
When you buy feta cheese, it comes in brine, which keeps it moist with a creamy and velvety texture. When you freeze it, that brine is removed, and whatever is left of it is crystallized and can no longer protect the cheese. As such, it is prone to turning out crumbly. The freezing process goes a further step and drains and freezes any other moisture that may still be in the cheese.
Freezing feta cheese also changes the taste and flavors of the cheese. Feta is known for its tangy and savory taste. It is also creamy, which compliments green salads such as Caesar’s salad so well. However, when you freeze feta, this tangy touch tends to fade away. The intensity is lost along the way during the process of freezing and then thawing. It just won’t taste the same and will be missing that zing it is famous for.
How to Freeze Feta Blocks
The first thing that you will need to do is to prepare the cheese blocks. Feta cheese comes in a liquid meant to keep it smooth, soft, and fresh. However, you will not need it when you are freezing it. As such, drain the brine from the container and then dry the block of cheese. You can do this by patting it dry with a towel. As such, you will need to make sure that you use a highly absorbent material.
Remember that You will leave over some water, so try not to squeeze it all out to the point where you end up breaking the cheese apart. Then cut the cheese into smaller little blocks, as much as you think you would use per serving. This will allow you only to thaw what you need rather than the entire batch. It helps if you could think ahead about what you would want to use the cheese to cut it into blocks that you will need.
Then wrap up the individual blocks in cling wrap and then in a ziplock bag to keep air out. You can then place the bags in the freezer. It also helps a lot to label the different packets to know when you packed them and their sell-by date.
How to Freeze Crumbled Feta
You can also freeze crumbled feta cheese. To do this, start by laying the crumbled cheese on a baking sheet. Spread it and get an even layer. Make sure the baking sheet is lined with aluminum foil or with a silicone mat. You want to make sure that the crumbs are separate and divided. This is how you apportion crumbed cheese. Make sure each portion is the amount that you think you will need for each serving.
Then place the crumbs in the freezer, and when they freeze, transfer them into an airtight container or different ziplock bags. You can then put them back in the freezer.
How Long Does Feta Last in the Freezer?
Feta cheese can go bad, but you can give a little more life by freezing it. And you can rest assured knowing that it will be good for about six months when it is adequately frozen. The downside is that there is a chance that the texture and the taste may not be the same after thawing.
Defrosting & Thawing
To defrost feta cheese, remove it from the freezer about 12 hours before you need to use it. Place it in the fridge and let it thaw out in there. It should be soft enough to use in about 12 hours. The other option would be to place it in a bowl of cold water for between 1 and 2 hours.
Signs That Feta Cheese Has Gone Bad
You can tell that feta cheese has gone bad if it has a foul smell. Also, if mold is growing on it and it is discolored, it’s time to throw it out. Whilst some types of cheese are perfectly fine with mold spores on them, feta cheese is not and it’s a sign that it’s gone bad.
How to Freeze Feta Cheese
- ziplock bags
- feta cheese crumbled or whole block
- If fresh from the pack, drain the brine from the feta and pat dry with a paper towel
- Cut the cheese into ½-inch cubes
- Arrange cubes into groups (each group should contain enough cubes for one serving). Put each group into separate ziplock bags.
- Mark or label each ziplock bag with today’s date
- Freeze for up to 6 months
- Arrange crumbled feta on top of a chopping board or baking sheet, and divide into serving-sized portions.
- Transfer each serving into separate ziplock bags. Mark with date and freeze for up to 6 months.
Can feta cheese be stored at room temperature?
As long as the packaging is unopened, you can keep feta cheese for about a week before needing to refrigerate it.
How long can feta cheese sit out?
You can leave feta cheese out at room temperature for about 2 hours. After this, you are skating on thin ice.
Can you store feta in olive oil?
Yes, you can, it’s one of the effective ways of lengthening shelf life. You can then keep feta in olive oil in the fridge for about two weeks, as long as you refrigerate it.