Every cheese lover will notice when fresh mozzarella makes its way to the table. This iconic, soft, and creamy product of Italy is found in everything from pizza to salads. Like any cheese, you may want to preserve it for later. Is freezing your mozzarella a good idea?
You can freeze grated mozzarella cheese. It will last up to three months in its original package and up to 5 or 6 months in an airtight or vacuum-sealed container.
Just keep in mind that mozzarella has a high moisture content, therefore freezing it may cause it to dry out and crumble when used again. Freezing your mozzarella is for short-term storage only. If you want to maximize the freshness, it is recommended that you vacuum seal the container.
The rest of this article will cover the details of freezing and storing grated mozzarella cheese.
Can You Freeze Grated Mozzarella Cheese Safely?
Grated mozzarella can be frozen safely. The only downside is that it may dry it out or cause it to crystallize with ice. By using a vacuum-sealed bag or an airtight container, you can reduce this moisture and reduce the likelihood of freezer burn or crumbly cheese.
The process of making mozzarella is a time-old tradition that involves soaking it in a brine and using a lot of moisture. Think of how a baker kneads dough to make a loaf of bread – almost an identical process to making mozzarella.
The only difference is that the “loaf,” in this case, is made of milk. Through a complicated process known as pasta filata, this milk solidifies and retains its moisture. This moisture is what throws a wrench into freezing your mozzarella. Water freezes into ice cubes in your freezer in the same way that just about any moisture will freeze. The moisture found in mozzarella could potentially dry out your cheese.
Consider these points:
- Moisture in your mozzarella will cause it to crystallize with ice which will dry out your cheese or make it crumbly and unpleasant
- Properly freezing your mozzarella cheese and shelf life
- What to do when it is time to defrost your mozzarella
This is something you can avoid fairly easily with proper types of storage.
You have undoubtedly seen a freezer burn before. It is not the most welcoming sight to behold on your food. Just be sure to check your container before you place it in the fridge.
Freezer Burn And How It Affects Frozen Mozzarella
Freezer burn is not a friendly sight for anyone. Too much water excreting from your food can lead to freezer burn. What happens is the moisture escapes, and a sheet of what looks like ice shavings has completely taken over your favorite dish.
Freezer burn is not lethal to consume. You can eat it safely. What can happen is this will water your food down, ruin the flavor, or otherwise destroy the texture. For something like mozzarella, this can completely ruin it. The texture is one of the more recognizable traits of this soft cheese, and the flavor is already mild as it is. Taking away its flavor completely ruins the mozzarella experience.
This is the biggest reason why you should try and avoid freezing your mozzarella. Your best bet is to invest in some vacuum-sealed bags or containers to keep that moisture to an absolute minimum. You are safe to freeze your shredded mozzarella if you take the correct precautions.
How Long Can You Freeze Shredded Mozzarella
Shredded mozzarella cheese can be frozen and kept at peak quality for up to three months in its original packaging and up to 5 months in an airtight container.
How to Properly Freeze Grated Mozzarella
Freezing your mozzarella is not a rigorous task. It is a simple way to make sure you can enjoy your favorite cheese without stressing about shelf life.
If you are planning on taking grated mozzarella out of the freezer within three months, then you can store it in its original packaging. For longer-term storage up to 5 or 6 months, then you will want to put it in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bag.
Keep in mind, that it will likely last a lot longer than the USDA guidelines given, but just expect the quality to slowly deteriorate after the suggested timeframes.
Regardless of what you are storing it in, make sure all of the air is out as best as you can. Seal up everything tightly, but leave a little bit of room for your cheese to settle in. A nice little trick that the pros use is to label their containers with the date. This will help you remember how much time has passed since you put it in the freezer.
How Do You Defrost Shredded Mozzarella Cheese?
There are a couple of options when it comes to defrosting your mozzarella. First things first, ask yourself how much you are going to use. You might want to separate it into smaller bags before you freeze to avoid re-freezing anything. Re-freezing will not do anything good for your mozzarella, so we need to avoid this.
To defrost shredded mozzarella cheese, either move it to the refrigerator overnight or leave it out at room temperature for about half an hour to an hour. Do not sure a microwave or oven to defrost it. Quickly changing mozzarella’s temperature can cause it to harden.
Slow and steady wins the race here.
How Long Does Grated Mozzarella Cheese Last in the Fridge?
Unopened mozzarella cheese will last about 7-8 days in the fridge. Once opened, it will last up to 5 days. Keep in mind that these are “peak freshness” timeframes. Mozarella may remain safe to eat long after these guidelines. If you detect an odd smell or mold is present, throw it out.
Freezing your mozzarella is genuinely safe and easy to do. Just make sure you have what you need first if you care about the flavor and texture. Blindly freezing your mozzarella, whether it is whole or shredded, will cause problems that can be easily avoided with simple steps like storing it in an airtight Ziploc bag—no need to go out and buy anything labor-intensive or follow difficult instructions.
If you do not want to risk it, then that is fine too. Just leave it in its original packaging and store it in the refrigerator. One way or another, mozzarella requires cold storage. Do not leave it out for hours at room temperature. If anything, you have to keep it cold. If you are eating it regularly throughout the week, then just put it in the fridge. If you plan on using it over the course of a few months, then freeze it. It is that easy.
For the stoppin’ by!
For more, check out Does Cheese Need to Be Refrigerated? | It Depends.
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