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Can I freeze Parmigiano-Reggiano?


markk
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Today I received a gift from a friend in Italy - a 6-pound wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano. The vacuum seal on the cryovac had given out, but that doesn't concern me (should it?). And it wasn't shipped with any cold packs (that doesn't concern me either- should it?)

The question is how to store it. We just don't use that much of it, and I'd hate for it to go bad, which is to say, dry out.

Can I freeze it? Any other suggestions for storing it?

THANKS, ALL!

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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Just put it in the fridge. It'll be fine in there forever. You can freeze it, too, just make surer to pull it out at least a day before you want to use it.

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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You needn't be concerned that the cyrovac was punctured.

In Italy most households store it loosely wrapped in waxed paper in the fridge. It will store that way for a long time. You can also additionally put it into an airtight tupperware box and that will further ensure less loss of moisture - although some aficionados argue that this kills the cheese. Make sure that no moisture is trapped on the surface of the cheese as that will cause a mould to grow on it.

You can freeze it but the crystals of water that form inside the cheese on freezing tend to spoil the texture of the cheese when defrosted. Also some people pay a fortune for aged parmesans so why not effectively age your own in the fridge?

I store mine in waxed paper loosely wrapped in an airtight box in the fridge. The piece I have in there is 8-9 months old and still tastes excellent.

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Freezing works but the frozen cheese is only useful for grating. One thing you might do is try to estimate how much cheese you'll use in 6 months, keep that much in the fridge and freeze the rest. But also consider that you should be using more than is your normal habit, because now you have a high-quality product around.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Just put it in the fridge. It'll be fine in there forever. You can freeze it, too, just make surer to pull it out at least a day before you want to use it.

Just putting it in the freeze will not keep it fine forever. Refrigerators dry things out, including parmesan cheese. Needs to be vacuum sealed to keep in the fridge for an extended period of time.

I like FG's idea - use it more and more...butter and parm make a great pasta. Cheese and pepper make a great pasta. Cheese and butter make a great risotto. A pound makes a great gift. It's damn good with figs and prosciutto. It's damn good alone or with some fine balsamico. Use it or lose it.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Just put it in the fridge. It'll be fine in there forever. You can freeze it, too, just make surer to pull it out at least a day before you want to use it.

Just putting it in the freeze will not keep it fine forever. Refrigerators dry things out, including parmesan cheese. Needs to be vacuum sealed to keep in the fridge for an extended period of time.

I like FG's idea - use it more and more...butter and parm make a great pasta. Cheese and pepper make a great pasta. Cheese and butter make a great risotto. A pound makes a great gift. It's damn good with figs and prosciutto. It's damn good alone or with some fine balsamico. Use it or lose it.

I meant well-wrapped. I didn't literally mean to just put the hunk of cheese in the fridge uncovered. But wrap it well. Most home cooks don't have a vacuum sealer, so I would just recommend a couple layers of wrap, very tight.

But I agree -just use it up. Shave it over everything.

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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I like FG's idea - use it more and more...butter and parm make a great pasta. Cheese and pepper make a great pasta. Cheese and butter make a great risotto. 

Oh, I know lots of things to do with it, (and you left out heavy cream, crisp bacon chunks, and just a teaspoon of tomato paste as a pasta sauce).

The irony here is that I'm on a major diet, having lost 20 pounds in the last 5 weeks, so this makes it a little harder to use up, and I don't want to break my diet over it, which is why I asked for storage ideas.

Sad, I know. But the diet's something I gotta do!

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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I like FG's idea - use it more and more...butter and parm make a great pasta. Cheese and pepper make a great pasta. Cheese and butter make a great risotto. 

Oh, I know lots of things to do with it, (and you left out heavy cream, crisp bacon chunks, and just a teaspoon of tomato paste as a pasta sauce).

The irony here is that I'm on a major diet, having lost 20 pounds in the last 5 weeks, so this makes it a little harder to use up, and I don't want to break my diet over it, which is why I asked for storage ideas.

Sad, I know. But the diet's something I gotta do!

The good news is that hard, dry cheeses are better for low-calorie diets than soft creamy cheeses. Plus, these types of cheeses are usually added to finish a dish so you tend to use less of it. I say use it to gild the lily. :wink:

Roasted asparagus with Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings added towards the end of the cooking time (to help melt it) is a wonderful dish.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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When I was growing up my Grandmother would make broccoli soup, we called it soupy macaroni. Basically, take a pot of water add a few cloves of smashed garlic and chopped broccoli. Cook this for a short while then add a box of elbow macaroni (or whatever other shape you might like). Yes, you cook the pasta in the pot with the broccoli. When you serve the soup generously grate your cheese over top add voila, simple Italian peasant soup.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 4 months later...

I'm so lazy with the vacuum sealer... I'll have to give the new ziploc vacuum bags a try.

I have tried leaving 4lb pieces at room temp and it wasn't a very good idea. When I wrap them well and put them in the fridge they last a little longer, but the special texture of the Parmigiano Reggiano and other cheeses like Pecorino Romano gets lost after a few days.

I usually buy 3-4lb pieces of Parmigiano Reggiano at Teitel Brothers or Locatelli at Casa della Mozzarella and throw them in the fridge, but then rush to use it before quality goes down.

Latelly I've been buying smaller pieces of Locatelli at Costco, which is much closer to me. Price is about the same and it's super fresh. When I run out I just go for more.

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