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Method and safety of waxing hard cheese to store unrefrigerated


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My daughter is into ways of preserving food. She has learned to can and is learning to pickle and has asked me about waxing hard cheese for storage outside of the refrigerator.

I have absolutely no knowledge of this method of storing cheese.
A very quick Google suggested it was a very bad idea! But she claims she has done some reading, and has not come across anything to discourage her.

So I thought I would reach out.  

This is what I found. 

“Waxing cheese is a method to minimize mold growth on the surface of cheese. It cannot prevent growth or survival of many illness-causing bacteria. In fact, it may promote anaerobic (absence of oxygen) bacteria growth, such as botulism. The practice of waxing cheese for storage is considered extremely unsafe.

 

 

Edited by Anna N
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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Seems reasonable advice.  Botulism has the pH range it doesn't like, but it is also not the only bug that likes no oxygen and can do people harm... so don't count on wax to preserve your cheese, particularly in the modern world of HVAC.  Maybe try it if your only other option is starving over the long cold winter... but the number of people with that set of options today is very near zero.

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Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

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I gather that the practice is used by preppers so maybe if you're expecting an apocalypse then a little botulism or other bacterial disease kind of goes with the territory?

 

From a quality perspective, it doesn't sound particularly appealing to me.  From a cheesemaking supply company (https://cheesemaking.com)

Quote

Waxing Store Bought Cheese 
Wow, wax is flying off the shelf here! Many people are trying to prepare for a different type of future. Here is our short explanation of waxing store bought cheese.

Usually cheese bought in the grocery store is an already aged to perfection finished product. Waxing it in small pieces may cause some problems. If a cheese is not turned on a regular basis gravity will cause all the moisture to fall to the bottom causing a mushy mess under the wax. We would suggest you buy whole wheels or make your own cheeses and after waxing them, turn over at least once a week to prevent problems. We also suggest you air dry your cheese for 2-3 days prior to waxing.

 

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