Does Parmesan Cheese Go Bad?

Does Parmesan cheese go bad? That is the question anyone who uses this very hard cheese asks themselves when it comes time to cook with it. The first mention of Parmesan cheese in history was in the fourteenth century, but it has been used for centuries. The answer to this question is simple, and there are many ways that this cheese can be stored to guarantee it a long life in your refrigerator. Because of that, you can buy Parmesan cheese in pretty big amounts if you use it a lot.

What is the best way to store Parmesan cheese?

You can buy Parmesan cheese in blocks, but the most popular way is those cans that have the powdered version of the cheese. Does this really make a difference in how long it lasts? Parmesan is a hard cheese; people usually buy it by the block then simply keep it in an air tight storage container or an air tight Ziploc bag. The cheese can last for months like this, if any moldy spots do appear then all you need to do is cut that part out and the cheese will still be edible. Usually, the best method is to grate it. When you grate Parmesan, there is less of a chance of it developing mold. As strange as this may sound, the freezer is the best place to put the bag or container of grated Parmesan. There is no need to worry, the cheese will not freeze, and it will keep for a very long time there. If you do not want to put it in the freezer it will stay fresh in the refrigerator as well.

Parmesan "Reggiano" cheese
Image used under Creative Commons from Robin Ellis

What is the shelf life of Parmesan cheese?

Parmesan is a hard cheese, which means that it tends to last a very long time in block form. Just how long does Parmesan last? For those cooks that like the block cheese, and keep it in a sealed container, the shelf like can be from three to six months past any sort of expiration date. If a mold spot then appears then it can be cut out and the cheese will continue to be just fine in the refrigerator. Those that prefer to grate (you can also buy grated Parmesan cheese) the cheese and place it in the freezer have reported their Parmesan has lasted up to a year; the cheese was still good, but they made the decision to dispose of the cheese for safety reasons.

How to tell if Parmesan cheese is bad?

Usually when a cheese goes bad, it is easy to see the mold spots. With hard cheeses like Parmesan, the mold spots can be removed, but what if the cheese is grated? When grated, Parmesan is white to beige in color. If you are wondering if your grated cheese has gone bad, open the container and check the color and smell. Parmesan going bad will smell funny, and the color will look different. Instead of looking white or beige, the color of the powdered cheese will be more of a yellow or darker beige.

What is another simple way to tell if the Parmesan has gone bad?

Look at the grated cheese closely, is it still loose or has it become clumpy? Parmesan grated can be clumpy, but a shake of the container will break up those little clumps. Every kitchen has moisture in the air and the refrigerator especially, so it is normal to see the grated Parmesan turn into little balls. The difference between moisture causing those little clumps and spoilage is that they won’t break up when you shake the container and they will feel spongy or wet to the touch. If those Parmesan clumps stick and do not break up, then it is a good idea to throw the cheese away rather than risk getting sick.

Parmesan cheese has been used in cooking for centuries because of its distinct flavor that makes any meal even more delicious. The cheese is sold either in blocks or grated inside a container. Many people who buy it often ask, does Parmesan cheese go bad? Any cheese can go bad whether it is in block or grated form, but Parmesan can last longer if it is kept in sealed container. Parmesan cheese grated and kept in a container in a freezer will make the cheese last longer, even up to a year before you may want to consider throwing it out.