Does string cheese go bad? String cheese is a popular snack food made with processed milk. Kids love it because it’s stringy, which makes string cheese fun to eat. Since string cheese is heavily processed and it contains preservatives, it boasts of a long shelf life. Still, it’s a dairy product so string cheese won’t keep forever. Our advice is to consume your stash as soon as possible for optimal flavor. But if say, you took advantage of a great deal on string cheese, you can store this product and enjoy great results.
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How to Store String Cheese?
Storing String Cheese in the Refrigerator
String cheese can be stored the same way as any type of processed cheese, chilled in the fridge. Since string cheese is packed individually, the original packaging works perfectly in preserving the quality and flavor of the cheese. You want to keep the temperature at a steady 40°F or lower to extend the shelf life of string cheese. To prevent the cheese from absorbing fridge flavors, you can store the sticks in an airtight container.
We don’t recommend storing this product at room temperature for more than a couple of hours unless it’s been chilled or kept chilled with ice or an ice pack. As with any type of dairy products, letting string cheese sit at room temperature for too long will increase the risk of bacterial growth or cross-contamination. String cheese has high water content and this makes the product a food safety risk. Also, semi-soft cheese like string cheese will quickly degrade at room temperature so changes in taste are quite possible if it’s left sitting for too long on the counter.
Storing String Cheese in the Freezer
We do not recommend freezing string cheese because the freezing temps could ruin the product’s consistency. The cheese could become much softer after thawing or it will lose its stringy texture completely. Still, this can be done in a pinch if only to avoid waste. No need to prep or transfer the string cheese in a different packaging before freezing. You can use its original packaging, but only if you are planning to freeze it for a couple of weeks. You have to add a layer of protection, such as aluminum foil or a resealable plastic bag if you want to keep the string cheese in the freezer for longer.
Image used under Creative Commons from Quinn Dombrowski
Shelf Life of String Cheese
The shelf life of string cheese will be indicated in the packaging. As long as it is stored properly, string cheese will keep up to 6 months in the fridge, just like American cheese and other types of processed dairy. Do note, however, that the shelf life of string cheese and other processed cheeses are not carved in stone. These products could still be used a few weeks after their expiry date but use it at your own risk.
How to Tell if String Cheese has Gone Bad?
It’s easy to tell if string cheese is no longer safe to eat. Just check for funky growths or bluish-grey specks all over the cheese. This is a sign of mold growth; throw the string cheese in the trash at the first sign of molding. If the product has developed an off-color or an odd flavor, toss the string cheese in the trash. If the string cheese has been left in the fridge for a year or so, err to the side of caution and toss it in the trash even if it still looks good enough to eat.
Does string cheese go bad? It will go bad at some point because dairy products – soft and semi-soft cheeses in particular – are sensitive to temperature changes. Cheeses are the kind of products that are best bought in small batches but as long as you packed the string cheese properly, it will keep well in the fridge for months!