Cheese has earned its place as one of the most versatile food products around.
It can be used as the main ingredient for all sorts of recipes – from fondues to sandwiches. That is why it would be extremely handy to always have some ready at all times.
Gruyere cheese is undeniably one of the most elegant options. In this guide, we’ll try to shed light on the matter of freezing Gruyere cheese.
To be more precise: should you even do it? After all, Gruyere is one of the more expensive cheeses around. You would not want to ruin it with a poor storage method.
So can you freeze Gruyere cheese? Yes, you can freeze Gruyere cheese. Its texture and structure will be well maintained for as long as 2 to 6 months, depending on the quality of the cheese. For best results, wrap Gruyere twice with a tight seal on the packaging before freezing.
Fortunately, this pricy but yummy cheese can be frozen and stored for later. However, there is a proper way to do it. So, be sure to keep reading as we delve deeper into the matter!
What is Gruyere Cheese?
Gruyere cheese takes its name from the quaint town of Gruyères, Switzerland – where the cheese was first made. It is typically made using cow’s milk that has been cured and aged for six to twelve months.
Before anything else, we need to take a closer look at Gruyere cheese and what sets it apart from other types of cheeses out there. After all, there are so many kinds of cheeses that can be quite easy to mistake one for the other.
One of the first things you’ll notice with Gruyere is the distinctive holes on its surface, much like those typical of Swiss cheese.
The cultured bacteria and the unique fermentation process helps create these holes – a direct result of the gas bubbles. Of course, these holes, also commonly referred to as eyes, are notably smaller and fewer compared to other Swiss cheeses.
In terms of taste, Gruyere is best described as creamy and rich with an unmistakable hint of nuttiness. It is also a slightly pale yellow color. Gruyere is also best described as a firm cheese despite being smooth-melting.
The fact that it makes for an excellent melting cheese only makes the Gruyere that much more versatile and useful in the kitchen.
For instance, it would be practically profane to think of a traditional fondue recipe without Gruyere as the main component. The same can be said for classic grilled cheese sandwiches like the Croque monsieur.
That said, Gruyere is best used as a table cheese. This means that it shines best when eaten in slices. Of course, you can eat them as part of a well-curated cheese platter or as a main ingredient for your favorite sandwich.
Why Freeze Gruyere?
There is a wide array of cheeses that can be frozen for as long as 2 to 6 months with little consequences.
This is true for moist, artisanal, and block deli cheese. Of course, just remember that freezing will do nothing to improve the quality of the food you put in. Rather, the freezer will only help preserve the freshness of the Gruyere.
Take note, however, that certain cheeses can lose some of their texture after the fact.
Luckily, hard cheeses like Gruyere freeze better as they continue aging over time. In addition to this, freezing won’t affect Gruyere’s flavor profile either.
That said, when dealing with something as delectable as Gruyere cheese, you should always prioritize how to maximize its shelf life and prolong its longevity.
This is because you want your Gruyere cheese to be as flavorful and as fresh as possible whenever you need to use it. Failure to do so will give lead your Gruyere cheese to dry-out or turn moldy.
Freezing is the most efficient way to do just that.
Remember, the last thing you want is to ruin a perfectly good batch of Gruyere cheese by not storing it properly. By properly freezing your Gruyere, you are effectively preventing it from going to waste.
How To Freeze Gruyere Cheese
Freezing your Gruyere cheese is a straightforward procedure.
For instance, if you are freezing shredded Gruyere cheese, then all you need to do is to reseal its original packaging and stick it in the freezer. However, if you are planning to freeze it for as long as 2 months, then you will need to do a couple more things.
But before we talk about the steps you need to take when freezing Gruyere cheese, there are a couple of things you need to prepare first.
Listed below are the materials you will need for this process:
- Wax Parchment Paper or Plastic Cling Wrap
- Freezer bag
Once you have all your materials ready, we can get started. Follow these steps to freeze Gruyere cheese to get the best results:
- Cut the cheese into Portions – For better results, try dividing your block of cheese into portions. This will make defrosting easier and more practical later on.
- First Wrap – The first thing you need to do is to take your plastic wrap or parchment paper and cover the whole portion with it. To do this, take out a large section of your wrapper and make sure that it covers the whole area of your cheese. Moreover, make sure that there are no wrinkles by smoothing out the surfaces.
- Check your Seal – Double check your wrap to make sure that it properly seals in the cheese. Remember, the point of wrapping your cheese before freezing is to prevent it from drying out. Needless to say, your seal will only be as good as your wrap. You can also put tape on the edges to strengthen the seal even more.
- Second Wrap – You will need to repeat the process of wrapping your Gruyere cheese. This time, you’ll need at least two additional layers of wrap before sealing everything. Again, you need to ensure that there is a tight seal. Otherwise, your cheese will start drying up in the freezer over time.
- Place in Freezer Bag – Once you have completely wrapped your cheese, you can now proceed to put them in your freezer-safe bags. You need to ensure that there is as little excess air as possible in the bag. Give it a good press and roll the bag to push out any remaining air. Seal the bag and ensure that it is airtight.
- Freeze – You can now put your Gruyere cheese in the freezer. Just make sure that it is properly labeled – indicating the date of freezing. Take it out when you need to use the cheese.
As a rule, you will want your freezer to be kept at just below freezing to ensure that the taste of the Gruyere is least affected. While some loss of texture and flavor may occur, this cheese will still be good enough to use in sauces, soups, and casseroles.
The procedure presented above will help your Gruyere cheese last for at least 2 months.
However, the actual time may vary depending on the quality of the cheese itself. For instance, some Gruyere cheese can retain its best qualities for as long as 8 months in the freezer.
Storing Gruyere Cheese
It should come as no surprise that leaving your Gruyere cheese at room temperature for extended periods is a recipe for disaster.
Remember, bacteria are most active at the temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F. In those conditions, bacteria are able to grow and multiply rapidly.
As a rule, you should never leave Gruyere for more than 2 hours at room temperature, and you should pay close attention to any signs of spoilage.
If you notice any strange odors or changes in its flavor and appearance then do not hesitate to throw it out. The same rule applies if you notice any signs of mold.
More Storage Tips for Gruyere Cheese
Of course, the actual life span of your Gruyere cheese depends on several factors – storage conditions being one of the most important.
While freezing is the most effective way to extend Gruyere’s longevity, there are a couple of storage alternatives and tips you may want to take note of:
- Pay Attention to the Label – At this point, it should be obvious that you need to pay close attention to the dates shown on the cheese’s packaging. The expiration dates are there for a reason, after all.
- Maximize your Fridge – As stated above, leaving Gruyere cheese at room temperature is simply not safe. However, if you do not wish to use your freezer just yet, then know that your fridge would work well enough. In fact, an unopened Gruyere cheese block can last as long as 3 months in the fridge.
- Get Fresh Cheese – One of the most effective ways to ensure that your cheese can last longer is to always buy it fresh. It only makes sense, after all. Once the packaging has been opened, the cheese should be able to last for around 7 days in the fridge.
- Use Airtight Containers – You must use airtight containers to properly store your cheese. This applies both to freezing and refrigeration. The containers not only prevent your cheese from drying out but they also keep any contaminants out.
There you have it, a handy guide to freezing Gruyere cheese.
If you always want to have some of these elegant cheese at arm’s reach, then make sure to follow the steps we’ve covered here.