Feta cheese is a crumbly, creamy, salty, delicious cheese popular in Greek and Mediterranean dishes. There is nothing quite like the hunk of feta found atop a Greek salad.
If you are the type of person who can resist eating a whole block of feta when it’s in the fridge, I applaud you. I can only dream of that level of self-control.
The problem with not devouring feta on sight is that, like most cheeses, it doesn’t have the longest shelf life. Once opened, feta needs to be consumed within 5 - 7 days.
Brined feta lasts longer as long as it is kept submerged in the brine. Once opened, the brined feat can last about a month.
Feta that has reached its shelf life will become dry and gritty. It won’t harm you if you eat it at this stage but it will take all the joy out of eating feta.
Once dried, feta can start developing mold like other cheeses and should not be consumed at this stage.
To extend the shelf life of feta cheese, you can freeze it for up to three months!
If frozen and thawed correctly, you won’t notice too much of a difference between fresh and frozen feta.
How to Freeze Feta
Feta is usually sold as blocks or crumbled. The crumbled variety is popular for use in salads and as a topping.
You’ll need to prepare blocks of feta and crumbled feta differently for freezing. Let’s look at a good old fashioned block first.
Freezing a Block of Feta
Whether you buy brined feta or regular blocks of feta, the first thing you need to do is unwrap the block and dry it off.
Use some kitchen towel to pat dry the block. You don’t need to completely remove all the moisture but make sure it’s not dripping.
At this point, you might want to portion out the feta. You shouldn’t freeze and unfreeze the block every time you want to use it.
Think about how much you will need for each meal you plan to make. Cut the feat into slices or smaller blocks of the right size.
If you want cubes of feta, perhaps for aperitifs, you can cut the cheese into cubes.
Packing is the next step. You should wrap each block in plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn. Make sure the block is wrapped tightly and there is as little air as possible between the cheese and the wrap.
Once wrapped, place the block in a zip lock bag and seal after removing as much air as possible.
For cubes of feta, you can place them straight into the bag, remove the air, and seal.
These bags can now go into the freezer. You might want to put the date on them before doing so. This can help you remember how long they’ve been frozen.
If you’re going to use the feta in a few days you don’t really need to use the plastic wrap. Freezer burn takes longer than a few days to occur.
Freezing Crumbled Feta
Crumble feta usually comes in a plastic storage pot. You can freeze it in this pot or portion it out into zip lock bags.
Either way, if you intend to store it for more than a few days, it’s best to wrap the pot or bag in plastic wrap to give it an extra layer of protection.
That’s really all there is for crumbled feta.
How to defrost Feta Cheese
As a dairy product, leaving feta cheese out at room temperature will never end well!
When it comes to defrosting feta, you’ll have to cold defrost it. This means putting it in the refrigerator for anywhere between 2-13 hours.
Bigger blocks are naturally going to take longer to thaw than cubes or crumbled feta. This is why portioning out your cheese before you freeze it is a good idea.
If you plan on making something with frozen feta, it’s best to get it out of the freezer the night before. You can leave it in the refrigerator overnight and it should be thawed by lunchtime/.
You do need to think ahead when it comes to using frozen feta. You can’t pop it in the microwave to speed up the process.
You can use a bowl of cold water to thaw feta faster. Again, depending on the size of the block, the cold water could have your feta defrosted in 2-3 hours. You will need to keep switching out the water to make sure it doesn’t warm up to room temperature.
Once defrosted, the feta should be used within 3 days. You should not refreeze defrosted feta.
Factors to consider before freezing heavy cream
You must have enough freezer space to comfortably fit an ice cube tray, or a baking tray if you opt to freeze quenelles of whipped cream.
Do not forget to create an air gap at the top of the heavy cream container to accommodate for the cream expanding when it freezes.
Do not forget to measure the size of the cubes your ice-cube tray makes are before filling with heavy cream. If your ice-cube tray cubes are 2tbsp in volume, 2 cubes = ¼ cup, 4 cubes = ½ cup, 6 cubes = ¾ cup and 8 cubes = 1 cup.
Do not refreeze heavy cream once it has thawed out. This is because allowing the heavy cream to come to room temperature allows bacteria to grow, which can be harmful when refrozen. This is what we recommend freezing the heavy cream in smaller portions.
The fat molecules in heavy cream are surrounded by a protein membrane. In cold temperatures, butterfat crystals can form inside of the protein membrane and can rupture it. As the cream warms up, the butterfat begins to seep out of the membrane and this may need redistributing through stirring.
Things to Consider
Freezing feta will increase the shelf life of your cheese but it will also alter the texture slightly.
Defrosted feta will be quite wet. This is true of most defrosted things to be fair. Just make sure you strain the thaw water before you use the cheese.
Feta that has been frozen and then defrosted will also feel a bit grainier than fresh feta. It isn’t an unpleasant texture but it will be different.
If you really don’t like the grainy texture, you can use defrosted feta in cooked dishes instead of cold ones like salad.
Feta is a great addition to pasta, mashed potatoes, pizza, and a wide range of sauces. Feta won’t melt into a stringy goop like mozzarella but it will become nice and creamy.
Freezing feta is a great way to save it for future use. It also stops you from binging the whole block as soon as you buy it! Though that might just be me...
Be prepared for a slight change in texture and a slight dip in intensity when you defrost. You’ll still be able to use the feta for salads, nibbles, sauces, and topping cooked food but you may notice a difference.
Remember to portion out your feta before you freeze it. That way you won’t have to wait half a day for a large block to thaw. You’ll also waste less feta that way.