Cheese is just great, and parmesan cheese? Even better.
It is the perfect topping for any pasta dish, an excellent addition to your sauce, and a great ingredient to always keep stocked in your fridge.
As parmesan cheese is one of the more mature types, it has a shelf life of between 7 months and a year when stored in the refrigerator.
But if you don’t use parmesan that often, and don’t want this yummy cheese to go to waste, then you can always freeze it.
As parmesan cheese is a dairy product, the freezing process can be tricky but it is doable.
This guide will take you through all the steps you need to follow to freeze your parmesan correctly, as well as how to defrost it, and factors you should consider along the way.
Follow this guide and freezing your cheese will be a breeze.
How to freeze parmesan cheese
Before you decide to freeze your parmesan, you should consider how often you use it. If you find yourself reaching for the parmesan regularly, it might be a better idea to just keep it in the fridge.
However, if you have a large amount that has been in your fridge for 11 months, which you don’t use regularly, freezing will be the better option for you.
You should also consider how you plan on using the parmesan. If you often use parmesan melted within a pasta sauce, or as a melted topping for your pasta dish, freezing will not be a problem. However, if you plan on using parmesan unmelted, freezing will not be a good choice.
Parmesan cheese has a high water content within the cheese itself, and by freezing it, you also freeze this water content which causes tiny holes to develop within the block of cheese. These holes have a big effect on the structure of the cheese and change the texture significantly. The cheese becomes a lot more crumbly once defrosted making it difficult to grate or cut into slices.
Once you have frozen parmesan cheese once you cannot then refreeze it in the future, so you should consider how you freeze it. To reduce the amount of waste you should consider cutting the parmesan into smaller blocks or even grating it before you freeze it.
By grating it on the thinnest setting, you have the best chance of the parmesan keeping its original texture as there is less water content to freeze.
Once you have decided how to chop your parmesan, you should place it in an airtight container or freeze proof bag and store it flat in the freezer.
How to defrost parmesan cheese
Frozen parmesan cheese can last up to 18 months in the freezer when stored correctly, and is easy to defrost when you decide that you want to use it.
All you have to do is move the block of cheese from the freezer into the fridge. The time that it will take to defrost will differ depending on the size of the block, with bigger amounts taking longer and smaller amounts taking a significantly shorter time.
If you froze your parmesan in a grated format, and plan on using it in a cooked dish, you don’t even need to defrost it. All you need to do is take the parmesan out of the freezer and add it to the dish.
The cooking process will defrost and melt the cheese ready for serving. But you should take into account that adding frozen ingredients can increase the cooking time of your dish.
Before consuming parmesan that has been frozen, you should check that it has thoroughly defrosted. This is especially important if you use parmesan which has been frozen in a block, as the exterior may appear defrosted while the inside is not.
Factors to consider
Before you decide to freeze your parmesan cheese, there are some factors which you should consider.
The first is the change in texture to your parmesan. We have already established that freezing parmesan has a huge impact on the structural integrity of the cheese. It causes tiny imperceivable holes to develop within the cheese which makes it increasingly crumbly.
This significantly reduces the ways that you can use the cheese and makes it only suitable for use when melted. Before you decide to freeze your parmesan, you should consider if it is worth it when you are going to be so limited in the future.
You should also consider the fact that you cannot refreeze the parmesan again in the future. You cannot refreeze the parmesan as the crystallization of water will occur when frozen again.
This will cause the cheese which is already damaged by the original freezing to become further damaged. All these tiny holes together will make the cheese beyond use in any format, and only fit to be thrown in the trash.
Finally, you should consider how often you use parmesan. Based on the fact that you cannot refreeze parmesan, it would make sense to freeze it in a way that ensures the lowest amount of waste.
If you only use small amounts at a time you should consider cutting the large block into smaller blocks, this will allow you to use one block at a time and still have more available in the freezer.
You should also think about grating the cheese before freezing it, this is a good idea if you plan on using the parmesan in a cooked dish as it will allow you to cook it straight from frozen.
So in short the answer is yes, you can freeze parmesan cheese.
However, because it is a dairy product you should consider this before making the decision.
In the case of parmesan, freezing may only be recommended if you have a significant amount of cheese which will go to waste if not frozen. Rather than buying parmesan just to freeze it for the future.
Outside of the freezer, parmesan has a shelf life of up to 1 year which is plenty of time to consume the cheese. However, the decision to freeze is yours.