Freezing any kind of cheese as an act of preservation is a hotly debated topic dividing professional chefs and amateurs, as it can wreak havoc on the taste and texture of the popular dairy-based snack.
When it comes to keeping your cheddar for longer, firmer cheeses have a better shot at surviving the Arctic temperatures of your freezer, but it’s going to give you a crumblier cheese all around.
No matter if you simply happen to have a surplus of string cheese on your hand or want to have a few on hand as an emergency snack of an afternoon, you might wonder if that schoolyard favorite can stand up to the cold.
We’ve done the heavy lifting for you, so wonder no more! Find out whether string cheese is good to freeze, how to do so safely, and methods for thawing out when you’re ready – just keep reading!
STRING CHEESE – WHAT IS IT?
Whilst manufacturers vary their cheese choices, you’ll typically find it’s made from cheddar and mozzarella, which undergoes a process to allow consumers to peel away smaller strips, or ‘strings’ of cheese, making it a handy snack.
US-based manufacturers will present their cheese in a snack-sized serving, using low-moisture mozzarella, usually in a cylindrical shape – you’ll probably hear it referred to as a cheese stick more commonly.
For instance, when mozzarella has been heated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, then thoroughly stretched, the milk proteins it contains will align, which is what gives it that tell-tale, hand-held snack style.
The very first ‘string’ cheese is credited to a fourteen-year-old Mexican boy, Leobarda Castellanos, who invented it in 1855 – that’s way over a hundred years of popularity. But let’s get to the real reason you’re reading: can you freeze it?
THE BIG CHEESE FREEZE
First things first: you absolutely CAN freeze your string cheese if you so desire; though they have a long lifespan of around two or three months, once opened they only last around a week, so you might want to lengthen that time period.
As a result of the lower water content in comparison to other cheese varieties, it’s likely that the original texture will be retained afterwards, so there’ll be very little difference in eating experience so long as you follow our guide.
Worried parents can rest easy – by putting the string cheese in the freezer, you’re not risking the loss of any nutritional value, it’s still going to be an excellent choice of snack for your children, with plenty of healthful vitamins.
Individual string cheeses still in their packaging can simply be tossed into a freezer as they are – no need to put them in a container or anything, as the sealed, airtight packet should protect the cheese just fine.
Some manufacturers might offer blocks of string cheese, which are a different story and require slightly more preparation for appropriate freezing. Place your block into a sealed, airtight container or freezer bag, to protect it from freezer burn.
Whether or not you want to freeze it as is, or in smaller chunks, is up to you, but applying a few layers of plastic wrap before placing it into the container will protect it from freezer burn, helping to retain original taste and texture.
You can keep string cheese in the freezer for a couple of months, between two and three – keep an eye out, though, as if they appear to take on a deeper, darker yellow color, they’re probably past the point of return and have been in there too long.
To assist with this, label each individual string or block with the date of freezing and how far they were from going bad beforehand, as this will help you keep track and tell you how quickly it should be consumed once defrosted.
Time To Eat A Treat – Thawing Properly
Are you packing lunches for the next day, only to suddenly remember that you have some string cheeses in the freezer that would be great? Don’t worry! Simply pop them in your kid’s bag or box and it’ll be ready to eat by recess.
Otherwise, simply place the string cheese on a plate in your refrigerator (just in case of melting water – less clean up later!) and leave it to thaw out for a couple of hours, or overnight; you’ll return to a yummy snack, with the original texture intact.
Once fully defrosted, you’re going to want to consume the cheese with haste, as it won’t stay tasty for long – within a few days of removing from the freezer is recommended, though eating the same day offers the best results.
Furthermore, freezing for a second time is NOT an option – do not refreeze once thawed out, as this is just asking for a one way ticket to an upset stomach! Not only is it likely to be spoiled, but it won’t taste the same or retain that delightful chewy bite.
Of course, all of this advice is generalised, and some string cheese may lead to different (potentially disappointing results) depending on the manufacturer, so road testing one stick before committing to freezing a whole bunch is your best bet.
Creative String Cheese Leftovers?
If you’re sitting on a surplus of string cheese and you’d like to use it up as opposed to freezing for later, why not try out one of these fun hacks? You don’t have to eat it as is, there’s a whole world of recipes to explore!
Ever wanted to make your own mozzarella sticks? Coat your string cheese with breadcrumbs in whatever way you choose and simply deep fry or toss them in the air fryer for hot, crispy and delicious restaurant standard sticks at home.
For a tasty pizza snack in minutes, you can wrap the stick in a tortilla alongside some tomato paste and any other toppings you desire, and bake for a few minutes until crunchy and golden brown on the outside, melty and delicious in the middle.
Looking for an easy way to get stuffed crust pizza at home? When you’re making your own dough, simply fill the area where the crust will be with string cheeses, and enjoy that additional gooey bite in every slice.