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Is my fromage still good?


Many Ile de France community members ask us this question: “How long does cheese last?“

The answer is rather open-ended, and is based on several factors, such as the type of cheese, how it’s stored after opening, etc.

The first rule of thumb is that no two cheeses are alike. They each have unique properties that affect the aging process.

As a general rule, harder cheeses, like Comté, Gruyère, or Etorki, have a longer shelf life, lasting up to several months in the fridge.

Soft cheeses, on the other hand, spoil faster. These cheeses - such as Brie, Goat cheese or St. Albray - will keep for only a week or two after opening. Blue cheeses, including Bleu d’Auvergne and Roquefort, are even more perishable, and should be eaten within one week of unwrapping. Just be sure that after opening the cheese, you’ve rewrapped it tightly and stored it properly. (For tips on how to store cheese properly, see our recent article on how to wrap cheese.)

If, after you’ve opened and stored the cheese, it acquires mold, you don’t necessarily have to discard it, depending on the type of cheese. Hard-pressed varieties can still be consumed after cutting away a quarter to half-inch on all sides of the visible mold. With soft cheese, however, the mold cannot be removed. These cheeses, and any shredded, crumbled or sliced cheese that has molded, should be discarded.

You should also smell the cheese. In the case of soft-ripened cheese, an ammonia scent signifies spoilage. Pungent cheeses, by nature, are hard to judge on scent alone; this is where the product’s “best used by” date comes in handy. This date is intended to tell you how long the cheese will retain best flavor and quality. After that date has expired, it’s important to use the other indicators to decide whether the cheese is consumable.

Overall, cheese - if cared for correctly - can have a lasting shelf life. The better you store it, the longer you can enjoy it. Appréciez!


Comments (3)Add Comment
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written by Luanne Haver, February 04, 2014
I bought the 4.5 oz individually packaged Brie and plan to serve it in my wine shop. The package has a use by date of 11/12/14 refrigerated. But, can this be brought to room temp and then returned to the fridge if unopened? If not, do you have any recommendations on possibly microwaving the refrigerated product to help bring it to room temp quickly.
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written by ed, January 28, 2014
3-5-303-21-2-32D (11:59) is on my 8oz wheel. No date, bought week of christmas. The -303 part is of course on a break of the wood wrap. So I think it only has 3 numbers there. And I think it says D or is it a number Zer? (0) But anyways no use by or sell by date. Is it ok to eat? Thank you for your time. ED
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written by Cheese Lover, January 01, 2011
My wheel of Ile de France double cream brie, bought just before Christmas and not yet opened has no date. There is a code. Is there a simple way to tell how long it will keep in the intact, original package in the refrigerator? I would like to use it for an event in mid-January, but I'm horrified at the idea of wasting it. Opening it at my friend's house only to find mold would be quite disturbing. How do they get away with selling this product in the US without a date?

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