3 Steps to Better Cheese

by Sara Bonisteel, Epicurious
When it comes to cheese storage, chances are, you're doing it wrong.

Lou Di Palo, of Di Palo Fine Foods in New York's Little Italy, offered his advice on storage for cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano at a tasting last week.

"You've got to understand that cheese-not processed cheese, but cheese-is living, and it's going to go through stages," Di Palo says. "As soon as the cheese is cut, it's immediately oxidizing."
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Tip 1: Start With a Freshly Cut Piece of Cheese
"Never buy a cheese that's pre-cut and has been sitting for a day or two days out in the refrigerator," Di Palo says. "Ask always to have it cut for you fresh."

Tip 2: Change That Plastic Wrap
"Do I like to store cheese in it? It certainly preserves the integrity of the cheese. It doesn't let it oxidize. But it's got to be changed frequently, and I mean frequently," Di Palo says. "Plastic wrap has got to be changed really every time you use the cheese. Minimum once a week, and in my opinion, it should be changed every day."

If you prefer to use butcher paper to store your cheese, the cheese is going to oxidize faster than it would in plastic wrap.

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Tip 3: Eat Your Cheese Frequently
"Buy what you're going to use in a reasonable amount of time," he says.

Store cheeses in a fridge at a temperature between 35-40 degrees F, he says, but know each cheese variety has a window of freshness before it oxidizes and begins to naturally form a rind.

"A cheese like Parmigiano, you've got three to four weeks without a problem. A cheese like Toma, Asiago: a week to 10 days," Di Palo says. "A cheese like fresh mozzarella would need to be the same day; with that, you want to enjoy it and move on."

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