Shredded cheese is a significant convenience and is readily available in just about any store. It comes in different types, various mixes, brands, and packages.
But usually, when we buy shredded cheese, we tend to use just part of it and stuff the rest of the package back in the fridge.
The question is – how long does shredded cheese last?
Read on to find out how to preserve the shredded cheese for longer.
We have also added tips on determining whether the cheese has gone bad.
What Exactly is Shredded Cheese?
As its name suggests, shredded cheese is cheese or a mix of different cheeses shredded in flakes or long strips.
It comes in a wide variety of types, most commonly including mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar, gruyere, Swiss cheese, Mexican cheese, and others.
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The shredded cheese is straightforward to use and saves time and effort for grating and cutting.
It is commonly used to make pizza, pasta, lasagna, mac and cheese, tacos, soups, salads, or a variety of other dishes and snacks that require grated and melted cheese.
One of the main differences between shredded and grated cheese is the shape and size of the cheese pieces. The ready-made shredded cheese usually comes in thin and long shreds.
Once sprinkled and cooked, it will melt but without separating like grated parmesan cheese would.
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How to Properly Store Shredded Cheese?
If you have bought shredded cheese in a resealable bag, then you can simply seal it and keep it in the refrigerator after opening.
If not, it is best to place the cheese in a sealable plastic bag or an airtight container.
Try to remove as much air as possible before placing the shredded cheese back in the fridge.
Vacuum sealing the leftover cheese is among the best ways to preserve it for longer.
If you are storing other types of block cheese, it is best to use cheese paper or wax parchment paper. Smelly cheese should be kept separately from any different cheeses and foods.
If you have a bottom cheese drawer or veggie crisper in the refrigerator, keep the leftover shredded cheese there. If not, simply place it on the bottom shelf, where the humidity is higher and the low temperatures remain stable.
Make sure to stash the cheese at a distance from any smelly food products, as it tends to absorb the aromas quickly.
It is recommended to store any opened leftover cheese in the fridge as soon as possible.
When left at room temperature for longer, bacteria may start multiplying and will spoil it faster.
As a whole, it is best to purchase only as much shredded cheese as you think you can consume within the best-by date or as soon as possible after opening it.
What is the Shelf Life of Shredded Cheese?
If the shredded cheese has not been opened, you can expect it to last for as long as its best-by stamped date says. But once it is opened, most manufacturers recommend that it is consumed within the next 5-7 days even if you keep it well packaged in the refrigerator at all times.
The reason for its short shelf life is that the shredded cheese gets exposed more to air than block cheese does. This enhances faster bacterial growth and spoilage.
If you leave the shredded cheese at temperatures between 41 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit after opening it, you can expect to see changes in its color, texture, and taste in only a few hours.
Home shredded cheese will last for up to 6 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container or bag.
For longer-term storage, you can freeze the shredded cheese. Placing it in a heavy-duty, properly sealed freezer bag will ensure that it stays fresh and safe to eat for 6-8 months.
Once you are ready to use your frozen cheese, let it thaw in the refrigerator first.
Keep in mind that after months of being at freezing temperatures, it is very likely that the shredded cheese may have deteriorated in flavor and texture, so you should use it for casseroles, soups, and other cooked dishes.
How to Tell if the Shredded Cheese Has Gone Bad?
Shredded cheese is an easy and quick way to add that delicious melted cheesy flavor and texture to just about any dish.
But this is true only if the cheese has not gone bad.
To tell whether the shredded cheese is still good and safe for use, we recommend you to smell it first.
If the smell is sour or otherwise off, then you may want to throw the cheese out instead of ruining a delicious meal or putting the people who eat it at risk of food poisoning.
To check whether a soft shredded cheese is still good, look at its texture. It should be soft but not gooey or slimy.
Hard shredded cheeses such as cheddar or parmesan are more likely to last longer.
To determine whether it is still good, inspect the cheese for any discoloration, a fuzzy texture, or other indications that there is mold. If you suspect that the shredded cheese is moldy, then discard it immediately.
As a last resort, you can taste a tiny bit of the cheese to test it. If it tastes off or sour, then it has probably gone bad.
Unopened shredded cheese will last up to four weeks or up to the best-by expiration date, but only when stored in the refrigerator.
Once you open the shredded cheese, keep in mind that it will last for only about 5 to 7 days, even if you have sealed it well.
Keep the open cheese separately from other smelly products in your cheese drawer in the fridge.
For longer-term preservation, pack the cheese well, and store it in the freezer. It will last for 2 to 8 months there.