Mostly Moldy?

In breaking news from the home front, I recently had some cheddar go moldy. I know–stop the presses!!

My wife and I were away for the long weekend, providing ample opportunity for our yellow cheese to sprout white mold. Not one to give up easily on food, I decided to do some trimming.

When I’m on my soap box, I tell people to trust their senses over the extra-cautious expiration dates. If a food item smells/looks/tastes fine, go for it. Now it was time to take my own advice.

I sliced off a piece and was pleasantly surprised by the mold’s superficiality.

my moldy cheese

In hindsight, it makes perfect sense, but I’d expected much worse. As you can see in the photo, the interior looked (and tasted) great.

After de-molding the rest of the block, I enjoyed the remaining cheddar. Maybe a new expression is in order: You can’t judge a cheese by its cover.

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19 Comments

  1. nat
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    i do this with my cheese too and it always turns out fine!

  2. Britta
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    A friend of mine spent a summer during college cutting away the exterior mold from returned cheese at a local cheese factory. That “cleaned” cheddar cheese was then recycled into American cheese.

  3. Posted May 29, 2008 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    What a great idea. I had a partial blog of vegan jack ‘cheese’ get moldy a few weeks back and felt so guilty throwing it out. I never thought to cut away the mold and see if the rest was still good. Shame on me! I’ll have to make sure I do that from now on.

    Good point with the expiration date – use your noggin’, or better yet your nose and if it smells alright, it likely is.

  4. Posted May 29, 2008 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Britta, thanks for ruining American cheese for all of us! ;)

    Now that’s food recycling.

  5. Posted May 29, 2008 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I always clean the hard or moldy parts off of cheese. Cheese rinds are great for wrapping in cheese cloth and tossing into soups for flavor. However, keep in mind that the softer the cheese, the better chance of the mold penetrating to where we can no longer spot it as mold. So if your goat cheese or your brie looks at all weird, toss it.

  6. Jay
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    You mean there are people who THROW THE WHOLE THING OUT when it gets moldy? Have they never lived on a tight budget? Do they throw out the entire bag of tomatoes/apples/broccoli when one gets a blemish?

    I’m ashamed.

  7. Posted May 29, 2008 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Now, how were you storing that cheese? If in plastic wrap, that will hasten the decomp. Ask a local cheesemonger for some cheese-wrapping paper; it has small perforations that allow just enough air to reach the cheese. Your cheese will last much longer, without mold.

  8. Posted May 29, 2008 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    I usually store cheese in hard plastic containers and that was the case with this one. Not the best, I’m sure. On occasion I’ve used a brown paper bag, to allow some breathing. Might that be the poor man’s cheese-wrapping paper?

  9. Posted May 29, 2008 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    That’s what I do too! I’ve saved a lot of cheese that way.

    Of course, it would have been better if I never let it get moldy in the first place….

  10. Posted June 1, 2008 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    oh so glad you decided to investigate! especially if you had gotten nice expensive cheese. its probably my frugal nature that i try to salvage and recycle most food things. (hot dogs on spaghetti anyone? we cook it that way in the philippines).

  11. Posted June 2, 2008 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who does this. Cheese that has over-hardened is also good for grating into sauces. ;-D

  12. Julius
    Posted June 2, 2008 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Well done of course, as everyone else says…

    But I practically never get mould on my cheese, even without any special precautions – I just leave it in the fridge in the plastic wrapper. Probably because I’m a fat bastard and eat it too quickly, i.e. within a month or so. This is regular British cheddar I’m talking about (or even the nice, if slightly pricey unpasteurised (!) Canadian cheddar Sainsbury’s stock).

  13. peggy
    Posted June 3, 2008 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Lower fat cheese is my usual, which goes moldy faster. Cut out the mold and rewrap in clean plastic. I’ve never been food stamp poor, just frugal. The only mold I ever eat is blue cheese. /snark

  14. Sunny
    Posted June 3, 2008 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Don’t wrap cheese in plastic. First wrap it in parchment paper and then if necessary put it in plastic.

  15. Posted June 3, 2008 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Given all this interest, I’ve got a call in with a cheese expert. Be on the look out for that interview in the coming week.

  16. Dave
    Posted August 19, 2008 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    From people who live long-term without much refrigeration, after you trim the mold wipe the cheese surfaces with vinegar before wrapping it up for storage again.

  17. leapetra
    Posted August 30, 2008 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    I really have to do a double take when people freak out about mold on their cheese, my husband was horrible. Mold is part of cheese, otherwise you just have curdy milk (or cottage cheese or ricotta)
    I grew up with parents that have lived through some of the worst economic times in our history. Throwing away moldy cheese was a major no no. My dad would cut off the mold and claim it was improving the flavor.
    If it smells not like it supposed to, then throw it out. Otherwise it’s fine.

  18. Riss
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    I went to a nutrition class and was told to throw it out. Mold has roots that travel through the entire block of cheese. The spore lands on the surface and then it creates a root that is inside the cheese, it is just not visible. Ever since I can’t do this, it just grosses me out alittle bit.

  19. Posted January 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

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