Ever found yourself thinking about that leftover block of feta cheese which is tucked inside your fridge? If yes, then you are at the right place reading the right article!
Feta cheese is a well-known cheese having a tangy flavor and crumbly texture. It is a beloved ingredient in various culinary traditions around the world.
No matter, if sprinkled atop salads, crumbled into omelets, or layered within savory pastries, feta adds a delightful burst of flavor to countless dishes.
However, to fully appreciate its taste and texture, it’s crucial to understand how to properly store it and how long it lasts in the fridge.
In this article, we’ll dive into the delectable world of feta and explore the burning question: how long does feta last in the fridge?
So, grab a snack and join us as we explore the ins and outs of feta cheese shelf life and its storage practices. Let’s make sure your next Greek salad or savory pastry is as fresh as can be!
How long does feta last in the fridge?
Like every other dairy product, feta cheese has a limited life in the fridge due to high moisture content which makes it more susceptible to bacterial growth and spoilage.
When stored properly, an opened feta cheese package can last for 4-7 days (mostly a week) in the fridge. Whereas, unopened feta cheese can remain good for more than a week. After this limited period, the quality of cheese will start declining.
Refrigeration will not only preserve the freshness for an extended period but also it will inhibit the bacterial growth and prevent contamination in the cheese.
However, to maximize the shelf life of feta cheese, it is essential to store it properly. Keep it tightly wrapped in plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out and absorbing odors from other foods in the fridge.
Additionally, storing feta cheese in its brine solution can help maintain its quality for a longer period.
How to store feta cheese in the fridge?
Storing feta cheese in the fridge is an easy and quick process to maintain the taste for extended periods. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to store feta cheese:
- Wrap the cheese: Keep it in its original packaging if unopened. If opened, wrap the cheese tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container.
- Keep in brine: If the feta cheese is stored in brine, make sure it remains submerged. If not, store it in a small container with enough brine to cover the cheese.
- Place in the fridge: Place the wrapped or containerized feta cheese in the coldest part of the refrigerator, typically the back of the bottom shelf for consistent temperatures.
- Avoid contamination: Avoid storing feta cheese near foods with strong odors as it can absorb these flavors.
- Consumption: Use within 1 week for opened feta cheese and within 1-2 weeks for unopened feta cheese for best quality.
Creative ways to use leftover cheese
If you have a few odds and ends of cheese lurking in your fridge, don’t let them go to waste! There are plenty of creative ways to turn those leftovers into delicious dishes. Here are some ideas to spark your culinary imagination:
- Cheese Board Remix: Make a cheese mix for snack time. Combine your leftover cheeses with some fresh fruits, nuts, and charcuterie to create a fabulous cheese board. Mix and match flavors and textures for a tantalizing spread that is perfect for entertaining or a cozy night in.
- Pasta Bake: Incorporate cheese in pasta to give it a unique texture and flavor. Grate or chop your leftover cheese and sprinkle it over cooked pasta along with a creamy sauce and any other desired toppings (think bacon, veggies, or herbs). Bake until bubbly and golden for a comforting and satisfying meal.
- Stuffed Mushrooms: Mix chopped leftover cheese with breadcrumbs, garlic, and herbs to create a flavorful stuffing for mushrooms. Stuff the mixture into mushroom caps, bake until tender, and enjoy a savory appetizer or side dish.
- Grilled Cheese Upgrade: Take your grilled cheese sandwiches to the next level by using a variety of leftover cheeses. Experiment with different combinations for unique flavor profiles, and consider adding extras like caramelized onions or sliced apples for extra pizzazz.
- Cheese Soufflé: Whip up a decadent cheese soufflé using your leftover cheese for a light and fluffy dish that’s sure to impress. Serve it as a savory brunch option or an elegant dinner centerpiece.
Can you freeze feta?
Yes, you can freeze feta cheese, but it may alter its texture and flavor slightly. Freezing can cause the cheese to become crumbly and more prone to crumbling when thawed.
However, if you have excess feta cheese that you won’t be able to consume before it spoils, freezing is a viable option to prolong its shelf life.
To freeze feta cheese, tightly wrap the cheese in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or place it in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn and absorption of odors.
It’s also a good idea to divide the cheese into smaller portions before freezing because it will make it easier to thaw only what you need.
When you are ready to use the frozen feta cheese, transfer it to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw overnight. Use thawed feta cheese within a few days for best results.
While frozen feta cheese may not be ideal for all uses such as crumbled toppings, it can still be suitable for cooking and incorporating into dishes like soups, sauces, and casseroles.
Can you keep feta cheese at room temperature?
No, it is generally not recommended to keep feta cheese at room temperature for an extended period, especially if it has been opened.
As you know, feta cheese is a perishable dairy product and can spoil quickly when exposed to warm temperatures.
While some types of cheese are safe to be left at room temperature for short periods, feta cheese is best stored in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness and prevent bacterial growth.
If you plan to serve feta cheese at room temperature, it’s advisable to remove it from the fridge 30 minutes to an hour before serving to allow it to soften slightly and enhance its flavor. Moreover, it will prevent the risks of bacterial poliferation.
Is feta cheese a healthy fat?
Yes, feta cheese is considered a healthy fat. Feta cheese is a dairy product made from sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep’s and goat’s milk. It is a rich source of essential nutrients like calcium, protein, and phosphorus.
While feta cheese is relatively high in saturated fat and sodium, it also contains monounsaturated fats which are considered heart-healthy fats.
Additionally, feta cheese is a good source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a type of fatty acid with potential health benefits including anti-inflammatory and weight management properties.
Signs of spoilage
Here are some signs that may help you indicate that your leftover cheese has gone bad and is no longer safe to eat.
- Mold growth: Mold growth on cheese is a clear sign of spoilage. If you spot fuzzy, green, blue, or black mold on your cheese, it’s best to discard it.
- Off Odors: Take a good whiff. Fresh cheese should have a pleasant, mild aroma characteristic of its type. If your cheese emits a strong, unpleasant odor, it may have spoiled. Pay attention to any pungent or sour smells as they can indicate bacterial growth or rancidity.
- Texture Changes: Deteriorated texture is a clear indication. Cheese should have a consistent texture throughout without any sliminess, stickiness, or graininess. If you notice any unusual changes in texture such as a slimy film or gritty feel, it’s a sign that the cheese has likely spoiled.
- Discoloration: Cheese naturally changes color as it ages, drastic or unexpected changes in color can indicate spoilage. Look out for patches of discoloration such as dark spots or a yellowish hue which may signal bacterial contamination.
- Excessive Dryness or Crumbling: While dryness is characteristic of aged cheeses. Excessive dryness or crumbling in cheese can indicate that the cheese has dried out or lost moisture due to improper storage.
Can you eat raw feta cheese?
Yes, you can eat raw feta cheese. Feta cheese is typically made from pasteurized sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk which reduces the risk of harmful bacteria and contamination.
Can you eat spoiled feta cheese?
No, it is not safe to eat spoiled feta cheese. Spoiled cheese can harbor harmful bacteria and toxins leading to foodborne illness such as vomiting, nausea, stomach cramps, and abdominal cramps, etc.
Why is feta so crumbly?
Feta cheese is crumbly due to its high moisture content and the way it is traditionally made. During the cheese-making process, feta is drained of excess whey and pressed into molds, resulting in its characteristic crumbly texture.
Feta cheese is a versatile and delicious addition to many culinary dishes but like every other dairy product, its shelf life is relatively short.
While unopened feta cheese can last in the fridge for about 1 to 2 weeks, opened feta cheese should be consumed within 1 week for optimal freshness.
Proper storage techniques such as keeping it refrigerated in its original packaging or an airtight container can help extend its shelf life.
Patti began her writing career as a staff writer for the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Still based in Florida, Patti serves as editor for Fort Lauderdale on the Cheap. She regularly writes about environmental, home improvement, education, recycling, art, architecture, wildlife, travel and pet topics.