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 Post subject: cheese - preserving it
PostPosted: June 20th, 2010, 6:40 pm 
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I've been told that you can preserve cheese for canoe trips by putting chunks in the fridge and leaving it for a couple of days, until it hardens on the outside. Does anyone have any experience with this? How long will it keep in hot weather? Do Baby Bels keep on trips? They have a rind. Thank you.


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PostPosted: June 20th, 2010, 6:58 pm 
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I think that Baby Bels have a covering of wax on the surface, which protects the cheese.
I have never heard about putting a piece of cheese into the frig to dry out the surface to protect it. So I can't comment further.

I have wrapped Mozzarella and Cheddar in Saran wrap, then vacuum packed the wrapped product and had it out with me on trips lasting up to 6 weeks in the Summer heat, then either ate it or used it in cooked dishes,with no adverse health affects.
If you do this, try to purchase low fat cheese, use impeccable sanitary conditions on the counter and utensils you use, open the cheese and wrap it in Saran quickly, then vac. seal it immediately.
If the temperatures are very high, then cool the cheese in lake or river water before opening it and using it.
This is especially helpful if you are planning to shred it as you might do when preparing a Lasagne.


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PostPosted: June 20th, 2010, 7:15 pm 
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Quote:
I've been told that you can preserve cheese for canoe trips by putting chunks in the fridge and leaving it for a couple of days, until it hardens on the outside

Remembering that Rolf Kraiker had mentioned this long ago, I did a search and got these results:

Click: cheese / Rolf Kraiker

Rolf Kraiker wrote:
We've tried every technique ever suggested to keep cheese. Dear bride Debra came up with the following method for keeping cheddar which has worked well for us on trips as long as 5 weeks. We've also found that the same process has kept any surplus cheese stable in storage in the basement for a year. Take the large block of cheddar and cut it into slices no more than an inch thick. Place those slices in a way that keeps the smallest possible amont in contact on a tray with some room between the slices to let air circulate. Put the tray with the cheese in the middle of a refrigerator that is "frost free" and leave it there for at least a week. The fridge will keep the cheese from spoiling while the frost free mechanism dehydrates the cheese. Once it is dehydrated, get it vacuum sealed. When heated, the oils in the cheese seep out a bit and will make it taste pretty much the same as it does fresh. We've had grilled cheese sandwiches at the end of a five week trip using this technique and there was no spoilage at all.

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PostPosted: June 21st, 2010, 3:33 pm 
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I have used the baby bell cheese on many trips with no problems. You get them in cheddar now as well. I have also heard you can wrap your cheese in a j-cloth that has been soaked in vinegar. This keeps it from spoiling. I have never had any issues on trips up to 10 days.

Randy


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PostPosted: June 21st, 2010, 4:49 pm 
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Vacuum sealed.....will easily keep for a month or so, try to keep out of direct sunlight and go for the harder/drier cheeses like an aged cheddar.

You will find some seepage of oil to the edge of the block, just remove and enjoy a slightly lower fat cheese!

There are all kinds of other methods but they mostly predate vacuum sealing and are pretty much unnecessary these days.

If you want smaller pieces and don't have a vacuum sealer or can't get your supplier to seal in small quantities then the 2nd best alternative is to cover in wax. The appropriate wax can be found in any grocery store next to the canning supplies.

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PostPosted: June 21st, 2010, 7:22 pm 
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You could also purchase cheese in packaging that does not require refrigeration. The are several suppliers out there that have Brie & Camenbert in tins or plastic packaging. I currently have 13 tins in my barrel that are itching to drive Yellowknife on saturday. For you cheddar fans, Maclaren's Imperial in the tubs will keep for 6 weeks unopened.

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PostPosted: June 21st, 2010, 7:54 pm 
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We take blocks of cheddar, wrap them in cheese cloth and dip in parafin wax. They will keep more or less indefinitely if not heated up too much. Even in high summer they will last longer than two weeks.

We cut the blocks to be one meal size.


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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2010, 8:52 pm 
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Peter, this is what I did in Algonquin back 2004 . Now we just buy the hard cheddar prepackaged and it works fine. Hard is best.

Barry

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PostPosted: June 26th, 2010, 4:55 pm 
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On the last four-day trip I brought aged cheddar. Not 'old' (whatever that means) but aged. 2 years. Next time I'll perhaps try 5 years. Anyhow, the 2-year cheddar, apart from tasting great (that's what cheddar meant to be) kept just as is for 4 days. I have the impression it'd keep like that for a few more days, simply wrapped in cellophane. Maybe the cellophane could be replaced with some paper, to let it breathe, I don't know.

So what I think is that aged cheddar will *naturally* keep itself good outside of a fridge and under temps whereas the cheap production tasteless blob cheddar will have problems.

So I use trips as an excuse to buy that expensive cheddar. It's actually a treat during the trip. I think it even get better after a few days out there.

After all. cheese is not meant to be kept in a fridge. It shoudl be kept on the kitchen counter under a 'cloche' (a glass, bell-like cover).


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PostPosted: June 26th, 2010, 11:36 pm 
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We haven't had to try preserving it 'cause it never lasts that long! We love cheese!
But-Freezing it first,then storing it in a small "soft" cooler bag and keeping it down in the centre of the big pack,in the shade,keeps it fairly hard during the week.If we find it getting too soft or weeping oil,we will wrap the whole soft cooler bag in a wet towel and place in a windy but shady area.This trick can bring it back to that "grateable" consistancy.
Good menu planning for us anyway,means eating the cheese earlier in the week :)


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PostPosted: July 1st, 2010, 8:23 am 
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Hi, we buy well aged cheddar, 2 or more years old, and wrap it in a wad of vinegar-soaked cheese cloth in a zip lock bag. It changes the cheese a little, only making it slightly more dense, but the flavour remains excellent. We have preserved cheese in this manner for as long as four weeks in early to late fall when temperatures are warm during the day and cool at night.
Happy Trails,
Rob


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