Can You Freeze Parmesan Cheese?

Parmesan cheese is ubiquitous. Everyone knows grating the fresh stuff is better, but how do you store it? Can you freeze it?

Yes, you can freeze parmesan cheese. It has a low water content, and the water that is there is not as critical to its chemical composition as compared to other cheeses. Grated parmesan cheese will even stay soft in the freezer.

For those not familiar with food science, it really cannot be overstated how unusual it is for a food to stay soft in the freezer. The only other food that you will regularly see stay soft in the freezer is Hostess cupcakes. And that is only because those are more preservatives than food.

Parmesan cheese occurs naturally within nature (or rather, all of its components do. It would take a miracle for all of them to fall into place and produce parmesan cheese on their own). This makes it all the more baffling and impressive that it can somehow survive below freezing temperatures. So, how does that work?

How To Freeze Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese will freeze in basically any form and at any age, but there are a few steps you can take to get the most bang for your buck with the food. To begin with, start by grating your parmesan cheese if you have not already done that. It will go a long way for making the rest of the process much easier.

Next, flatten the cheese out. The cheese looks almost two-dimensional when grated, so you are probably wondering what that means. In this case it means using a baking sheet with aluminum foil to spread the cheese out, so no cheese is stacked on top of any other cheese.

The reason you do this is to keep cheese from crushing other cheese under its weight over long periods of time. If you are freezing parmesan cheese, then it is safe to assume you are in it for the long haul, so this is a good idea when preserving any food at a large timescale.

Freeze this sheet of cheese. Contrary to what you might expect, you are not done yet. Once you have the cheese frozen in this manner, you actually have to take it out of the freezer once more. This is because the initial freeze was to get each flake of grated cheese frozen.

Now that they are frozen, you can freeze them in a bundle together that will not crush itself, nor will any flake of cheese stick to any other flake. Or rather, if they do stick together, they will not be impossible to pull apart.

Anyone who has ever frozen food before it probably raising their eyebrows at these precautions. They are probably wondering where the plastic wrap is, where the airtight seals and the barriers against cross-contamination are. These are all important things, but they are not as crucial to the freezing of parmesan.

You should keep parmesan from becoming cross-contaminated by anything, but parmesan cheese itself will not be doing the contamination of anything. Bacteria in general avoids cheese, as cheese is already a type of mold that will defend itself from bacteria if it is contaminated.

By no means does this mean cheese is immune to bacteria. All it means is that it is not a carrier of deadly bacteria by its nature in the same way many meats tend to be.

Can You Freeze Parmesan Cheese Rind?

Parmesan is a painstaking, but beautiful process. Created in the 14th century, parmesan is now a staple of many iconic dishes all around the world. But if you’re a home cook, cheese can be notoriously hard to store, and even harder to keep fresh. Parmesan cheese rind, the shell around the cheese that develops in the process, is much more useful than most people utilize.

Yes, you can freeze parmesan cheese rind. You should wrap it in plastic wrap, put it in a freezer safe bag, and keep it under 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This should make the longevity of the cheese and rind much longer, so that you can enjoy it in any dish you’d like.

How Do I Freeze Parmesan Rind?

The easiest way to freeze parmesan rinds is to:

  1. Cut down the rinds from the cheese, the difference between the cheese and the rinds is visible while you cut.
  2. Wrap the rinds in plastic wrap, which will protest the texture and flavor of the rinds.
  3. When you’re done wrapping the cheese in plastic wrap, put it in a freezer bag. You can put it in another freezer bag is you want more time in the freezer. 
  4. After putting it in the freezer, keep the freezer at an optimal 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower for the most storage time available.

Why Should I Freeze Parmesan Rinds?

The process is surprisingly easy and could give your parmesan more longevity, which is useful if you want to buy a bigger block or wedge of cheese. If you don’t want the cheeses texture and taste to be affected by the freezer, you need to grate the parmesan before you freeze it. The process differs between a wedge and a grated form of parmesan.

But if you’re freezing parmesan rinds by themselves, the freezing process is exceedingly easy.

The best part of freezing parmesan rinds is their longevity, if done correctly, is astounding. A parmesan rind can last for up to two years if stored in a perfect condition. This could provide a lot of flavor in the future, so it is extremely useful to know how to store those rinds. 

What Could I Use Frozen Parmesan Rinds For?

Frozen parmesan rinds have a strong taste that could work well with a variety of dishes. Food conservation is becoming a new, innovative idea for chefs around the world, for a good reason. Scraps from food can have just as much use as its original benefactor if used properly, so we have seen a drastic rise in the use of parmesan rinds in soups, salads, and even risotto.

This is because the flavor that parmesan rinds have deep, complex profiles that can make a perfect addition to hearty and light dishes. Sprinkling a bit on top of a chicken and strawberry salad can give a satisfying and sophisticated taste.