Did you know you can store cheese in your food storage without a refrigerator or freezer? Well, you can--at least that's what I was told by a lady in the food storage know, so of course I had to test it for myself (remember the sprouted wheat and the butter?).
Here's the short version: You can coat cheese in wax (approx 4 layers) and store it on a shelf, or you can buy Tillamook cheese and just stick it on the shelf since it's already in airtight, vacuum packed packaging. Start with mild as the cheese will age on the shelf and become quite sharp.
Now, on with my experience. Sometime last fall before I started this blog, I got myself a 5 lb block of cheese and proceeded to coat chunks of it in parafin wax. I tied cotton string around it and dipped it in a can of melted wax, then used a clean paintbrush to touch up the spots that didn't cover as well with the dipping. It ended up something like this.So now about 3-4 months later a friend of mine who also had tried to wax cheese said she checked hers and it was all moldy, so I got my cheese box out and checked my cheese and 5 of my 12 pieces had minor molding. The other 7 looked great. The molding was all where the string came out of the wax at the top. Hmmmm. Obviously a trouble spot. Since the molding was very minimal, I opted to cut it off and re-wax those spots on the cheese and put it back in storage rather than toss the entire chunk of cheese. So I cut off the strings and cut off the moldy spot much deeper than the mold actually looked like it was.
Then, using my parafin wax double boiler setup and my wax-brush (so dubbed after I first used it for waxing the cheese) I proceeded to repaint wax over the open cheese. This is NOT junk wax like I'd use for the egg carton firestarters. This is good clean parafin wax right out of the box from the store--it's going on my FOOD, I want good wax. Put on at least 4 layers--nice and thick. You can re-use the wax when you use the cheese, so it's not a one time use type of thing.
In the future, I will cut off the strings when I'm done waxing the cheese and paint over the spots where the strings exited the wax a number of times to ensure a good seal. Or for the cost of less expensive cheese and wax and time involved, maybe I'll just wait for Tillamook cheese to go on sale and buy that instead . . .
Pretty quick fix anyway. I put the cheese back in the box and we'll check on it again in a few months. :)
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