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Storing Cheese

Storing Cheese
When you order fine farmstead cheeses from Williams-Sonoma, you can be sure they will arrive at their peak of freshness. Proper storage will preserve their delicious flavors and textures until the moment they are served.

Max McCalman, fromagière at the renowned Manhattan restaurant Picholine, suggests purchasing cheese as close as possible to the time you will need it. Then, loosely wrap the cheese in butcher paper or waxed paper before storing it in your refrigerator's vegetable bin, where humidity is highest.

If there is not room in the vegetable bin, Kate Arding of Tomales Bay Foods suggests covering the paper-wrapped cheese with plastic wrap and refrigerating it in a closed box. This will insulate the cheese against cold air, while still allowing it to breathe.

Laura Werlin, author of The New American Cheese, advises changing the wrapping every two or three days. This will help cheeses last much longer than they would otherwise. Refrigerate very soft, fresh cheeses in an airtight plastic container with a few holes poked in it for air circulation.

Because of their high moisture content, soft and fresh cheeses do not keep as long as firm and semifirm ones. Refrigerated, softer cheeses will keep for 1 week to 10 days, while harder ones can be stored for 2 to 4 weeks. Some very hard ones, like Parmigiano-Reggiano, will keep for up to 10 months.

When you have leftover cheeses, try cooking with them. Even small bits will add depth of flavor to pastas, salads and egg dishes.