Blue cheese is a pungent yet delicious cheese that is a perfect addition to your cheeseboard and a great ingredient for a sophisticated French tart.
Some people balk at the mold that makes up the blue in blue cheese, but it’s perfectly safe to eat.
However, due to its already moldy nature, it can be hard to tell when blue cheese has actually gone bad compared to other cheeses.
But just because blue cheese has mold already, that does not mean any mold is fine on it or that it stays safe to eat forever.
Here’s the bottom line: Like all cheeses, blue cheese can go bad.
Read on to find out how to store it properly and how to tell whether blue cheese is still good or not.
Good Mold And Bad Mold
Usually, when something goes moldy, you throw it away immediately. So how come it’s okay to eat blue cheese, which is moldy by definition?
The mold on blue cheese is created by the Penicillium culture. Unlike other molds, Penicillium does not produce mycotoxins and is thus safe to consume. But if different bacteria develop on the cheese and lead to other molds, that means it has become toxic and you should throw it away.
The mold on blue cheese is blue-green in color and never fuzzy. If you spot any fuzziness or different colored molds, this is a sure sign of harmful bacteria.
Shelf Life Of Blue Cheese
A package of blue cheese usually comes with a sell-by date, which is a good indication of when the cheese may start to lose quality. However, blue cheese can remain safe to eat for a week or two after its sell-by date, although caution is advised.
Compared to some cheeses, blue cheese has a relatively long shelf life. If stored properly in the refrigerator, blue cheese can last 3-4 weeks.
Opening blue cheese does not really affect its shelf life, so you can eat one wedge of blue cheese over a few weeks without worrying. However, proper storage is essential.
You can also freeze blue cheese if you want it to last even longer. Freezing it may alter its texture and appearance, but it remains safe to eat almost indefinitely when frozen.
Proper Storage Of Blue Cheese
Storing blue cheese properly is crucial to extending its shelf life. There are a few things to remember when it comes to the storage of blue cheese.
First, blue cheese should always be refrigerated, unless you want to freeze it to make it last longer. If you leave blue cheese outside on the countertop, it won’t last longer than a couple of days.
However, there is more to the storage of blue cheese than simply sticking it in the fridge. The living cultures in blue cheese need to breathe, so you should not wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Doing so will lead to a fast deterioration in flavor.
However, without any kind of wrapping, blue cheese is likely to dry out. If your blue cheese came in a package, your best bet is to simply keep it in the wrap it came in. Otherwise, parchment, wax paper, or foil works well.
If you do decide to freeze your blue cheese, break it into small portions that you can take out individually without having to thaw the whole chunk. Wrap it in freezer wrap or bags and freeze. Freezing may lead to a change in texture or flavor, but it should still be safe to consume.
Is This Blue Cheese Bad?
Because of its pungent smell and moldy exterior, detecting spoilage in blue cheese can be quite tricky. However, if you know what to look for, you shouldn’t have any trouble making a judgment.
In order to be able to tell whether blue cheese is spoiled or not, you need to learn what good blue cheese looks and smells like. Blue cheese should have a consistently colored cream or white body that is threaded through with greenish-blue veins. It should smell pungent, but not in a way that makes you want to run to the bathroom.
There are a few tell-tale signs that blue cheese has gone bad. The mold on blue cheese is not fuzzy, so if you see any fuzziness, throw it away. Likewise, grey or black mold or shiny pink or yellow spots of yeast are definite indications of spoilage.
In addition, if blue cheese is tough and dry or slimy to the touch, it’s probably best to chuck it in the trash. And if the smell tickles your gag reflex, follow your body’s warning and don’t put it in your mouth. If all blue cheese does that, it’s probably not the snack for you.
In Summary: Blue Cheese
- Like all cheeses, blue cheese can go bad.
- The mold on blue cheese comes from a unique culture that does not produce mycotoxins, unlike other molds.
- If stored properly, blue cheese can last 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator and almost indefinitely if frozen.
- Blue cheese should be refrigerated and wrapped in foil, wax wrap, or parchment.
- If your blue cheese has any fuzzy mold or mold of a color other than bluish-green, you should throw it out.
- Likewise, pink or yellow discoloration on the body, a slimy or dry exterior, or a gag-worthy smell means your blue cheese is not safe to eat.
Blue cheese is not for everyone, but many love it for its intense and complex flavors. Before you lay out the blue cheese on your dinner party cheese board, make sure to check it for signs of spoilage – just because it’s already moldy doesn’t mean it can’t go bad.