Fresh mozzarella is the perfect way to add a little luxury to your dish.
It’s traditionally a Southern Italian cheese, usually made from buffalo’s milk with the pasta filata method. However, you can also get mozzarella made from cow, milk, and goat milk.
But you’ve used some fresh mozzarella in a pizza, pasta, or Caprese salad, and now you’ve realized you have no idea how to store the leftover mozzarella.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
In this article, we’ll explain how to store fresh mozzarella, whether you’ve opened your package or not, as well as how to tell if your mozzarella is bad and how long you can expect your mozzarella to last.
For those of you that want fast answers, here’s the summary: Because mozzarella is a soft cheese, unfortunately, it will go bad 3-5 days after you open the package. However, by submerging your mozzarella in brine, you can extend the storage life to 7 days!
Fresh Mozzarella Storage Instructions
Just got home from the grocery store with a packet of unopened fresh mozzarella?
This one’s easy – just pop your mozzarella in the refrigerator. But remember, don’t keep your mozzarella in the refrigerator door, as this is the area in the fridge most prone to temperature fluctuations.
Once you’ve opened your fresh mozzarella, you have two options.
Your first option is the quick one, ideal if you know you’re going to eat your mozzarella up within the next few days. Simply strain your leftover mozzarella, wrap it up in plastic wrap, and make sure there are no air pockets.
Then, put this in an airtight container, and place that in the refrigerator. Wrapping your fresh mozzarella like this will stop it from drying up – the wrap and airtight container act as a barrier between your mozzarella and the air.
Your other option is a little more complicated, but your fresh mozzarella will last longer and taste better.
Look at the packaging of your fresh mozzarella, and identify what your mozzarella is submerged in. It will either be brine (a combination of water and salt) or water.
Once you’ve worked out how the manufacturer has submerged it, replicate the liquid. So that’s either water – boil it and let it cool to ensure you don’t add bacteria to your mozzarella – or brine.
To make brine, mix a teaspoon of salt per 1 cup of water.
The complicated thing about this method is that you need to remember to change the water or brine every other day.
Otherwise, you run the risk of your fresh mozzarella going bad.
However, replicating the liquid your mozzarella is in, and changing it every other day is the best way to store mozzarella. In fact, it’s not necessary but to get the most out of your mozzarella, you should open the packet a few days after you get home from the grocery store to replace the liquid, even if you’re not planning on using it.
Keep your mozzarella fully submerged in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Any fresh mozzarella that’s not submerged will go dry.
How Long Will Your Fresh Mozzarella Last?
Fresh mozzarella is traditionally served the day after it’s made so the sooner the better!
However, just by storing the mozzarella in brine, manufacturers extend the storage life to a week. Plus, your fresh mozzarella is probably vacuum-packed, meaning an unopened packet will last 2-3 weeks. That’s when the best-by date will be, but your mozzarella should be fine 3-5 days after that date.
Once your fresh mozzarella has been opened, expect it to last 3-5 days in the refrigerator if you’ve wrapped it in plastic wrap.
If you’ve submerged your open mozzarella in brine or water, it will last 5-7 days.
Soft and high water content so bacteria spreads fast, unlike hard cheeses
The Signs That Your Fresh Mozzarella Has Gone Bad
Unfortunately, fresh mozzarella goes bad faster than other cheeses, because it is soft. Therefore, bacteria can spread quickly. Here are the signs to look out for:
- Bloated bag. You might notice your bag has puffed up, if your mozzarella is unopened. This will be because bacteria have fed on your mozzarella and produced gas.
- Mold. If you find any mold on your mozzarella, or on the packaging of your mozzarella, chuck it immediately. Don’t just cut the mold off – mozzarella is soft so bacteria will likely have spread throughout, even if it’s not visible.
- Discoloration. Your mozzarella is likely white, but it may also have a yellow tinge. It all depends on the cow’s diet. However, if you notice your mozzarella has changed in color, or is anything other than white/yellow, don’t eat it!
- Sour smell.
- Sour taste. If all of the above seems fine but you’re still worried, cut a little mozzarella off and give it a try. Obviously, mozzarella is usually a little sour, but an overly bitter taste means it’s gone off. And don’t worry – eating a little bad mozzarella won’t do you any harm.
If you identify any of the above signs, throw your mozzarella away.
One last thing. Your mozzarella might have gone dry, especially if you haven’t wrapped it or submerged it adequately. This mozzarella won’t be dangerous, but it will have lost its delicious texture, so chuck it for quality purposes!
Since dry mozzarella isn’t dangerous, though, feel free just to cut the dry part off and eat the rest!
The Round-Up On Mozzarella
Unfortunately, fresh mozzarella isn’t the easiest food to store, but it’s worth perfecting your storage methods in order to enjoy this delicious, slightly sour, stringy cheese!
Here’s the recap:
- Here are the key signs that your mozzarella has gone bad: a bloated bag, mold, discoloration, overly sour smell, or an overly sour taste.
- Once you’ve opened your mozzarella, keep it submerged in brine or water to extend its shelf life for a week in the refrigerator.
- Since fresh mozzarella from the grocery store is almost always submerged and vacuum packed, you can expect it to last 2-3 weeks unopened.