January Skill of the Month: Waxing cheese
Guest post by RightWingMom, our Skill of the Month editor.
Many of us have been stockpiling Mac & Cheese, Hamburger Helper, boxes of Velveeta, and cans of Campbell’s cheese soup. If you can afford it, you may have freeze dried shredded cheese and powdered cheese in #10 cans; all in an attempt to provide that most beloved comfort food. There’s another alternative to consider, though: waxing real cheese for long term storage. Sounds too good to be true but this technique has been around for years.
You’ll need these supplies:
dedicated pot or metal coffee tin
favorite hard cheeses: cheddar, Swiss, parmesan, gouda, etc.
- If your cheese does not have a rind (hardened sides) set it out on your counter, at a cool temperate, for a few days. The sides will harden but the inside will remain soft.
- Melt cheese wax in double boiler. Do NOT use direct heat because this wax is flammable. The pan you use will need to be dedicated to cheese waxing because the red wax in nearly impossible to clean out. Some people have used tin coffee cans. This allows them to store unused wax in the can between waxing sessions.
- Dipping Method ~ Dip one side of your cheese into the hot wax. Rest your cheese, wax side up, on parchment paper.
Brushing Method ~ Dip your boar bristle brush into the hot wax. (Do not use a nylon brush. The nylon will melt when placed in the hot wax.) Brush a thin layer onto the top and sides of your cheese.
- Rest your cheese, wax up, on parchment paper. Parchment will protect your kitchen counter from wax drippings and make clean up easier!
- When the wax is dry, dip or brush on the other side.
- Repeat until cheese is thoroughly coated, this can take up to 4 coats or more. Make sure there are no air bubbles or cracks.
- Label your cheese with flavor and date. Labeling can be done with a Sharpie or by applying a paper label with the final wax coat.
- Store in a cool dark environment to allow aging.
Most research I’ve done suggests the best temperature range for storing waxed cheese is between 35 and 55 degrees F. When stored at these temperatures, waxed cheese can last 25 years or more. There were a few people willing to store waxed cheese at room temperature. The results were faster aging and sharper flavors. This would mean you could wax your cheese and store it in a climate controlled, cool dark pantry or food storage room. However, it would have a shorter shelf life; perhaps rotating it every 6 months to 1 year.
My concern is a grid down situation. We live in the Deep South and summer temperatures can easily reach 100 degrees F. If I cannot keep my waxed cheese below 75 degrees F, we will probably have a cheese feast! According to my oldest son, “This sounds gouda”. LOL
Now…keep an eye out for sales and let’s get a jump start on hyperinflation! There are real concerns that milk subsidies will expire this year and milk could reach $8 per gallon. The natural ripple effect will be increased prices on all dairy products. Store it now while prices are still reasonable!
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