Jan172013

17 Comments

January Skill of the Month: Waxing cheese

Guest post by RightWingMom, our Skill of the Month editor.

image by cwbuecheler

image by cwbuecheler

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:

double boiler

dedicated pot or metal coffee tin

natural boar bristle brush

parchment paper

favorite hard cheeses: cheddar, Swiss, parmesan, gouda, etc.

cheese wax

 

Steps:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  1. Rest your cheese, wax up, on parchment paper.  Parchment will protect your kitchen counter from wax drippings and make clean up easier!
  2. When the wax is dry, dip or brush on the other side.
  3. Repeat until cheese is thoroughly coated, this can take up to 4 coats or more.  Make sure there are no air bubbles or cracks.
  4. 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.
  5. Store in a cool dark environment to allow aging.

Tutorial Videos:

Dipping Method

 

 

Brushing Method

 

 

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!

There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 5 years. Come join me on my journey to becoming more prepared to handle everyday emergencies and worst case scenarios.

(17) Readers Comments

  1. Interesting. This is not something I have ever considered.

  2. Do you consider it safe to wax storebought cheese? I have heard some concern from the Extension Office.

    • Vicki,
      As long as it is hard cheese and you follow the instructions, you shouldn’t have a problem. Most of the research I did had people waxing both homemade, as well as, store bought cheeses.

      :)

    • I have waxed my storebought cheese and then sealed it in foodsaver bags, So far about 3 weeks now it is working. Remember to turn the cheese every few days. I have also bought cheese that was already waxed and been able to keep it in my food storage rooom for a year.

  3. Glad you posted this. Asked for “cheesewax” and got it for Christmas – planning a cross country move right now so haven’t used it, but am anxious to. Appreciate your step by step and tips.

  4. I have found lots of great sales for cheddar the last few months $1.25 or $1.50 for those 8 oz. chunks. Do you think I could stack these 4 high and then just wax the stack to save on wax. The budget for this is a bit tight.

    • Mike,
      Understand about the tight budget!

      My concern would be air bubbles and creating weak points between the pieces of cheese. The wax must make a complete and solid seal. If it becomes compromised, the entire batch could be vulnerable.

      • Sure thats what I was thinking too. Thanks.

  5. Does this mean that storebought, commercially waxed cheese can be kept this long as well? My Aldi had some nice deals on Edam and Gouda in red waxed wheels, and I’d love to know if I can just tuck it away in the fridge and leave it for a good long time.

    • Lynn ~ According to what I’ve read, YES!
      ;)

  6. Any idea what that “cheese wax” is made of? You can’t get it here in Scandinavia and I’m trying not to buy anything I can make. I already have endless amounts of beeswax to hand. Is it just a mixture of paraffin and colour?

  7. Thanks for posting this article, as cheese is a huge comfort food for me and even for keeping cheese in the house if you buy in bulk – this is a great way to save room in the fridge and save those portions from going bad. I’ll definitely have to try this method. It looks so easy!

  8. I bought some cheese wax to try and then read an article about the possible botulism from the anaerobic enviroment. It spooked me and i didn’t dare try it. Any thoughts?

  9. Thanks for putting this info out. I have never attempted this before, but am anxious to try. So can I purchase the blocks of cheese from the store and wax these to store for long term or is it really for homemade cheese? How do I prepare the store-bought cheese, do I put it out on the counter for a couple days or in the fridge for a couple days? Stupid question – do you just cut the wax off to eat the cheese??

  10. OMG we love cheese!!! We are such a cheesy family!!! Been savin up my red wax for a while now… time to get started on this prep skill… Me an all my cheese-eaters are gonna be wearin our cheesy grins! Say cheese!!! No, say CHEESE!!! ;)

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