How to Wrap Cheese

We love cheese – here are some great tips on how to store it to last a little longer. I bet the cheesemonger in Edinburg knows all about this!

How to Store Cheese
Cheese storage tips and tricks

By  • December 11, 2013

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we’re sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: Good cheese is an investment — protect it.

11194552814 31bb4f6401 b How to Wrap Cheese

When it comes to cheese, sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. Ideally, you shouldn’t buy more cheese than you can consume in a few days. However few of us have a strong enough will to resist the jewel-like beauties of the cheese aisle, despite their often hefty price tag. One thing’s for sure: if you’re dropping a bundle on some curdled milk, you better make sure to keep it as fresh as possible for as long as possible.

First thing’s first: steer clear of plastic wrap.

This may come as a surprise, especially to the vegetarians in the room, but cheese is actually a living thing. It sweats. It ages. It even breathes. When cheese is wrapped in plastic wrap it can no longer intake oxygen — in short, it suffocates, resulting in an amoniac flavor and possibly even harmful bacteria.

As self-professed “curd nerd” Jake Lahne of Serious Cheese explains, plastic wrap can also cause the cheese to taste like, well, plastic. Which is not the flavor you were hoping for when you invested in a $15 hunk of funky Scharfe Maxx from the cheesemonger. So if your cheese was wrapped in plastic at the supermarket, free it from its bonds as soon as you get home. Because you know better.

11310781026 fca4125076 b How to Wrap Cheese

Next, we wrap our own way.

If plastic wrap is a no-no, what should you wrap your cheese in? The overwhelming consensus is: cheese paper. This specialty item allows the cheese to breathe, but also protects it from drying out. If you don’t want to invest in cheese paper, parchment paper (which we went with) works just fine.

Assemble your tools: cheese paper (or parchment paper), scissors, masking tape, a marker, and, of course, the cheese in question. It’s time to wrap.

Cut off a large square of wrapping paper — we recommend it be 2 to 3 times the size of your cheese, just to be safe. Place your cheese diagonally with the thicker end at one corner and the thinner end pointing toward the center.

11310737595 5882fb9c8c b How to Wrap Cheese

Fold the corner over the fat end of the cheese. Crease. Flatten the paper along one side, as you would do wrapping a present.

11310780556 f8d9b575de b How to Wrap Cheese   11310780436 01380e5596 b How to Wrap Cheese

Pull the side you had flattened tightly across the cheese. Crease. Repeat this process on the opposite side of the cheese, being sure to keep the paper pulled tightly.

11310810284 4d1bce02c2 b How to Wrap Cheese

Crease the tail sticking out from the end of your cheese. Pull it up towards the thicker part of the cheese.

11310861923 8058801691 b How to Wrap Cheese

Ta-da! Tape the final flap to secure your beautiful, secure cheese package. Make sure to write the type of cheese, as well as the date on which you purchased it, on the tape. That way you can tell what’s what without unwrapping, and can keep track of how long it’s been sitting in your fridge.

If you’re still feeling iffy about your wrapping skills, watch this handy-dandy video.

11194525375 9e0a2b4abb b How to Wrap Cheese

Hard Cheeses:

Hard cheeses should be true to their name, but you still need to be able to cut it. Tami Parr of The Pacific Northwest Cheese Project says that from the moment the curds are separated from the whey, your cheese begins to dehydrate. Refrigerators accelerate the dehydration process.

To help your firmer cheeses retain moisture put them inside an open plastic bag after they’re wrapped. This should help keep the cheese from becoming an unappetizing rock while still allowing it to breathe. You can also wrap the whole thing loosely in plastic wrap, as suggested by Nora Singley of The Kitchn.

11194558356 95ed4f9181 b How to Wrap Cheese

Blue Cheese:

If you love blue cheese, you really love it. You love the pungent, acrid explosion that floods your tongue upon first contact, and then slowly mellows into a creamy backdrop. You also apparently love “karaoke, swing dancing, and shouting ‘WOO HOO’ when you’re having fun.” If you love your blue cheese, you’ve got to store it properly — and keep it away from your other cheese, who might not love it as much as you.

Blue cheese is kind of a flavor hog. It knows it’s got the sharpest taste around, and if you’re not careful its flavors will infuse your more-mild specimens. To avoid this wrap your blue cheese in the same manner as above (you can even double-wrap to be extra safe), then store it in a plastic container.

11194558426 bd707ac71f b How to Wrap Cheese

Soft Cheese:

This is where things get a little sticky. Remember when we said never to wrap your cheese in plastic wrap? Well, here we contradict ourselves a bit. Because when it comes to softer, creamy cheeses — like a lovely, gooey, stinky brie or camembert — people are in a bit of a disagreement about how to keep them at their peak.

Some, like Eat By Date, argue that wrapping softer cheeses in plastic wrap helps prevent them from drying out. Others, like the folks at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, opt for paper. In the end, if you decide to go the plastic route, just make sure to change your cheese every couple of days.

Very soft cheeses, such as ricotta or mozzerella, should be stored in its natural liquid in a plastic container. Watch it carefully because it will not last as long as some of its firmer cousins.

11194525185 b1973a89ac b How to Wrap Cheese

Storage:

Now that your cheese is wrapped up pretty, where should you keep it? Real Simple advises to store wrapped cheese in a crisper in the fridge, which will have the most consistent temperature and humidity. If you’re a true fromage fiend, devote a whole drawer of your fridge to cheese — and then invite us over for a cheese party.

 

A few more assorted cheese storage tips:

If you unwrap your cheese and are surprised by something fuzzy clinging to its surface, don’t panic. Just cut it off and continue munching; unless it’s on a soft cheese in which case it may be past its prime. Trust your instincts — if the cheese looks or smells off, it probably is.

Don’t freeze cheese! It will muddle the flavor and texture. However, if you’re just using the cheese for cooking, freezing is kosher.

If you take out your cheese for a cocktail party or for a late-night snack, be sure to re-wrap it in fresh paper.

In the end, your cheese is a living, breathing thing. Treat it like one, and it’ll treat you back.

Photos by James Ransom

Health Supplements

I have taken my fair share (or more?) of health supplements. Always thinking they were adding something – here or there. Not too sure anymore. Take a look at this very cool and interactive infographic – details from io9:

How many of your health supplements are actually snake oil?

ku xlarge Health Supplements

Click on the above to go to main interactive guide

In this brilliant chart by David McCandless from 2010, you can see a gorgeous visualization of how many supplements are actually helpful — based on scientific studies — and how many are basically nothing more than snake oil.

McCandless, writing on Information is Beautiful, explains:

This image is a “balloon race”. The higher a bubble, the greater the evidence for its effectiveness. But the supplements are only effective for the conditions listed inside the bubble.

You might also see multiple bubbles for certain supps. These is because some supps affect a range of conditions, but the evidence quality varies from condition to condition. For example, there’s strong evidence that Green Tea is good for cholesterol levels. But evidence for its anti-cancer effects is conflicting. In these cases, we give a supp another bubble.

via Information is Beautiful (h/t Nicholas Thompson)

Disposable Water Bottles

Wow – take a look at this infographic and never buy another bottle of water! Details from Greatist:

WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER BUY DISPOSABLE WATER BOTTLES AGAIN

We’ve all been there: You’ve just finished a heavy-duty sweat session at the gym, you’re thirsty, and the water fountain looks like it’s covered in eight million people’s saliva, plus a little bit of mold. The easiest solution? Ducking out to buy a bottle of water from the first drug store you can find.

It seems innocent enough — we’ve all gotta hydrate, right? But unfortunately, bottled water is wreaking havoc on the Earth’s precious resources. Plus, it’s almost definitely not any safer or cleaner than tap water — and in fact, sometimes it’s worse.

If you’ve been wondering about the consequences of a bottled water habit (whether it’s personal, national, or global), then look no further. This handy-dandy infographic outlines the stark consequences — environmental, physical, and economic — of guzzling the bottled stuff. Ready to quit it? Then check out our action tips at the bottom.

 Disposable Water Bottles

 

DITCHING THE BOTTLE: YOUR ACTION PLAN

  1. The best long-term solution is to make tap water safe for everyone. Write to your representatives in Congress, the FDA, and your state’s governor and ask them to maintain high standards for municipal water (and to adopt strict standards for bottled water safety and labeling, while you’re at it).
  2. Carry a reusable water bottle (ideally BPA-free) everywhere you go. That way, you’ll always be able to hydrate without purchasing bottles. Fill up for free at water fountains and most take-out restaurants — just ask an employee if they’ll fill it up for you. If you’re worried about contaminants, consider buying a water bottle with a filter.
  3. Learn more about your tap water. Call your water provider (the one that sends your water bills) and ask them about water quality in your area. All tap water suppliers must provide annual water quality reports to their customers.
  4. If your tap water does contain contaminants, select a filter that removes them. Check out the National Resources Defense Council’s Consumer Guide to Water Filters to learn which filter is right for you.
  5. Pledge to Take Back the Tap and Ditch Disposable. These two campaigns help to spread awareness about the consequences of drinking bottled water and encourage participants to commit to living a life that’s disposable-free.
  6. Do not reuse disposable plastic water bottles. They can’t be properly cleaned and may leach chemicals over repeated uses.
  7. Support initiatives to ban bottled water. Thus far, New York City, Seattle, San Francisco, and Chicago’s Cook County have banned the use of government funds to buy bottled water, and some universities have started to ban the sale of bottled water.
  8. If you have to buy bottled, buy it better. Learn where your bottled water was sourced. Check the bottle’s label and/or the cap — if it says “from a municipal source” or “from a community water system,” that means it’s derived from tap water and there’s no point in paying for it in bottled form. If it’s not labeled, call the bottler and ask where it came from. Choose only varieties that come from protected sources.

Here’s how you can help: Encourage your workplace to go bottled-water free with these steps, take the Ditch Disposable Pledge, and share your commitment on Twitter with the hashtag #DitchDisposable.

Wrappz Skin – and FREE Offer!

I recently had the opportunity to try out a new custom personalized skin for my iPad Air. Besides the actual product, I wanted to let you know about the entire process of designing my own skin all the way through receiving it and installing it.

I was very impressed with the process and love the skin!

wrappz logo uk Wrappz Skin   and FREE Offer!

Disclaimer: Wrappz.com sent me the skin free of charge….and I was able to negotiate a free personalized skin when you visit the Wrappz site; you just need to pay postage! Cool, huh? Details of how you get your free skin are at the end of this post.

The Wrappz.com site is very well designed and laid out. It was easy for me to navigate and find my way to their customized skins for iPads – specifically for the new iPad Air. It was so easy to upload and crop my own image (cool picture don’t you think?):

photo 3 1024x768 Wrappz Skin   and FREE Offer!

Out of everything, the only less than ideal part of ordering my Wrappz.com custom skin was waiting for it to arrive. I was hopeful it would look nice and be of high quality, but I would need to be patient to find out. Since Wrappz is based in the UK and I ordered my personalized skin just before Christmas, my wait was a couple of weeks.

Once it arrived I must tell you that I was extremely impressed! The quality of the skin and the clear instructions for installing it made it easy to put it to its test quickly. And test it I did: I had all four of my grandkids here for Christmas and they ALL love to play on Papa’s iPad. The new skin came through unscathed even with all the extra usage.

A little background on Wrappz.com: they are Europe’s largest producer of personalised cases and custom skins for mobile devices including phones, iPads, iPods, Laptops, Game Consoles etc.

For your FREE skin, just use the Voucher Code freeskin. This code is for a FREE Wrappz personalized skin; you will just need to pay postage.

Overall – a huge thank you to Wrappz for letting me go through the process of ordering and receiving my great skin. I am very happy and DanLikesThis!

 

One Coin

I love tech AND finance AND efficiency AND ease! Take a look at this package that wraps all of that up in one cool bundle!

Click here for more details and watch the video below.

One Coin for All of Your Cards

Coin - is a connected device that contains all your credit, debit, gift, loyalty and membership cards in one place. Instead of carrying all those cards in your wallet just carry your Coin. The best part? Coin works anywhere those cards are accepted. Dip, swipe or slide; Coin knows all the moves.

Olive Oil and Costco

As if you needed me to tell one more reason I love Costco, check the results of this study into

The Most (and Least) Fake Extra Virgin Olive Oil Brands

Jumping to the best:

The real deal: California Olive Ranch, Cobram Estate, Lucini. Kirkland Organic, Lucero (Ascolano), McEvoy Ranch Organic are also noted by Eat Grown Local.

From Lifehacker:

original Olive Oil and Costco

Frauds! An estimated 69% of all store-bought extra virgin olive oils in the US are probably fake, according to tests by the University of California. UC Davis tested samples from the top-selling extra virgin olive oil brands to find the ones that are not worth buying and those that are.

In two studies, UC Davis researchers analyzed a total of 186 extra virgin olive oil samples against standards established by the International Olive Council (IOC), as well as methods used in Germany and Australia. They found:

Of the five top-selling imported “extra virgin” olive oil brands in the United States, 73 percent of the samples failed the IOC sensory standards for extra virgin olive oils analyzed by two IOC-accredited sensory panels. The failure rate ranged from a high of 94 percent to a low of 56 percent depending on the brand and the panel. None of the Australian and California samples failed both sensory panels, while 11 percent of the top-selling premium Italian brand samples failed the two panels. Sensory defects are indicators that these samples are oxidized, of poor quality, and/or adulterated with cheaper refined oils.

You might raise your eyebrows at the conclusion that Australian and California extra virgin olive oils are purer than most Italian olive oils, since the research was partially funded by the California Olive Ranch and the California Olive Oil Council and has ties with the Australian Olive Association. However, we’ve seen before that olive oil simply bottled in Italy might not be the real thing. You can see the detailed analyses from UC Davis in this PDF.

Update: We had the wrong information with the brands. These are the ones from the latest report’s tables:

The brands that failed to meet the extra virgin olive oil standards, according to this study: Bertolli, Carapelli, Colavita, Star, Pompeian. Eat Grown Local also reports: Filippo Berio, Mazzola, Mezzetta, Newman’s Own, Safeway, and Whole Foods in this list; the data may be from the earlier 2010 study when more brands were evaluated.

The real deal: California Olive Ranch, Cobram Estate, Lucini. Kirkland Organic, Lucero (Ascolano), McEvoy Ranch Organic are also noted by Eat Grown Local.

We’ve shown you a few tips before for how to tell legitimate olive oil from the fake ones, but if you’re in a hurry or just want a shortcut, consider reaching for the brands that tested best.