Have you ever bought a block of delicious cream cheese only to leave it opened and half-eaten in the fridge after a week?
It can be pretty disappointing to waste such a delicious and creamy treat, so you ask yourself if maybe you could still take a tiny piece to put on your bagel.
You check its appearance and its smell to find out if it’s still good to eat, and you wonder, how long does cream cheese last?
As an avid cheese lover and baker, knowing the shelf life of cream cheese and the proper way to store it is important to avoid spoiled food and tummy trouble.
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How Cream Cheese is Made
Cream cheese is one of the softer and lighter cheeses available in the market. It has a salty and slightly sour taste, with a consistency that’s a bit thicker and heavier than butter.
Its richness also makes it a versatile ingredient in baking cakes, whipping up frostings, preparing desserts and even savory dishes.
Many cooks and bakers use this to create a variety of edible treats because it is also readily available in the supermarket. Others prefer making their own cream cheese as it entails simple ingredients and follows a process that requires minimal effort.
When it comes to creating any type of cheese, it is common knowledge that fresh milk is the main ingredient. Before anything, the milk is pasteurized to ensure that it is safe and clean to consume.
Depending on the milk and enzymes used, the milk will curdle and eventually result to a number of different cheeses including Manchego, Brie, Gorgonzola, Mozzarella, and Cream Cheese to name a few.
Some cheeses are even aged to give you that pungent odor and the occasional mold that is safe and delicious to eat.
And because milk is involved here, it is important to take note of how to properly store it, especially once the packaging is opened, to retain its flavor and texture and to avoid wasting your food.
Creating cream cheese can be done in the factory or by hand. The Prairie Homestead (TPH) shares an easy way to make cream cheese at home, and all you need are a couple of ingredients and materials including a quart of cream (or half and half), starter cultures that will help the cream curdle, cheesecloth, and a bit of sea salt to taste.
Just like any other cheese, once the cultures are introduced to the cream, it will be a waiting of game of around 8-10 hours depending on the temperature of your environment.
Once the waiting is over, you will have to transfer the cheese to the cheesecloth and allow the whey to drip for about 12 more hours. According to TPH, the longer you allow it to drip, the firmer your cheese will be.
Shelf-life of Cream Cheese
Since cream cheese is made from cream, and cream spoils quite easily, it is important to keep in mind, you must wonder, exactly how long does cream cheese last?
If you love cream cheese and prefer buying it in the supermarket, a foil-wrapped block can last up to a month from its sell date when left unopened.
For opened cream cheese, it would be best to consume it immediately, but can last you up to a week or two if you store it properly either in the freezer or refrigerator.
When buying any type of dairy product, it is important to read the labels and check the dates printed, as this can help you figure out the shelf-life of whatever product you have in your hands.
When it comes to cream cheese, make sure to discard it immediately if it develops an odor or changes color. If it develops mold, don’t even try to salvage it since it would be hard to determine the extent of the mold because of its creamy consistency.
Cream cheese sold in plastic containers have a similar shelf-life to its foil-wrapped counterpart; the only difference is that it is not advisable to store it in the freezer, as spreadable types of cheeses tend to lose the right flavour and texture when frozen.
In case you’ve already opened your cream cheese and you want to store some for later, it would be best to keep it in its original container.
Just in case you can no longer use the original package, you should look for a durable container that will be able to retain the freshness and pure taste of your cream cheese.
You can use Formaticum cheese bags that are great in preserving any kind of cheese. These bags are made from polyethylene and wax-coated paper that create a suitable and breathable storage container for both hard and soft cheeses.
The materials used easily get rid of humidity which is a major cause of food spoilage. Also it has cheese and date labels imprinted on the bag allowing you to keep track of what and when you’re storing your cheese.
Another storage technique that can prolong the shelf-life of cream cheese is by canning. This video shows the process that can be easily done at home.
Although the National Center for Food Preservation has no data to prove that canning cheese is safe, some individuals prefer it as it can prolong the lifespan of various cheeses including cream cheese for an indefinite period of time.
Enjoying Cream Cheese the Best Possible Way – How Long Does Cream Cheese Last?
Whether it is processed or homemade cream cheese, again it is advisable to consume the cheese as soon as you open its packaging to get the most out of its flavor. This also works for pastries, cakes, and other dishes that contain cream cheese.
Again, always remember that dairy products are one of the food groups that easily spoil so it is best to take extra care when eating and storing them.
Don’t leave them out or store them in the refrigerator for too long, especially soft cheeses like cream cheese. In finding a reliable container, you can opt to store your cream cheese in a breathable container like Formaticum cheese bags .
You can find out the further information when you need a cool kitchen gadget to slice cheese
By knowing the shelf-life of cream cheese and other dairy products, food preparation becomes easier and storing food becomes smarter. If you’ve any questions or stuff to share about how long does cream cheese last, feel free to leave a comment.