Knowing whether blue cheese has gone bad is a complicated process because blue cheese already has mold growing on it. This makes determining the shelf life and freshness of blue cheese difficult, but there are ways to tell if it has gone bad.
Blue cheese generally lasts either two months or a week past the sell-by date, depending on whether or not your cheese has a date on the packaging. Crumbled blue cheese can last up to three weeks past the sell-by date, but you should always check for signs of spoiling since dairy products are more susceptible to going bad than other foods.
In order to get the most out of blue cheese you need to know how to store it properly and how to tell if it has gone bad.
Does Blue Cheese Go Bad? How Long Does Blue Cheese Last?
Blue cheese can go bad extremely quickly if you don’t know how to store it correctly, since dairy is very susceptible to mold and spoiling.
How Long Does Blue Cheese Last Outside
You should never store blue cheese outside a refrigerator or freezer, since it will go bad in a matter of days or even hours regardless of where you store it.
Dairy products like blue cheese will develop mold when exposed to heat, moisture, and light, all of which are common outside of a refrigerator or freezer.
Blue cheese needs cold temperatures to keep mold from developing and to prevent the cheese from spoiling as it continues to age, so leaving it in a pantry, even in a cool, dark spot with an airtight container, will do nothing to stop the cheese from going bad.
How Long Does Blue Cheese Last in the Fridge
Blue cheese wedges can last up to two months after purchasing or a week after the sell-by date when kept in a refrigerator, while crumbles can last up to three weeks past their date.
Because of this, you should try to keep blue cheese either in or with its original packaging, or at least write the sell-by date on the container, so you can know how long your cheese has been sitting past its date.
When using a refrigerator, however, you need to be careful to keep your cheese bundled up and sealed tightly, since blue cheese can both take on the smell and taste of other nearby foods, or cause those foods to smell like blue cheese.
How Long Does Blue Cheese Last in the Freezer
Freezing blue cheese can help preserve it, even past the sell-by date, but only up to two months before the cold starts to damage the cheese and cause it to lose its potent flavor.
When you are freezing blue cheese, make sure it is placed in an airtight, freezer safe container since blue cheese is susceptible to extreme cold and especially freezer burn if you don’t store it properly.
Unlike with cheese in the fridge, blue cheese is less likely to spoil but more likely to become stale and flavorless over time, so be sure to mark the date you began freezing your cheese somewhere on the container for future reference.
Blue cheese can last up to two months in the refrigerator or freezer, but will go bad in a matter of hours if left out.
How To Tell If Blue Cheese Has Gone Bad / How To Know Blue Cheese is Fresh
Part of the problem with determining if blue cheese is fresh is that the cheese already has harmless mold growing on it and has a naturally powerful aroma. As such, any signs that blue cheese has gone bad are often subtle at first, so you will need to be careful when checking on blue cheese near the end of its shelf life.
Unnatural mold growing on the cheese. The mold that naturally grows on blue cheese is blue, soft, and spotty, so any other grows on your cheese are signs that your cheese has gone bad. In particular, any dark or fuzzy spots are likely from dangerous mold growing on your cheese, and are a sign that you should throw the cheese out as soon as possible.
A strong ammonia smell. As cheese goes bad it starts to develop a smell similar to strong ammonia or other chemicals, and this is a good sign that your cheese has gone bad. Also watch out for stale or muted smells since these can also indicate that your cheese is starting to age and won’t last much longer.
Discoloration of the cheese. Blue cheese naturally comes in a yellowish color with blue flecks, so if either of those colors start to change then your cheese is likely going bad. This is particularly true for moldy colors like brown, green, and black, which signal that fungus is starting to take root on your cheese and that you should throw it out soon.
How to Store Blue Cheese?
Blue cheese has a few major weaknesses that need to be addressed when trying to store it long term, otherwise the cheese might be ruined without you realizing it. Blue cheese is vulnerable to mold and contamination, but it can also be crushed or tainted by other objects in your fridge or freezer if you are not careful.
Sealed Container. Whether you use plasticware or a bag, make sure that there is no way for air to get into the container and that as much air as possible is squeezed out before you seal it. This not only protects your cheese from spoiling but also prevents it from adopting the smells of other foods in the fridge, or spreading its strong smell to nearby items.
Safe Placement. This applies more to the refrigerator than the freezer, but blue cheese should be kept on top of other items so that there is no risk of the cheese being crushed or crumbled by something heavy landing on it. Using drawers or placing your cheese on top of another, solid container can both help with this issue.
Can You Freeze Blue Cheese? How?
Blue cheese can be frozen to increase its shelf life, but blue cheese is very vulnerable to extreme cold and can easily be ruined in the freezer. In order to preserve blue cheese properly there are several tricks you need to know in order to prevent your cheese from going bad in the freezer.
Cut the cheese into smaller pieces. When you are working with larger wedges of blue cheese, cut them down into ½ pound lumps so that they are easier to store. This also helps spread your cheese around, meaning you can defrost your cheese in small amounts as needed rather than defrosting the entire brick every time you need some cheese.
Wrap your cheese in multiple layers. You need to insulate your cheese from direct contact with the cold, so wrap it with plastic wrap and freezer paper first before bagging it. Also make sure all the air is pressed out of the bag before you place the wrapped cheese in the freezer, otherwise the cheese might go stale in the bag.
How to Thaw Blue Cheese?
For the best results when unfreezing cheese, take the cheese you want out of the freezer and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight to thaw.
Once that is done, take the cheese out of the refrigerator, completely unwrap it, and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes or until it becomes soft all the way through.
Frequently Asked Questions About Blue Cheese’s Shelf Life
Besides knowing how to keep blue cheese from spoiling and how to tell the difference between beneficial blue mold and dangerous mold, there are many other questions one can have about blue cheese. Here two of those questions will be answered to help you better understand how to keep and use blue cheese.
Can you make blue cheese at home? You can make blue cheese at home, but it is an incredibly advanced process involved a variety of chemical ingredients and special tools to develop the cheese. If not done correctly, homemade blue cheese can easily develop dangerous forms of mold and become a health risk to you rather than food.
What does blue cheese pair with? While specific pairs vary between different types of blue cheese, they generally pair well with sweet wines, fruits, nuts, and vegetables, making them great for vegetarian meals. At the same time, they can also be paired with beef, pork, and seafood, as well as whole grains and strong spices or roasted flavors.
It can be hard to tell if blue cheese has gone bad since it already has mold in it, but there are other signs that the cheese has gone bad. In terms of shelf life, blue cheese lasts either two months, a week past the sell-by date for wedges, or three weeks past the sell-by date for crumbles.