The very versatile feta cheese can be crumbled on soups and salads, tossed with roasted vegetables, used in different pasta dishes, or served on a charcuterie board. If you have a container in your fridge, you need to know if and how fast it goes bad.
Feta cheese does go bad. It has a best by date printed on the package and can be good for about one week past that date if it has been refrigerated and unopened. If the package has been opened, the cheese will only be good for around five days regardless of whether or not it has passed the best by date.
Does Feta Cheese Go Bad? How Long Does Feta Cheese Last?
Feta cheese has certain needs when it comes to how it is stored. Storing it incorrectly can result in it going bad or losing quality much faster.
How Long Does Feta Cheese Last Outside?
Like most cheeses, feta cheese should not be left out at room temperature. If it is left out, it can start to grow harmful bacteria.
If your package of feta cheese was left out in the package or on a meat/cheese tray, it is not safe to eat past 6 hours.
The longer time is attributed to feta cheese having a high salt content. It is more likely to dry out than spoil within that 6 hours.
How Long Does Feta Cheese Last In The Refrigerator?
Feta cheese can come in a block/chunk or crumbles in brine inside a plastic container. Each style of packaging offers its own recommended shelf life in the fridge.
A block of unopened feta cheese is good for around 2 to 3 months. Unopened feta cheese that comes in brine is good for about 4 to 6 weeks.
A block of feta cheese that has been opened is good for around 5 days. A container of feta cheese in brine once opened will be good for around 4 to 6 weeks if the cheese remains covered in brine.
How Long Does Feta Cheese Last In The Freezer?
Feta cheese can be stored in the freezer. It does not matter if the cheese has been opened or unopened, it just needs to be stored properly and its shelf life will be extended.
You can store a block of feta cheese in the freezer and it will stay good for around 6 months. Feta cheese in brine will also keep in the freezer for about 6 months.
Feta cheese does last longer in the freezer but it may lose some of the flavor and texture. Feta cheese that has been frozen is best used in dishes that will be cooked.
Feta cheese has a longer shelf life when left out than most cheeses because of its saltiness. The best place to store it long-term is in the fridge or freezer.
How To Tell If Feta Cheese Has Gone Bad/How To Know If Feta Cheese Is Fresh
Feta cheese has some very distinct characteristics that can help you determine its level of freshness.
Fresh feta cheese: Fresh feta cheese should be tangy, rich, and a little salty. Feta cheese that has been made with sheep’s milk will have a rich and buttery flavor while feta cheese made with goat’s milk will be harder and have a milder flavor.
Similarly, feta cheese that has gone bad has some particular things that should be looked for to determine whether or not it is still good to eat.
Smell it: Smell is a very good indicator of spoilage. Smell your feta cheese and if it smells sour or in any way unpleasant, it should not be eaten.
Check for sliminess: If the feta cheese that is submerged in brine has become slimy, it won’t be at its best quality. This happens because the ph balance is off. The brine has leeched calcium from the cheese. While you may not get sick, it may be unpleasant to eat.
Check for mold: If the cheese has grown mold or you see any dark specs it is best to get rid of it.
Check the texture: Feta cheese that is past its prime can dry out. While still safe to eat, the texture and the taste will not be pleasant.
How To Store Feta Cheese
Feta cheese is very crumbly and can dry out quickly. If you want to keep your feta fresh for more than a week, it should be kept in brine.
Protect it from the air: Feta cheese should always be protected from air to prevent it from drying out too quickly. It is typically sold in a brine and should be kept in the brine to keep it moist.
Prepare a brine: If there is not enough brine to keep your feta cheese covered, you can make your own to add to the container. This can be done by dissolving 2 tsp. of salt in 1 cup of water.
Can You Freeze Feta Cheese?
Feta cheese can be frozen but the cheese can be affected by freezing. Frozen feta cheese can lose a little of the flavor and can become crumblier. While some changes are unavoidable, proper storage can help maintain the quality of your feta cheese.
Blocks of feta cheese:
Drain it: If the block is bought in brine, it should be drained. If it is unopened, you should open it and drain the brine.
Dry it: Pat the cheese dry with paper towels. Don’t pat it until it is completely dry because that will cause it to dry up.
Divide it: Divide the block into portions depending on how much you will use at one time.
Package it: Wrap each portion with plastic wrap to protect it from freezer burn. Put the wrapped portions into freezer bags and remove as much air as possible.
Crumbled feta cheese:
Divide it: While not necessary, you can portion the crumbled feta cheese before you freeze it.
Package it: Crumbled feta can be stored in the plastic container it comes in and for added protection, you can wrap it in plastic wrap and stick it in a freezer bag.
How To Thaw Feta Cheese
There are a couple of ways that feta cheese can be defrosted for use.
Place in the fridge: If you have the time, placing it in the refrigerator overnight is the best way to thaw it. Defrosting in the fridge takes anywhere from 3 to 12 hours depending on how big the portions are.
Coldwater bath: If you need the cheese sooner, you can put the container in a bowl of cold water. This method will defrost the cheese in 1 to 2 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions About Feta Cheese’s Shelf Life
Can I scrape the mold off of my feta cheese? Spots of mold on hard cheese can be cut off at least one inch around the mold spot. This is not the case with soft cheeses like feta cheese. Any disturbance of the mold spores can cause them to spread over the entire piece or container of cheese rendering it inedible.
Can I get sick from eating spoiled feta cheese? If your feta cheese has been pasteurized, it is unlikely that you will get food poisoning from eating it past its prime. The flavor and texture may be bad and nauseate you. If your feta cheese is unpasteurized, you run the risk of it containing listeria regardless of if it’s spoiled that can cause mild flu-like symptoms.
With endless ways to enjoy feta cheese, I hope you now have a better understanding of how to keep it fresh and tasty and when to toss it.