When you’re immersed in the world of storage, pretty much anything related to storage catches your eye. We’ve explored gun storage, decoration storage and wine storage. So when we recently spotted an online article about a massive cheese storage system in the United Kingdom, we had to dig further.
Earlier this year, a U.K. company called JWCI Ltd. Process Engineering designed, manufactured and installed a cheese “racking system” in a second-floor storage room at a customer’s facility. The system pretty much takes up the whole room, from floor to ceiling, JWCI says. The storage racks are about 11.5 feet high and 59 feet long. The temperature in the room ranges between 50 and 54 degrees Fahrenheit.
John Clarke, managing director of JWCI, said the stainless-steel storage racks, which glide along on tracks, can easily be moved back and forth by one person.
JWCI brags that its system expanded cheese storage capacity at the facility by more than 70 percent, without an inch of space being added. JWCI said the new system allowed its customer—a small-scale producer of Stilton cheese—to grow.
“Unless a solution was found to the storage issue, this could have prevented further growth of the customer’s business,” Clarke said in a news release.
Talk about a cheese challenge.
Storing Cheese at Home
Speaking of cheese challenges, the typical American devoured 33.5 pounds of the dairy product in 2012, according to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. That means we’ve got our own predicaments when it comes to storing Swiss and Cheddar and Gruyère. And it’s pretty much a given that we don’t own fancy cheese storage systems like the ones made by the U.K. company.
We don’t recommend storing cheese in a self-storage unit; it probably wouldn’t keep very well. We’ll turn to the experts from the American Cheese Society and Whole Foods Market for other tips on how to ensure your Parmesan remains primo.
1. As a general rule, buy only as much cheese as you’d be able to eat within a few days.
2. Refrigerate solid cheese in its original wrapping until it’s been opened.
3. Always put cheese in fresh wrapping, preferably in waxed or parchment paper, after it’s been opened to stop it from drying out or absorbing other flavors. However, don’t leave cheese in the same wrapping for long periods of time.
4. Keep cheese at 35 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit in the bottom vegetable and fruit bin of your refrigerator.
5. In most cases, avoid freezing natural cheeses, as they can lose their texture and potentially their original flavor.
6. Hard natural cheese can be frozen if wrapped tightly in plastic in sections of 1 pound or less and 1-inch thick. The cheese will be good for six to eight weeks or so. Thaw the cheese in the refrigerator, then use it within a few days. Previously frozen cheese is most appropriate for cooked dishes.
7. If you see mold on solid cheese, trim it off, along with a half-inch piece around it. The exception? Cheese ripened with harmless mold, such as blue cheese.
8. Don’t leave moist cheese, such as ricotta or mozzarella, out of the refrigerator for more than two hours.