Keeping the food in your fridge as fresh as possible can be tricky. Did you recently make mozzarella but don't know whether it should go into water? Is it common to store fresh mozzarella in a water-filled container? We've done some digging and have the answers for you.
Let's check them out below:
Generally, it is a good idea to store mozzarella in water before you eat it. We say this because, unlike other cheeses, mozzarella has high water content and a soft texture. Therefore, keeping it in water inside the fridge will help it to keep its shape and flavor.
Of course, if you are eating your mozzarella right away, you don't need to do this, so water is only necessary for longer-term storage.
As we start this post, we will cover everything about mozzarella and discuss how to store it properly. Whether you are new to making pizzas from scratch, love fresh cheese on your food, or have other storage-related questions, we're here to help. With that said, let's dive right into this article!
How Do You Properly Store Mozzarella?
Depending on the size/form of your mozzarella, storing it can get a little tricky. As we said, fresh mozzarella does best in water, as this will help keep its shape and flavor.
According to Epicurious, loaf mozzarella should be wrapped tightly in the crisper drawer. Every time you eat from the loaf, you need to use new plastic to keep the air away from it.
For round/ball Mozzarella, you might want to keep it in the original liquid, drain the package, and wrap it in plastic.
Mozzarella is a somewhat tricky cheese to handle, so everyone will have a different time storing it. Regardless, we recommend sealing your cheese's package, as air exposure is not good.
Especially for long-term storage, having the outside air make its way onto your mozzarella can cause it to flatten and lose its taste.
Should You Store Mozzarella In Water?
Yes. If you don't plan on eating mozzarella right away, putting your cheese in water is a good idea. However, you want to cover the container, even with water surrounding your cheese.
As we said above, mozzarella usually comes with liquid surrounding it, so in that case, keep your cheese in its original container until you're ready to use it.
Does It Go Bad also claims you can store mozzarella in brine or water, seal the container, and then place it on the middle shelf inside your refrigerator.
The middle shelf tends to stay the most consistent temperature-wise, so dairy seems to respond best to that section. One of the best things you can do for cheese is keep it cold and sealed.
How Long Does Mozzarella Last In The Fridge?
You can usually expect fresh mozzarella to last five days in the refrigerator after you open it. The same applies to shredded mozzarella; your cheese package should also have an expiration date.
However, many kitchen experts claim that loaf mozzarella can last upwards of three weeks (21 days) if you keep it unopened inside the fridge, even with a stamped expiration.
Furthermore, some chefs keep their smoked mozzarella in the fridge for 28 days before using it, which can vary depending on how your dairy is made.
Regardless, we recommend checking your mozzarella for mold or unusual smells before preparing it to prevent food-related illness.
How Do I Know If Mozzarella Has Gone Bad?
If you suspect the mozzarella in your fridge has expired, there are a few things to check. Generally, expired mozzarella will:
- Have a bloated bag or package
- Develop mold
- Smell sour
- Have a bitter/bad taste
You can think of this as any expired dairy. When mozzarella goes bad, you will likely see, smell, and taste it. As we mentioned before, inspecting your cheese before using it for cooking is a good idea.
Serving expired mozzarella can make you and your guests sick, which is a major no-no.
On top of these symptoms, we also want to warn against eating discolored mozzarella. Even if your cheese doesn't smell funky or has visible mold, any discoloration could mean it has expired.
So, there are a few red flags to keep an eye out for.
Can I Freeze Mozzarella?
As long as the mozzarella you freeze has a block or shredded texture, it will be fine to freeze. However, some people notice their cheese never bounces back to its full flavor and texture post-freezing, so that's something to think about.
Furthermore, you don't want to freeze fresh mozzarella. We say this because of its high water content, which increases the chances of your cheese forming crystals in the freezer.
It's usually best to consume fresh mozzarella within a few days of buying it from a taste and consistency standpoint. The longer cheese, mozzarella or not, sits in the fridge, the less flavorful it will be.
Does Freezing Mozzarella Ruin It?
No. Putting your precious mozzarella into the freezer won't ruin it. As we said, the chances of it losing flavor and changing texture a bit do increase, but not to the point you can't still enjoy it.
One factor you want to consider here is how long your mozzarella was frozen. If your cheese was in the fridge for a month or two, expect it to be less flavorful.
However, you aren't freezing fresh mozzarella, so it's not like you'll miss out on that flavor. Another thing to be wary of is not sealing your cheese well enough.
Mozzarella can quickly harden and become inedible once the freezer air hits it, so make sure to use a few layers of saran wrap or place your dairy into an air-tight package.
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How Long Should Mozzarella Sit Out?
To keep you safe from food-borne illness, we recommend only letting your mozzarella sit out for four hours at a time. Like any dairy, not keeping mozzarella chilled can create a breeding ground for potentially harmful bacteria.
However, this is assuming your cheese isn't in a warm environment. For example, you may be able to get away with having mozzarella out on the counter for 2-4 hours without issue.
In contrast, if your cheese sits out during an outdoor event, it can only stay edible for an hour. This all comes down to your food's internal temperature.
In addition, some chefs keep their mozzarella out on the counter in a container of cool water/brine overnight before preparing it, although that seems a bit risky.
If you can, store your mozzarella in the fridge until you want to make it, or freeze it for long-term storage. Doing this will keep you and your food pathogen-free.
Can You Eat Mozzarella Raw?
Yes! You are fine to eat raw/fresh mozzarella right out of its package. This is one of the best ways to prepare and consume this Italian delicacy, as it will be it's freshest and tastiest.
Especially for pregnant people, eating raw foods can be risky, but cold, fresh, soft, straight out of the packet and not cooked mozzarella is 100% safe to consume.
Furthermore, you can also throw fresh mozzarella directly onto a pizza and throw it in the oven if you'd prefer to have it cooked. The great thing about this cheese is that it's perfect for warm or cold cooking.
So, if you want to make a salad using your fresh mozzarella, this is completely fine.
Does Mozzarella You Store In Water Taste Better?
For those wondering how effective water/brine is for storing mozzarella, this comes down to your preference. Typically, the water will allow your mozzarella to sit without degrading or losing its shape in the refrigerator.
So, if you want your cheese to taste better, we recommend letting it sit in water or brine while inside your refrigerator. According to many chefs, the water won't taste like anything when it's time to cook, while the brine will be salty.
Moreover, there's no reason to use either of these liquids while cooking mozzarella, so feel free to pour the contents left behind into the sink.
Another thing to remember is if your mozzarella is salted, make sure to store it in salted water. The same goes for unsalted mozzarella: plain water in a container during refrigeration.
Even though this seems like a tiny detail, it can affect the taste of your cheese.
To Finish Up
Whether you have fresh mozzarella or store-bought, it's always good to know how to take care of it. From what we found, storing mozzarella in the water can be helpful while you refrigerate it.
However, this isn't always required, especially if your cheese is in a block or shredded. You only want to keep mozzarella fresh/round in brine or water, so keep that in mind.
Regardless, it's a good idea to ensure your mozzarella, fresh or not, is in an air-tight, leak-proof container before popping it into the fridge or freezer. We promise this makes a huge difference!
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