Jul 6, 2023
We love cheddar cheese because it can easily transform any dish. It’s so versatile and flavorful that it adds a layer of salty-sweet magic to sandwiches, salads, bread, and desserts. Which is why it’s one of the best food to add to your shelf and pantry. Today, we’ll teach you how to freeze dry cheddar cheese using a Harvest Right Freeze dryer. With this, you’ll have cheese to last you for years without needing a fridge.
There are several reasons why freeze-drying cheddar cheese is good for your food supply.
How long does cheddar cheese last? Unopened, it can keep up to 4 months in your fridge and 8 months in the freezer. However, once you open it, you’re lucky if it’s still edible within 6 weeks.
Freeze-dried cheddar cheese can last 25 years or more when stored correctly in Mylar bags or mason jars. Oxygen absorbers also help extend shelf life and a stable room temperature of less than 72°F (22 °C).
The great thing about freeze-drying cheddar cheese is that it becomes so lightweight and easy to transport. That’s why it’s very convenient to bring with you on camping, road trips, and other outdoor activities.
Freeze-dried cheddar cheese can be used for a variety of dishes, even when you’re outdoors. It’s great as-is as a snack or a crunchy, salty flavoring to salads. Rehydrate it, and it goes well with pizza, mac and cheese, and your favorite sandwich.
One of the great things about freeze-drying is that it keeps 90%-97% of nutrients. An ounce (28g) of cheddar cheese has:
All that healthy goodness stays in the cheese because the preservation method doesn’t use heat.
It doesn’t take much water to rehydrate freeze-dried cheddar cheese. All you need is a spritz bottle or a small bowl of water, and it’s ready for your meal. You can use it on your pizza, mac, cheese, or casseroles, and no one will know the difference.
You can use a wide variety of cheddar cheese to freeze dry using your Harvest Right freeze dryer. You can use mild, medium, sharp, or even sharp.
You need to remember that freeze-drying intensifies the flavor of the cheese. Mild can become medium, and medium can be sharp. But that’s just in the dry state. When you rehydrate the cheese, the flavor will mellow down to the original.
We also recommend you use block cheese as much as possible. Pre-shredded and pre-crumbled store-bought cheese may not freeze dry well in some cases. Some chose this for convenience, but some noticed freeze-drying issues.
If you got a block of cheese, you can slice it into thin small pieces and have freeze-dried cheese crisps. Or you can shred or crumble it to how thick or thin you want your cheese to be. If you got pre-shredded or pre-crumbled cheese, you could just dump it on the freeze-dryer tray.
Whatever you choose, make sure not to pile the cheese higher than the lip. Instead, keep it level to help the freeze-dryer process the cheese efficiently.
The freeze-drying may seem complicated, but it’s simple when you have a Harvest Right freeze-dryer.
On average, it takes about 36 hours to freeze dry cheddar cheese. But the process can take longer or shorter than that, depending on several factors. For example, humidity can extend the freeze-drying process, as well as the heat of the room.
Thick and bigger slices also take a while to freeze dry compared to thin or shredded ones. The same goes for how much cheese your freeze-drying. It could probably take less than 36 hours on a cool day if you’re just experimenting and freeze-drying a tray. But your time can take longer if you’re freeze-drying 4 full trays on a scorching summer.
Before you store the cheese for long-term storage, you should do the moisture test first. This is crucial because even if the cheese seems dry to the touch and on taste, sometimes it’s not the case.
Place the freeze-dried cheddar cheese in a mason jar and close the lid tightly. Let it sit on a cool, dark counter for 3-7 days – some even do 10. If you see condensation inside, it means your cheese wasn’t freeze-dried well.
If there’s no condensation, store your freeze-dried cheese in Mylar bags. Mason jars also work, just make sure to vacuum seal them.
Before sealing, throw in oxygen absorbers. About 1-2 of the 300cc packets are enough for every gallon-size container.
Your freeze-dried cheddar cheese can last for 25 years, even up to 30 years. The secret is a dark, draft-free room with a temp lower than 72°F (22 °C).
Freeze-drying cheese makes it fun and easy to bring around. You don’t have to worry about shelf life, and it’s as versatile as its fresh counterpart.
Got questions on how to freeze dry cheddar cheese? Let us know in the comment section!
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