Gruyere, a yellow firm Swiss cheese, is one of the most well-known cheeses due to its subtle and refined taste. It is actually even named after a town in Switzerland: Gruyères.
You certainly don’t want it to go to waste when you have opened one of these but can’t finish it as it’s an expensive cheese. Fortunately, there are methods to preserve it so you can enjoy this versatile cheese for a long time. This includes freezing.
To quickly answer the question: Yes, you can freeze Gruyere cheese.
Does Gruyere Cheese Freeze Well?
Fortunately, you can freeze Gruyere cheese, but keep in mind that frozen cheese tends to become crumbly once defrosted again. They may also develop a bit of a mealy texture.
This is due to the fact that ice crystals develop in the cheese when frozen, affecting the structure (freezer burn). Once defrosted, these ice crystals melt, which in turn dries out the cheese.
Therefore, it’s best to use thawed cheese in dishes where the texture of the cheese won’t matter so much. For example, use it in sauces, casseroles, or soups.
Note: Hard cheeses such as gruyere freeze really well as they continue to age. Moreover, freezing doesn’t affect the flavor profile of this hard cheese as much as the flavor profile of other softer cheeses.
Another hard cheese that freezes well is parmesan for instance.
How To Safely Freeze Gruyere Cheese
Just a few simple steps to get the best results with freezing Gruyere.
Step 1: It’s best to start off by cutting your cheese into smaller portions. This will make defrosting a lot easier but also allows you to only defrost the amount you really need.
Step 2: Start wrapping the pieces of cheese in the first layer of aluminum foil, parchment paper, or plastic wrap. You may even want to consider buying special cheese papers for even better storage.
Step 3: Take care to smooth out any uneven surfaces so the cheese is tightly wrapped, as this will keep the cheese from drying out. It might be worthwhile considering to even tape the edges to ensure a tight seal. However, if you are using plastic wrap that clings really well to the cheese, the tape might not even be necessary.
Step 4: Start with a second and third wrap of the cheese and seal it again using tape if needed.
Step 5: It’s now time to transfer it to a freezer-safe bag before popping it in the freezer. Do take care to first try and get out all the access air from the bag. It might be necessary to roll the bag a few times to squeeze out that last bit of air. Again, it’s crucial that you create an airtight seal.
Step 6: Don’t forget to label your cheese using a permanent marker with the date on which you froze it.
Step 7: Transfer the cheese to the freezer.
Keep the cheese just below freezing temperature as this is the best temperature to ensure the taste of the cheese isn’t affected as much.
How Long Does Gruyere Cheese Last In The Freezer?
Similar to freezing swiss cheese, you can keep Gruyere cheese frozen for a period of 2 to 6 months.
What is the Best Way to Thaw Gruyere Cheese?
When you want to defrost your cheese, don’t just take it out of the freezer and leave it out. Never defrost a cheese at room temperature, as this will make it dry out even quicker, leading to that crumbly texture we described earlier.
Instead, first put it on a plate and then in the refrigerator to defrost overnight. Ensure that the temperature in your fridge is between 35-40⁰F. If the temperature goes above 40⁰F, it increases your chance of getting foodborne poisoning.
As mentioned earlier, your defrosted cheese may not have the same texture when attempting to cut it. Therefore, it is best to use it in a dish where it can be melted, for example, instead of in the center of your cheese platter.
What Can I Use Gruyere Cheese For?
To name just a few of the melt-in-the-mouth recipes Gruyere cheese can be used for:
- Fondue and cheese sauces
- Melted in burgers or as the main ingredient in grilled sandwiches such as Croque monsieur
- Potato gratin topped with gruyere cheese
- Gruyere and sage sourdough bread
- Lasagna or spaghetti with gruyere
- As a main ingredient in a mushroom sandwich or even as part of a grilled cheese and portobello burger
- Fresh herb and cheese quiche
- Cheese and ham scones
- Bacon and corn frittata
Want to try some alternatives? Check our list of best Gruyère cheese substitutes.
How Do You Store Gruyere Cheese In The Refrigerator?
In order to enjoy an opened Gruyere cheese for as long as possible, wrap the cheese in its original packaging in another layer of aluminum foil or plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.
Alternatively, you can use airtight containers. Not only does proper storage prevent the cheese from drying out, but it also keeps contaminants out.
How Long Does Gruyere Cheese Last In The Refrigerator?
If it is properly stored, a good quality Gruyere cheese that has been opened can last for approximately three to four weeks in the refrigerator. An unopened pack is good for three months there.
What Should I Do If The Cheese Is Already Past Its Sell-By Date?
You can still enjoy the cheese! After opening, it will usually still be safe to eat for approximately three to four weeks. However, always check.
What About If The Cheese Already Has Some Mold On It. Can I Still Eat It Then?
Fortunately, you can. You just need to use a knife to cut away a minimum of at least an inch of cheese around the moldy part. Do be careful to not touch the mold with your knife. When you are done, just wrap the cheese again in a new piece of aluminum or plastic wrap.
How Do I Know The Cheese Isn’t Safe To Eat Anymore?
If you see any mold in the package of Gruyere cheese, throw away the entire package. Similarly, if you notice any odors or even changes in the flavor of the cheese, discard it immediately.
You can tell cheese is spoiled by checking to see if the texture has hardened, whether it has darkened in color, and whether, of course, mold is present.
How Can I Minimize The Risk Of My Cheese Spoiling?
In addition to always properly storing it in the refrigerator (wrapped tightly as described earlier), never leave the cheese out for more than two hours. Leaving it for longer than this at room temperature drastically increases the chance of spoilage.
Furthermore, it is always recommended to buy fresh cheese as this will ensure it lasts as long as possible when storing it properly.
You have now learned you don’t need to be afraid to open that delectable Gruyere cheese because you think you won’t be able to finish it. With these tips on storing your cheese, you’ll be able to get the most out of this delicacy without having to waste a single crumb.
Do you have any experience with freezing cheeses, and do you have tips you can share? What is your opinion is the best dish to make with Gruyere?
Share your tips and ideas in a comment below!