This Is The Best Way To Store Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese

Wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese - Fudio/Getty Images

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is no fleeting guest in your refrigerator. This is a cheese, after all, defined by the aging part of how it's made -- it has different delicious flavors when it's been aged for different lengths of time. Thus, an ideal cheese board features multiple ages of Parmigiano Reggiano to enjoy these varying tastes.

Similarly, Parmigiano possesses certain characteristics that keep it fresh for a long time -- much longer than we're used to with softer, unaged cheeses. Parmigiano Reggiano has a long shelf life because its aging leaves it without a lot of moisture. Moisture is what invites bacteria to take up residence and thrive in our foods, so when there's not much of it present, food lasts longer without spoiling. Unopened, Parmigiano can last several months in your fridge; opened, it will still make it a few weeks, all in an airtight container that further helps ward off bacteria.

The same lack of moisture that prolongs Parmigiano's shelf life, however, means the cheese has a high risk of totally drying out, leaving you with crumbs when you cut it. So, there's an extra genius step to take when storing it: Wrap it in a wet cloth. The container will keep unwanted bacteria out, and meanwhile, the cloth will keep the necessary moisture in.

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A Wet Cloth Can Also Revive Your Dried Out Parmigiano Reggiano

Parmigiano Reggiano on cutting board
Parmigiano Reggiano on cutting board - Jirkaejc/Getty Images

If you already have some Parmigiano Reggiano drying out, fear not. A wet cloth can also come to the rescue in a pinch and revive it. Martha Stewart's trick for rescuing dried-out Parmigiano Reggiano is to do something similar. Soak a cheesecloth in water, wring it out, so it's damp but not sopping wet, wrap it around the cheese, and cover that entirely in a layer of plastic wrap to, once again, block out bacteria. Parmigiano is actually pretty good at reabsorbing moisture, so even if you have dry cheese that's had all the flavor zapped out of it, that cloth can effectively bring it back to life.

This is a handy hack to have on hand when it seems all moisture hope is lost for Parmigiano, but, naturally, the best solution is to just begin by storing your aged Italian cheese this way. Start this new system fresh with your next Parmigiano Reggiano purchase: Remove it from its original packaging, wrap it in that damp cloth, place it in an airtight vessel, and refrigerate it. This way, you'll have peak Parmigiano perfection at your fingertips, in both flavor and texture.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.