Cheese is a beloved food enjoyed by people all over the world. There are many different types of cheese, each with its own unique flavor and texture. However, what happens when your favorite cheese starts to develop mold?
The answer is not always straightforward. While mold can be a sign of spoilage and potential health concerns, not all molds are harmful. In fact, some types of mold are actually used in the production of certain cheeses, such as blue cheese and Roquefort.
Types of Mold in Cheese
Penicillium roqueforti and Penicillium glaucum are two types of mold commonly found in blue cheeses. These molds are responsible for giving these cheeses their distinct flavors and blue-green veins.
Aspergillus oryzae is another type of mold often used in cheese production. It is typically found in soy sauce, sake, and miso, and can help enhance the flavor of certain cheeses.
When to Toss Moldy Cheese
While some molds are safe to eat, others can produce dangerous toxins. These toxins can cause a range of symptoms, including allergic reactions, respiratory problems, and even organ damage.
As a general rule, soft cheeses, such as brie and camembert, should not be consumed if they are moldy. This is because the high moisture content of these cheeses makes it easier for mold to penetrate and spread throughout the cheese.
Hard cheeses, on the other hand, can often be salvaged by cutting away the moldy parts. It’s important to cut at least one inch around and below the moldy area to ensure that all the mold is removed. The remaining cheese should be safe to eat.
Preventing Mold in Cheese
To prevent mold growth in cheese, it’s important to store it properly. Here are a few tips:
- Keep cheese refrigerated at all times.
- Wrap cheese tightly in plastic wrap or wax paper.
- Store cheese in the warmest part of the refrigerator, usually the vegetable drawer.
- Avoid exposing cheese to excessive moisture or humidity.
- Check cheese regularly for signs of mold and discard if necessary.
While some molds in cheese are safe to eat, it’s important to be cautious. If a cheese is moldy, especially if it’s a soft cheese, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard it. By properly storing and handling your cheese, you can help reduce the risk of mold growth and enjoy your favorite cheeses safely.
When to throw out moldy cheese
While some types of moldy cheese can be safely consumed, there are instances where it is best to throw it out. Mold on cheese can be a sign of spoilage or the presence of harmful bacteria or toxins.
If the cheese is hard or firm, such as cheddar or Parmesan, you can cut at least one inch around the mold and still enjoy the rest. Be sure to thoroughly inspect the rest of the cheese for any signs of mold.
However, if the cheese is soft or crumbly, like blue cheese or Brie, it is recommended to discard it entirely if mold is present. Soft cheeses have a higher moisture content and the mold can easily spread throughout. Consuming moldy soft cheese can lead to food poisoning and other health risks.
Additionally, if you have a compromised immune system, it is safer to discard any moldy cheese, regardless of its type. Mold can produce mycotoxins, which can be harmful to individuals with weakened immune systems.
Remember, it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to moldy cheese. If in doubt, throw it out!