How long does queso fresco last?

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Queso fresco, which translates to fresh cheese, is a type of cheese famous in Mexican dishes. If your recipe calls for this cheese, you will obviously want to know how long it can last. Well, how long the cheese will last is determined by:

  • Whether the cheese is homemade or store-bought
  • The method of storage
  • Whether its opened or unopened

Generally, store-bought cheese has longer shelf life compared to homemade cheese as it can last for up to 2 months without spoiling. Homemade queso fresco tends to have a shorter shelf because they aren’t packed with preservatives like their store-bought counterparts.

The article will expound on how you can store queso fresco, the duration it can last in the fridge after opening,and so much more! If you want to understand more about how long queso fresco lasts, keep reading!

How to store queso fresco

Queso fresco is a fresh cheese, usually consumed in its fresh taste. But do you know it can be stored for future use? You should, however, not leave out the cheese in storage for too long as there might be interference with the taste, color, and texture. Queso fresco can be stored in an airtight container tightly wrapped and tossed in the refrigerator or freezer.

1) Storing in refrigerator

Storing store-bought queso in the refrigerator can extend its life for up to 2 months, as long as it is stored in airtight containers. Store-bought queso fresco lasts longer because it is vacuum-sealed by professionals.

Vacuum sealing reduces chances of spoilage as air is sucked from the storage containers, minimizing any contamination from germs and bacteria. The cheese is also packed with preservatives that help maintain the flavor and texture.

Cheese is best stored in the center section of your refrigerator. Homemade queso fresco iswrapped tightly using a plastic wrap before tossing in the refrigerator. Due to the high moisture content in queso fresco, the homemade version can last for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Refrigerated queso fresco forms ice crystals that may easily interfere with its texture. So, it is necessary to use it before its quality is tampered with.

2) Storing in the freezer

Freezer storage works for both the store-bought and homemade queso fresco. Unlike storing in the refrigerator, freezing doesn’t form ice crystals that tamper with the texture and flavor of your cheese. So depending on the amount of queso fresco you want to freeze and storage options available, you can use either a freezer bag or an airtight container.

The storage containers can either be glass or a bowl wrapped in plastic wrap, and they work best with small portions. I store my queso fresco in containers as it’s hard to absorb freezer odors.

How to freeze queso fresco

  • Cut the cheese into small sizes using a sharp knife. Smaller pieces of cheese freeze and even defrost faster compared to larger ones.
  • Arrange the queso fresco pieces flatly into a freezer bag without any pieces lying onto another.
  • Seal the freezer bags tightly.
  • Label the package by the date you packaged them.
  • Lastly is tossing the packaged cheese in the freezer. The cheese will go for up to 2 months if opened or 6 months unopened as long as you follow the proper freezing methods.

3) Thawing queso fresco

So when the time to use the cheese comes, you will just thaw it in the refrigerator before adding it to your dish. You can also thawthe cheese on your countertops overnight. Thawing in the refrigerator might take up to 24 hours, which is quite a long time than leaving on countertops that take only 12 hours.

If in a rush, you can place the cheese in a bowl and wrap a plastic wrap over it. The cheese defrosts relatively fast! One crucial thing to remember is that the cheese might sit on condensation puddles after thawing, so placing a plate under the cheese is essential.

Tips

  • Use the cheese after it has thawed fully.
  • Drain any excess water from the cheese before you cook with it.
  • Avoid refreezing thawed queso fresco as it may turn inedible.
  • Refreezing the cheese forms more ice crystals and makes the ice so watery.

How to use thawed queso fresco

Thawed queso fresco can be used in many ways. The cheese should be used not more than 3 days after defrosting as it might contaminate. You can use the thawed queso fresco in recipes that call for fresh cheese or those calling for cheddar or parmesan cheese.

Some ways you canincorporate thawed queso fresco in your kitchen include:

  • Add it to fresh salsa
  • Add to cheese enchiladas
  • Grill with some oil for the excellent tacos!

Thawing queso fresco

The other excellent storage option is vacuum sealing, a perfect option if you don’t want your cheese to suffer freezer burns! Vacuum sealed queso fresco doesn’t need to be thawed before cooking; just cook it straight from the freezer.

How to store queso fresco after opening

Now that you have opened and used the cheese your recipe called for, I know you wonderhow to store the leftover. Both opened homemade, and store-bought queso fresco can be tossed in the refrigerator. Ensure the cheese is appropriatelywrapped and covered to prevent degradation.

As mentioned earlier, freezing is another option, even though it’s not the best. Since queso fresco has a high moisture content, spoilage might hasten.

How long is queso fresco good for after opening

Unopened queso fresco can last for up to 6months in storage. That’s, however, not the case with one that’s opened. Opened store-bought cheese can last from 2months in the refrigerator. Homemade opened cheese can last for 4-7 days in the fridge.

You might notice a degrade in cheese quality from as early as 2 weeks in the refrigerator.Freezing homemade queso fresco might not be the best option as the high moisture content will hasten spoilage.

How long is queso fresco good for in the fridge

Refrigerated store-bought queso fresco stays fresh for up to 2 months, that is, if it is stored in an airtight container.Don’t forget to use the cheese within the first months as it tends to deteriorate with time. Homemade queso fresco will only last for 4 days in the refrigerator. For the cheese to stay that long,it should be stored in airtight containers or in a dish covered in wax paper.

Exciting things about queso fresco

You probably do not know some things about queso fresco; these are some exciting facts about this cheese.

  • Queso fresco translates to “fresh cheese.”
  • Queso fresco is mainly used in Mexican dishes.
  • Queso fresco doesn’t melt well and tends to remain grainy.
  • It’s a famous cheese in Latin America and goes by several names.
  • Queso fresco is mainly used in fried recipes.
  • The cheese is made from cow or goat milk or a mixture of the two.
  • Queso fresco’s milkiness greatly complements spicy dishes and chiles.
  • Queso fresco gets soft when exposed to heat.
  • It can be used as a substitute for matured cheeses as its low in fat and salt.

Frequently asked questions(FAQS)

Does frozen queso fresco make one sick?

Frozen queso fresco doesn’t make you sick as long as it is used after thawing completely. If you notice any off-color or a change in the texture, it would be wise to discard the cheese.

How can I tell when queso fresco is bad?

It’s easy to tell queso fresco is bad by examining the color, taste, and smell. A dry, crumbly block of cheese means that it has stayed for too long. A sour,tangy, or musty smell means the cheese is spoiled. Other signs you can check out for include:

  • Green or white mold spots on the cheese. White spots might be hard to spot as the cheeses’ color is creamy white, while green molds will be more noticeable. You might also note a grey residue on its surface.

Note that cutting off the moldy parts won’t save you from food poisoning. As long as the mold has infiltrated the cheese spores, it is considered unsafe to eat.

  • The cheese might be slimy. The texture of good cheese should be creamy to the touch. If it’s rather rough or somewhat off texture, discard it.
  • If the package of the queso fresco is bloated.
  • A firm, grainy cheese indicates spoilage.

Is it safe to eat expired store-bought queso fresco?

You can eat queso fresco after its “sell-by date” if it is unopened and store-bought. The date usually indicates how long the queso fresco can stay as fresh as it was first made. So, as long as the queso fresco has not been opened, it can be consumed.

If opened, consume the cheese in two weeks. However, if you notice anything off with the cheese, it will be best to toss it off in the garbage to prevent food poisoning.

Is queso fresco left to sit overnight safe to eat?

Queso frescoimproves flavor and texture if left to soften at an ambient temperature. The cheese should be left exposed in a certain time frame. Do not leave it sitting for more than 4 hours after removing it from the refrigerator as it easily harbors bacterial growths.

Queso fresco is safe to eat as long as it has not stayed for more than 4 hours.

Conclusion

Queso fresco can last for several months in the freezer, depending on how it has been stored. If it is unopened and store-bought, it will surely go for 6 months in the freezer or as long as it gets bad. Just keep checking the cheeses’ expiration date.

You can consume such cheese even 2 weeks after the set expiration date. In the refrigerator, the cheese can last for up to 2 months. If opened and store-bought, it can last for 2 months in the freezer and up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Homemade queso fresco, just like the opened store-bought variety, can last up to 2 hours at room temperature, 4 days in the refrigerator, and up to 2 months in the freezer. Do not forget it is not wise to store homemade queso fresco in the freezer as it quickly spoils due to the excess moisture.

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