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I previously posted my recipe for Homemade Baked Mac n Cheese, made up of my favorite ingredients, pasta and cheese. I also raved about one of my new favorite NYC spots that serves only grilled cheese.


Cheesy. Image courtesy of Cornell University.

But I often wondered at what point does my beloved cheese go bad?  Cheese gets expensive (I had to turn down a ball of Buratta because it was selling for $10!).  And some cheese is made from mold, so if it gets moldy, does that matter?  Even cream cheese looks ok past the expiration date, so should I throw it out?

As a result of my unimportant burning questions, I did some research.  I came across a little reference guide courtesy of the Mayo Clinic, which is helpful for the kitchen rule book!

So here’s the scoop!

Soft cheeses (e.g. cottage cheese, cream cheese) should be thrown out when they begin to grow mold.  The mold can send “root threads” throughout the cheese and harmful bacteria can grow along with the mold. The same goes for any kind of cheese that’s shredded, crumbled or sliced.  To be safe, abide by the expiration date on these.

Semisoft cheeses (e.g. Cheddar, Colby, Swiss) aren’t as much as a risk as mold can’t penetrate very far with this consistency.  Therefore, you can cut away the moldy part and eat the rest of the cheese. Cut off at least one inch around and below the moldy spot. Be sure to keep the knife out of the mold itself so that it doesn’t contaminate other parts of the cheese.

However, not all molds pose a risk, as some types of mold are used to make cheeses like Brie and Camembert. These molds are safe to eat but mold that’s not part of the manufacturing process is a problem. For advice about handling specific types of cheese, consult the chart.

You can also check out the Mayo Clinic’s guide for what’s safe and which require you to cut your losses.

But as always, when in doubt, throw it out!

And now you can say you learned something from this blog…