It’s okay to freeze queso fresco. However, it is not advisable. Typically, queso fresco is soft and usually fresh, but ice crystals would form in the process of freezing and defrosting, and the cheese may become soggy.
If you are a lover of Mexican cuisine, then you would agree Queso Fresco is the perfect complement to any meal, and it can be enjoyed with just about anything. It goes well with chips, tacos, or even as an appetizer. I love how versatile this cheese is, and what makes it so unique is that it has no preservatives.
But what happens if you can’t use up your white cheese in one meal? Can you freeze the queso fresco to save it for next time? The answer is yes, but not for too long, and there are several precautions you should take to keep the flavor, texture, and quality of your Queso fresco intact.
This article will tell you the best practices for freezing your queso fresco and why you should consider alternative methods to preserve versatile cuisine.
Tips on How to Freeze Queso Fresco
If you must freeze the white cheese because you made too much of it and don’t want to waste the leftover. Here is a simple step to follow to ensure you retain as much flavor as possible
- First, cut off the rind from the block of cheese.
- Next, slice the cheese into small pieces.
- Then, place the pieces into an airtight container (Alternately, a vacuum sealer might also work). Queso fresco isn’t a green vegetable, so it shouldn’t be thrown and stored in the freezer naked but stored in a container.
- Once you have done all these steps, you can put the container in your freezer.
- To avoid freezer burn, only leave the queso fresco in the freezer for 3 months. After that, you can thaw it out and enjoy it!
- Ensure you label the container with the date so you’ll know how long it has been in the freezer (most Queso fresco wouldn’t taste good beyond two months)
How To Defrost Queso Fresco
There are lots of ways to defrost white cheese. The method you choose is dependent on whether you want the cheese very fast and totally lacking in texture or if you want it to keep the flavor.
After removing the cheese from the freezer, if you notice that the packaging is torn or the container is broken, your cheese will not likely be edible any longer. However, If it is still firm, you can start the thawing process using the methods below.
Refrigerator (If You Need To Retain Its Flavor)
To defrost queso fresco using a refrigerator:
- Place the cheese into a bowl or container and place it inside the refrigerator.
- Check the temperature and ensure the cheese has completely melted.
- Once the cheese has fully melted, remove it from the fridge and use it immediately
- Ensure you remove the cheese from the fridge about 30 minutes before using it.
Defrost On The Countertop If it Is Just Part Of A Recipe
- While still in the container, Place the cheese on a table or your countertop
- Then, let it stay there for about three hours (Ensure the cheese is not exposed to sunlight). It might seem counterintuitive, but letting it sit out will actually make it easier to cut.
- Use a knife to note how easy it is to cut.
- Once you are satisfied, use it immediately.
Use A Microwave If You Plan On Melting It In Your Meal
- Put the cheese into a microwave-safe bowl.
- Then, Microwave the queso fresco for about 2 minutes.
- Let it sit for another 30 seconds before removing it from the microwave.
- Then. check if it has completely defrosted (if it hasn’t, repeat the process).
- If it’s well defrosted, Enjoy your cheese immediately!
How to Know If Your White Cheese Is Not Edible
Cheese has a shelf life, just like everything else. However, many people don’t realize it’s spoilt until after eating it. Below are tips to help you figure out when your queso fresco is no longer safe to eat without tasting it.
Good cheese should have a slightly sour and pungent smell, particularly if it is unpasteurized. However, spoiled cheese will have a foul odor like ammonia or spoiled egg. If you notice this, you should not eat it. Also, If you can’t figure out the exact nature of the smell, it’s best to play it safe and throw the cheese away.
Your white cheese should always feel soft and crumbly. So, you would immediately know it’s bad as soon as there is a change in the texture. If your cheese is also grainy, you should dispose of it.
There is often edible mold present in Mexican cheese. However, due to the high moisture content, some harmful molds can start growing on cheese that has not been thawed properly. So, If you start noticing a green slime on your cheese, don’t try to merely scrape it off. Throw the whole cheese away
If you buy a packaged cheese from the supermarket, The best way to determine whether or not your cheese is still safe to eat is to look at its expiration date.
The color of queso fresco can vary depending on the type of grass the cows eat or the add-ons by the farmer. However, most queso frescoes range from ivory and white to yellow in color. If the color isn’t one of these three, your cheese may have been contaminated, and you shouldn’t eat it.
Dangers Of Eating A Spoiled Mexican Cheese
Spoiled foods are not good for your health. So, If you mistakenly ate a poorly thawed cheese or an expired cheese, you could experience the symptoms below:.
- Little stomach upset that may subside after a few minutes.
- You might have an allergic reaction.
- Other severe symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, headache, weakness, and dizziness. People who experience these symptoms should seek medical care right away.
Precaution: Don’t drink milk after consuming spoiled cheese. Milk contains enzymes that help break down the toxins produced by Clostridium botulism present in a bad cheese.
Why Shouldn’t You Freeze Queso Fresco?
Freezing cheese is an excellent way to keep it fresh, but it also has its share of drawbacks. Queso fresco, also called white cheese or Mexican cheese, has a high water density. When you freeze it, the moisture level increases. So, when it defrosts, the taste becomes too sour and the texture crumbly.
Here are the major changes that can occur when you freeze your White Cheese;
Queso fresco is popular because of the flavor that it offers. But when you freeze it for too long, the moisture is absorbed into its holes and fissures. So it will not have the same taste as fresh cheese.
I love Mexican cheese because its softness makes it easy to eat or serve with a Sandwich without having to grate like cheddar. However, when it is frozen, you will have a watered-down, unsavory piece of cheese.
Blend of Solids and Liquids
When you freeze queso fresco, the liquid and solid components of the cheese freeze into place. But as soon as you defrost, the two elements separate, and the cheese may become watery.
Other Ways to Preserve Queso fresco
When preserving cheese, we often turn to traditional methods like canning, drying, and freezing. But did you know about other ways to protect the beloved Queso fresco?
Below are some tricks that may help without freezing your cheese. However, you should know that whatever method you adopt, it’s important to taste your cheese regularly to ensure it’s still in good condition during preservation.
Use Cheese papers
These pieces of paper come in handy when you want to package food items such as sandwiches, snacks, and desserts. But you can also use them to protect your queso fresco from spoilage for short periods. The pores in cheese paper help keep the cheese from being exposed to too much air while still allowing it to breathe.
To use cheese papers;
- Ensure you wrap your cheese with two layers of the paper and seal it properly with tape.
- Then, store it in your kitchen cupboard or anywhere away from direct sunlight.
- This method can only keep your cheese healthy for short periods. However, if you have to preserve for a little longer, ensure you change the cheese paper to keep things fresh.
Buy In Small Quantities
Buying queso fresco by the pound is a good idea. It allows you to buy just enough queso fresco so that you can use it within a short period. This helps you control how much you consume and avoid wastage.
FAQs On Can Queso Fresco Be Frozen
How Long Can Queso Fresco Last After Opening?
Queso fresco has a shelf life of about two weeks after opening. It should be stored in a cool, dry place where it won’t be exposed to light. To get a longer shelf life, you should refrigerate until ready to serve.
What Are Some Of The Best Substitutes For Queso Fresco?
If you don’t have access to a fresh queso fresco, one of the best options available is cotija cheese, which is similar in both taste and appearance. Another option is feta cheese. These options are great for adding flavor to dishes like nachos or tacos.