Mozzarella cheese is widely loved and appreciated for its great taste and texture. It makes a great topping in various food recipes. Mozzarella cheese isn’t just delicious, but it also provides us with some health benefits.
The cheese, which melts on food easily, is usually a mixture of cow milk and rennet enzyme. It is a great source of vitamin B2, vitamin B7, vitamins, E, A, and D, and also calcium for healthy bones.
Mozzarella is usually sold in three forms; shredded, block, and fresh mozzarella cheese. You may have been at the store when your favorite brand of fresh mozzarella cheese was on sale, and you ended up buying a large quantity.
What do you do when you can’t finish all that cheese at once? Fresh mozzarella cheese can only last for up to 8 hours when left to sit at room temperature. If left to sit in the fridge, it will last for about 5 days.
But what if you need a longer period of preservation?
Can you freeze fresh mozzarella cheese? Yes, you can freeze fresh mozzarella cheese. Fresh mozzarella cheese keeps safely for up to 6 months in the freezer. If the freezer’s temperature is set to 0⁰F, the mozzarella cheese can be preserved indefinitely at that temperature. However, it is better to use the fresh mozzarella cheese within the first 3 months of freezing for the best results.
Before freezing your fresh balls of mozzarella cheese, you should know that the cheese’s original texture will be altered after some time in the freezer. Instead of being soft, freezing makes the cheese dry.
For this reason, many opinions are against freezing fresh balls of mozzarella cheese. However, if done right, you can get a usable form of the cheese back.
Freezing Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
The 6 months of preservation provided through freezing is a lot of time. It keeps you supplied with the amount of mozzarella cheese you need for cooking and more. Although fresh mozzarella cheese has a tendency to get dry, it can be used perfectly in any dish that requires it to be melted. If you’ll be using the fresh mozzarella cheese soon, you can keep it preserved inside the refrigerator for the next few days.
When you want to freeze your fresh mozzarella cheese, you must pay attention to certain details. For instance, the cheese must be packaged in plastic wrap and a freezer-safe bag. The plastic wrapping keeps the mozzarella cheese protected from cold freezer air. The resealable freezer bag is used as an airtight package that keeps the cheese from being contaminated with other smells inside the freezer.
How to Freeze Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
The steps for freezing fresh mozzarella cheese are simple. If you’re willing to risk alterations to the cheese’s original soft texture, these are the steps to follow:
Step 1: Drain the Fresh Mozzarella Cheese’s Liquid
Balls of fresh mozzarella cheese are kept in a liquid. Before freezing the cheese, you’ll need to drain out that liquid. After draining the liquid, make sure you dry off any other traces of surplus moisture on the cheese. You can make use of a paper towel to get the cheese dry.
If you fail to dry off excess moisture, there will be formation of ice crystals inside the freezer, which will lead to freezer burn.
After drying the mozzarella cheese, you may decide to slice it into smaller portions for freezing. Having smaller individual portions makes it easier to take just the amount of frozen cheese you need when you want to cook.
Step 2: Package the Fresh Mozzarella Cheese for Freezing
After slicing the balls of fresh mozzarella cheese into smaller portions, wrap each of the individual portions in plastic wrap. Transfer the wrapped mozzarella cheese into a resealable freezer-safe bag. Before sealing the freezer-safe bag, try to squeeze out as much air as possible – you may use a straw to suck air out of the plastic bag.
Seal the freezer bag properly and place it flat of a cookie sheet. You may also use a marker to write the present date on the freezer-safe bag. The written date will help you keep track of how long the fresh mozzarella cheese has been frozen for.
Step 3: Place the Cookie Sheet in a Safe Freezer Compartment
Because of the soft nature of fresh mozzarella cheese, it makes sense to keep it in a safe compartment where it won’t get crushed. Avoid placing heavier food items on it if you want the texture to be significantly preserved.
Remember to use the cheese within 6 months of freezing, even though it can keep indefinitely at a temperature of 0⁰F.
How to Thaw Frozen Mozzarella Cheese
There are two easy ways to defrost your frozen mozzarella cheese. You can either defrost it in the fridge or in cold water. Here are more details on defrosting frozen mozzarella cheese:
- Thawing in Cold Water – this is the faster method for thawing frozen mozzarella cheese. Take the freezer-safe bag with the cheese out of the freezer and submerge it in cold water. Leave it in the water for about 1 hour and come back to check on it. If it isn’t well defrosted, leave it in the water for about an extra hour.
- Thawing in the Refrigerator – although this method takes many hours, it is the better and more efficient method of thawing frozen mozzarella cheese. All you need to do is leave the cheese inside your fridge overnight and check on it the next morning. Also, mozzarella cheese that has been thawed in the refrigerator can still be refrozen for use another day.
- Using without Thawing – instead of thawing frozen mozzarella cheese, you may use it as is. If the frozen cheese is to be used as part of a cooking recipe, you can throw it directly into the pot with other ingredients.
After thawing your fresh mozzarella cheese, you’ll have to use it quickly. The cheese shouldn’t be exposed to room temperature beyond 4 – 8 hours after thawing.