With its sharp flavor, crumbly texture and reluctance to melt, feta cheese is a signature ingredient in Greek and Mediterranean cooking. It's commonly sold in large blocks or bulky packages of pre-crumbled curds, and if you only occasionally prepare Mediterranean dishes these migjht be inconveniently large. Rather than purchasing the cheese in single-meal portions, at higher prices, divide the feta once you get it home and freeze the rest for other occasions.
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How to Freeze
Feta can be frozen in whole blocks or crumbled. Slice the block into recipe-sized portions, then wrap each portion individually in plastic film wrap or in its own heavy-duty freezer bag. Place crumbled cheese into portion-sized individual freezer bags. Exclude as much air as possible from the packaging, pressing film tightly to the cheese's surface or squeezing bags of crumbled cheese before sealing them. Removing air from the packaging helps the feta retain its quality, and is especially important with crumbled cheese because of its greater percentage of exposed surface area. Store the wrapped cheese in a freezer set at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
How to Defrost
Keep the cheese in the plastic wrap and thaw in the refrigerator. The taste will not be affected, but the texture may change slightly. Cheese that has been frozen is best used crumbled or in cooked dishes. Do not refreeze thawed cheese.
Other Storage Options
Drained fresh feta should be wrapped in lightweight paper, placed in a plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator. They should be used within a week or two to avoid molding. Feta blocks purchased in airtight packaging -- typically with a splash of brine -- will last for months in the refrigerator if unopened. Packaged feta ordinarily has a use-by date imprinted on the packaging, longer for block feta and shorter for pre-crumbled. You can also marinate feta by cutting or crumbling the cheese into a jar and then covering with olive oil, which eliminates the need for refrigeration.