Mar 19, 2010 at 9:09 pm #1256698
And now for my second post.
I reallyreallyreally love cheese. I'm not afraid of carrying it on the trail for several days – after all, cheese and other dairy products were developed specifically as a preservation technique for milk. Although I'm clearly no model UL-er, I believe cheese has always been a great trail food for me for protein and calories to the ounce. And duh-lish-uh-ness.
I'm currently considering adding shredded cheese to some recipes (see my first post about dehydrating cheese sauce).
For a semi-hard cheese (like a good, strong, Irish cheddar) – does it work to shred at home and then store in a plastic baggy during the trip, perhaps with a dessicant? Or do you get better results by packing a block and shredding as you go along… which necessitates the packing and use of one of those ridiculous-looking mini shredders?
Am I missing some other solution? Ideally I don't want to purchase some other company's freeze-dried cheese or cheese powder – I mean, seriously, who's selling a fabulous raw goat's milk Spanish Roncal in powdered form? And for a decent price????
Thoughts appreciated.Mar 19, 2010 at 9:14 pm #1588593
Also, I saw someone recommend dipping cheese slices in paraffin. Sounds like a fabulous solution to keeping cheese fresher longer. Is there any kind of non-petroleum-based alternative out there?Mar 19, 2010 at 9:42 pm #1588613
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Beeswax :-)Mar 19, 2010 at 10:42 pm #1588649
Shredded cheese spoils faster than blocks. The greater the surface area the faster it goes. For a couple days it's probably fine, but I wouldn't want to go much longer. I just use a knife to chunk up small pieces that melt into whatever I'm cooking.
Harder cheeses also last longer than softer ones. I've carried asiago and parmesan for up to a couple of weeks. Cheddars last about a week.
Wrapping in wax paper also helps it last a little longer (not as long as dipped in wax but easier). And can be burned for fire starter if needed.Mar 20, 2010 at 6:40 am #1588685
Laurie Ann MarchMember
@laurie_annLocale: Ontario, Canada
The waxed paper is a great idea!
One thing I like to do on trips that are 5 or 6 days is to wrap the cheese block in plain brown paper and put that in a ziploc. The paper absorbs some of the oiliness output from the cheese in warmer weather.Mar 20, 2010 at 10:10 pm #1588928
Shannon, I share your love of cheese. I usually have at least a little on trips.
Assuming you have a decent knife, you don't need a grater, at least if the cheese is actually semi-hard to hard. Just place the edge of the blade at roughly a 90 degree angle to a flat side of the cheese, and scrape. Depending on the cheese, it may not come out neat and tidy, nor uniform, but you can get it quite papery. Too, if your knife has a good edge and you're somewhat adept with it, it's not hard to shave off very, very thin slices; thin enough to quickly melt on soup or pasta or whatever. I do it often.Mar 20, 2010 at 10:34 pm #1588938
@biointegraLocale: Puget Sound
+1 on hard salty cheeses, such as Pecorino Romano, Parmesean, Asiago, Mizithra; even Manchego.
A little bit goes a long way with these and I have found them to last longer also. Sometimes cheaper Italianish restaurants will have little 1/2 oz.(+/-?) packets of parmesean, which are great for the trail. Nutritional Yeast can be a good vegan alternative and is quite lightweight.Mar 25, 2010 at 10:01 am #1590742
I am a total cheese fanatic, it's the only thing I love more on the trail than dried Mangoes.
Atleast one out of every two dinners has fresh cheese in it.
I shred (yes irish ched is the best, I especially like the kerrygold dubliner) it before I go for the things that will use it, like quesedillas.. I've never had a major problem with spoilage, upto a week or so.
Honestly, spoilage isn't really accurate with cheese, as it doesn't really ever go bad. The issue with shredded cheese is just that the mold is on too fine of particles to remove.
That being said, I've never been sick from moldy cheese, and mold is and integral part of producing so many fine cheese varieties.
Are there any types of truly harmful molds that can grow on cheese commonly?
I often re-ripen exotic cheeses in my fridge. I've got a St. Andre that's been in there two years, it's total pungent slime now, but it's incredible. Just cut the really nasty looking parts off, and that's probably just me being uptight.
P.S. Aaron, what do you mean by "even" Manchego? :pMar 25, 2010 at 10:02 am #1590743
I've never used any kind of desiccant, or felt it was needed, and I live/hike mostly in the south.Mar 25, 2010 at 10:59 am #1590777
@bcampriniLocale: Southern Appalachians
Deli slices. I get the deli to overlap/fan several slices of cheese about the size of a tortilla or bagel. Between each of these layers I have them put a plastic layer. I do the same with lunchmeats. To make a wrap, I don't even have to touch the food, just slap them down on a tortilla or bread, peel off the plastic, add some optional sauce, and eat. Stole the idea from Subway.
If cooking, torn slices melt like shreds but don't dry out or mold quite as fast.
Not an option with some of your soft and semi-soft cheeses though.Mar 25, 2010 at 8:49 pm #1590951
@tarasbulbaLocale: Rocky Mountains
Javan, you might like the 5 and 9 year old, 2 lbs each, cheddars that I have ageing in my fridge. I took one 5 year old to work one day and just about caused a riot with everyone trying to get a piece!
But back on topic. As others have mentioned, don't pre-shred, unless it's just for an overnighter or two. For longer trips I find a common vegtable peeler works admirably well for shredding cheese.
From the list of preferred cheeses I find Jarlsberg and Comte missing…both excellent with Genoa salami!Mar 25, 2010 at 9:02 pm #1590957
@rp3957Locale: The Sierras
Baby-Bel makes at least three kinds of cheeses that are pre-wax coated and sealed and will last for many days on the trail. Walmart carries them and I have seen them in other stores as well. My wife and I practically lived on Baby-Bel cheese and French bread on our visit to Tahiti, where food prices were outrageous. I have taken them on my JMT hike and on my hike on a portion of the Sierra High Route, and they were fresh after 5 days, about all my will power would let them stay!Mar 27, 2010 at 10:56 pm #1591553
I just have to say, wax coated cheese will last virtually *forever* under nearly any non-extreme heat (read: anything not hot enough to melt the wax), and is in my opinion overkill.
Waxpaper/parchment paper suggested before, is a great way to avoid the oil-drain that some rich cheeses will experience in hot climates. That being said, the oiliness is not a health hazard, and depending on how much you really love cheese, could be considered a "state" of endearment.
Re: Monty: If you haven't already, try ageing in oil. When I lived in Spain, it was common practice for the cheese-heads I met to age in various varietals of olive (and other exotic types) oils.. I had some mature Cabrales that spent about 18 months in an unfiltered Picual, that almost gave me a tongue sprain.. It was incredible.Aug 12, 2010 at 6:57 pm #1637137
Hi all – So I was away from the forums for a bit and didn't notice that I had any replies to the two threads I started. Need to invoke the 'watch this thread' button, since I'm used to automated emails settings on other sites.
Anyways, THANKS for the replies!
I haven't really had much of a chance to get out this summer… bummer. But will be hitting the trails over the next three weeks of unemployment. Will be experimenting with cheese in all ways. And will report back.
Also, you guys really ARE cheese-heads. Tales of the 'extreme' ripening make me retract my self-proclaimed cheese-head status.
ShannonAug 24, 2010 at 1:41 pm #1640101
Larry De La BriandaisParticipant
@hitechLocale: SF Bay Area
"Baby-Bel makes at least three kinds of cheeses that are pre-wax coated and sealed and will last for many days on the trail."
We took these to Yosemite and when we opened them they were perfectly fresh even after sitting several days in 100 degree weather. It may be overkill, but it certainly works. ;^)Aug 24, 2010 at 3:04 pm #1640131
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Larry, I'll bet the Yosemite black bears loved you.
They will eat the cheese, the wax, and the wrapper.
–B.G.–Aug 24, 2010 at 3:11 pm #1640133
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Shredded cheese has a huge surface area to catch and hold molds etc. It's OK in the cold for a few days, but for longer trips you really need solid blocks.
Then you eat the lumps real fast …
CheersAug 24, 2010 at 4:19 pm #1640148
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
I was leading a group up a big volcano when we got hit by a bad snow storm. The stoves would hardly burn, so we couldn't cook our expected food. However, I had a big two-pound block of Tillimook cheese. That was cut up into eight pieces, one for each group member, and that got us through the night.
–B.G.–Aug 24, 2010 at 5:10 pm #1640162
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Tillamook Cheese should be always taken along ;-) Especially the smoked cheddar. Oh man.
My Momma grew up in Tillamook. As kids we never bought anything else.Sep 6, 2010 at 8:49 pm #1643543
@worthLocale: Wind River Range
I take cheese cloth and dampen it with vinegar. The vinegar will retard mold growth and the clotha will soak up some of the oily residue from the cheese.
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