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How long you can really keep cheese in the fridge

It can be hard to keep track of how long you’ve kept food in the fridge for, so many of us throw perfectly edible items just to be on the safe side in case they’ve gone off and could make us ill.

One of the most thrown-away foods is cheese. But experts have now revealed that many varieties last a lot longer in the fridge than you might think.

From three weeks for cheeses such as Gouda and Gruyere, to four months for some hard cheeses, knowing the expiry date of these varieties could save you from wasting so much food – and therefore save you money. 

You can store cheese in the freezer, though it may have a slightly different taste than it has when used fresh. Frozen cheese can be used to flavour soups and stews

How long you can keep cheese for

Hard cheeses (incl Parmesan and Cheddar)

Unopened – Two to four months

Opened – Six weeks

Freezer – Eight months 

Semihard and semisoft (incl Gouda and Gruyere)

Opened – Three weeks 

Freezer – Two months

Soft cheeses (incl brie, Camembert and feta)

Opened – Up to two weeks in tightly sealed container

Freezer – Can’t be frozen 

Parmesan and blocks of cheddar can last for up to four months unopened, cheese experts at food website Tasting Table revealed.

And if you store them in the freezer, they can last even longer: up to eight months. 

Once opened, hard cheeses can still last a lot longer than you might think: up to six weeks in the fridge if stored properly.

And if mould starts to grow, you can scrape it off hard cheeses and the rest will be fine to eat. 

Meanwhile, cheeses that are in between hard and soft such as Gouda and Gruyere can last for three weeks once opened, or two months in the freezer if unopened.

Soft cheeses, such as feta, Camembert and brie, must be eaten fairly quickly because harmful bacteria such as listeria thrives in them because of their moisture.

Once mould has grown, make sure you throw your soft cheese in the bin as it is likely to be particularly harmful and will inevitably cause a nasty bout of food poisoning. 

Hard cheeses, such as Parmesan will last the longest of any type of cheese

Soft cheeses, such as Camembert last the shortest length of time

Hard cheeses, such as Parmesan (left) will last the longest of any type of cheese, while soft cheeses, such as Camembert (right) last the shortest length of time

You can still keep soft cheeses for up to two weeks unopened, however.

The best way to store cheese to make it last as long as possible is to store it in waxed paper, rather than in clingfilm.

Experts from Good Housekeeping Institute have said: ‘Cheese keeps best when it is wrapped in waxed paper. 

‘This strikes the right balance between stopping the cheese from drying out and preventing too much moisture from building up. 

‘Cling film tends to trap moisture, which can encourage mould to grow on the surface of the cheese.’