If you have recently bought some feta cheese, or you are planning to because of adding it to a recipe, then you might be wondering a few things.
One of the first things that comes to mind is how long does feta cheese last? It is a cheese after all – a dairy product – so you will want to make the most of it before it goes bad.
For this reason, you may also want to find out some storage tips when it comes to feta cheese. Eating it long after it has gone bad might not be a good thing, so you will want to preserve it for as long as you can.
Fortunately, we have got plenty of tips for you when it comes to feta cheese. So whether you are new to eating feta cheese or need advice on what to do with your leftovers, we have got you covered.
What Is Feta Cheese?
Feta is a type of cheese that originally came from Greece. It is known for its salt-like flavor and crumbly yet creamy texture. It is a soft type of cheese and can be eaten whole or added to sauces.
Originally, feta cheese was made by using the milk from sheep. However, in modern times both goat milk and sheep milk are used by cheesemakers.
Even so, in the United States, manufacturers are more likely to stick with regular cow’s milk to create the feta cheese that you know and love.
Feta cheese is often used in different salads and also tasty pitas. It can also be an ingredient within sauces, spreads, and dips, as well as put with watermelon, a plethora of meats, and seafood.
What Are Substitutes For Feta Cheese?
If you are looking to use a feta cheese recipe but do not have any to hand, or cannot find any at your local grocery store, then there are some options.
You can use something like queso fresco or goat cheese in place of feta cheese.
If you are vegan, then pressing tofu can create a feta cheese-like texture. You will need to add some brine too in order to add a salt-like flavor.
How Long Can Feta Cheese Last For?
There are various things to consider when wanting to understand how long feta cheese can last. For example, is the feta cheese you have in a block, or is it all crumbled?
You will also want to consider its current packaging, and how you are storing it.
If the feta cheese is packaged, then there is a good chance that it has some form of expiration date. This is a good indicator to tell you how long it will stay fresh, and even when you should stop eating it.
However, even if the expiration date has passed (and we are talking about a few days, not months), then it should be acceptable to eat.
Here are some estimates for how long feta cheese can last depending on various factors:
Refrigerated Feta Cheese
It is highly likely that the feta cheese you have has been put into the refrigerator. This is the best way of preserving the cheese.
- Opened feta cheese – if you have already opened the feta cheese, then you may want to know how long it may last. Unfortunately, not long! Whether it is in block form or crumbled, it should only last for up to a week.
However, if you keep the block in its brine, or even add crumbled feta to the brine, then there is a good chance it will last up to a month. Another tip is to place it in olive oil. It can help to preserve the feta block for a couple of weeks.
- Unopened feta cheese – if you have not opened the feta cheese yet and it is still a block, then it could last up to 3 months. This is due to it being put in brine which helps to preserve it.
You will find that once the expiration date has passed, it may last for a couple of weeks to a month more.
If the cheese is in a crumbled state but is unopened, then it likely will not be in brine. This means that it will only last for around a week once the expiration date has passed.
Room Temperature Feta Cheese
Any perishable goods do not last long when left out at room temperature, and feta cheese is one of them.
This is because once they are left out of the cold, there is a good chance that bacteria which is harmful will start to grow due to the right conditions of the warmer environment.
This means that the longer you leave the feta cheese out of the fridge, the more likely bacteria will have started to form on the food item.
This can be quite dangerous for you, especially if you then eat it. It can cause food poisoning due to eating the harmful bacteria which is present within the cheese.
Most perishable foods, including feta cheese, can stay safe to eat out of the fridge for up to two hours. Once the two hours are up, put the feta cheese into the freezer or fridge to stop the bacteria from growing.
Even so, if the day is particularly hot, then that two hours becomes an even narrower window.
Freezer Feta Cheese
It is absolutely fine to put feta cheese in the freezer. In fact, it is highly recommended if you need the feta cheese to last for a longer time.
Whether the feta cheese is in a block or crumbled, it can be frozen for up to three months. Once the three months have passed, the feta cheese will still be fine to eat – however, the quality of it will not be as good.
You may find that the texture and taste of the cheese is not the same as it once was. It often turns extra crumbly too. Even so, so long as you eat it within three months, you likely will not be able to tell.
For this reason, defrosted forms of feta cheese often work best put in hot dishes, rather than salads.
How Can You Tell When Feta Cheese Has Gone Bad?
If you have left the feta cheese in the fridge for a while, or it has passed its expiration date, then you may want to know whether it is still safe to eat.
Eating feta cheese that has gone bad can make you sick. This is because, like all perishable food, bacteria can take over. This is something you definitely do not want to ingest. This is because it can cause food poisoning.
So, how can you tell feta cheese has gone bad? There are a number of things to look for. If you notice any of these signs, then throw it out:
- The texture has changed – if the feta cheese looks slimy, is extra dry, or has a grainy or gritty feel to it, then it is time to wave goodbye to it. It will not be safe to eat.
- Mold on the feta cheese – when it comes to hard cheese, it is quite common to scrape away the mold. However, this is something you cannot do with feta cheese. Due to it being soft, mold will penetrate through it easier. For this reason, there may be mold hidden inside the cheese. It is best to throw it into the trash!
- Changes in color – if the feta cheese has changed color, then again it is time to throw it out. It will not be safe to eat which means that it is spoiled, and bacteria is present.
- Sour smells – if the feta cheese has a sour smell then it means it should not be eaten, even if the cheese itself looks okay. Bacteria are at play here, so you should avoid eating it.
What Are The Signs Of Food Poisoning?
If you have eaten feta cheese that has any of the above signs, then there is a good chance you may suffer from food poisoning. For this reason, seek medical advice if you are able to.
Here are some of the common symptoms of food poisoning:
- Feeling sick
- Cramps and pain in the abdomen
- Diarrhea which is either watery, bloody, or both
- Having a fever
What Is The Best Way To Store Leftover Feta Cheese?
Because feta cheese is a perishable product, you will want to store it properly in order for it to last as long as possible. Here are some of the best ways to store leftover feta cheese:
The easiest way to store leftover feta cheese is in the fridge using a Ziploc bag or an airtight container. If you are using the bag method, then you will want to remove as much air as you possibly can before closing it.
If you can, make sure it is still in its original brine. This will make sure it lasts longer too.
The same goes for crumbled feta cheese. It can be put into a Ziploc bag with as much of the air out as possible, or an airtight container.
If you do not have any brine to help preserve the feta blocks and crumbles, then you can easily make your own using two teaspoons worth of salt for every two cups of water. Enough should be made to cover the cheese, rather than it swimming in the solution.
Another way of preserving the feta cheese is by cutting it up into smaller pieces and placing it into a jar filled with some simple olive oil.
You can also freeze feta cheese. You will want to drain away the brine to ensure the feta cheese is dry. You can then portion out the feta or keep it whole.
Place the block or crumbles into an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag. Once thawed, eat the feta cheese within a 24-hour period.
Feta cheese is delicious, but often there are leftovers. Due to it being a perishable product, you may need to know how long it is good for, and what the best storage solutions are.
Hopefully, this article has helped you!