If you didn’t know, the word Mozzarella stems from “mozzare” which means “to cut by hand” in Italian. This soft cheese is one of the most popular dairy products in America.
Mozzarella cheese is made from the milk of Italian Mediterranean buffalos that are raised around Campania. Caserta and Salerno’s mozzarella is especially sought after because the recipe for this delicious cheese stems from these two provinces.
People love this cheese for its creamy aroma and mild taste. And as you know, there’s no pizza without mozzarella. But, what if you got some cheese leftover after making homemade pizza. You can’t eat it every day, one week straight.
This little problem begs the question, can you freeze mozzarella? Thankfully, the answer is yes! Just like any other type of cheese, if you wrap it right, you won’t have any trouble preserving it for months to come.
Unfortunately, storing mozzarella in the freezer properly is a bit more tricky than you think. The main reason for this is because mozzarella comes in various forms such as sliced cheese, in stings, shredded, in blocks, and, of course, in the form of a ball of high-moisture soft mozzarella.
Before you start worrying, remember that you’re at the right place! In this article, we’ll teach you everything you should know about freezing mozzarella. We’ll also get more in-depth about why even freeze this creamy cheese and what are the telltale signs of mozzarella going bad.
As we mentioned in our introduction, mozzarella comes in many forms. However, the three most common types of mozzarella cheese are:
- Fresh mozzarella – This type of mozzarella is perfect for salads and sauces. It comes in the form of a moist ball of cheese floating in whey liquid.
- Blocked mozzarella – This type of mozzarella is quite hard and very similar to cheeses like Edam or Gouda. This type of mozzarella is best for pizza because of its stringy texture when melted.
- Shredded mozzarella – is just hard mozzarella, but shredded. You can find it in any grocery store or supermarket and is perfect for seasoning and for pizza toppings.
Knowing what type of mozzarella you have on your hands is incredibly important because not all of them freeze that well. So, before we get into the nitty-gritty of how you should store different types of this cheese, let’s talk a bit about which type freezes the best and which the worst:
- Store-bought shredded mozzarella – Any mozzarella you can find in the supermarket fridge is full of preservatives that keep it fresh for longer. This, naturally, also means it has a longer shelf life. You can usually finish a container of shredded mozzarella well before its expiry date. And if that’s not the case, you can freeze it with no problems. We’ll go into how you can freeze this type of cheese a bit later in the article.
- Mozzarella blocks – Blocks of mozzarella are also quite common in most stores. This means it’s full of preservatives that ensure the cheese stays fresh as long as possible. If you’re by any case unable to finish the whole block before its expiry date, don’t worry. Blocked cheese freezes quite well, and the entire process takes just a couple of minutes. The only thing you should keep in mind when feezing blocked mozzarella is that it’ll crumble easily after thawing, which is why you should slice it up before freezing.
- Fresh Mozzarella Balls – Lastly, we have fresh mozzarella balls. Opinions on freezing this type of mozzarella are very polarized. The most cursory google search will return a whole slew of heated online debates. Some people say you can freeze fresh mozzarella like it’s nothing while others say the opposite. One thing is for sure, thawed soft mozzarella will have a noticeably different texture than when it’s fresh.
Now that you know how different types of mozzarella behave in the freezer, let’s go over how you should go about prepping the cheese for the deep freeze.
How To Freeze Mozzarella
As you’ve seen so far, the way you freeze mozzarella cheese depends on the form it comes in. Thankfully, no matter what type of cheese you got on your hands, freezing, is quite simple and won’t take more than a couple of minutes of your time.
One thing you should consider before you get on with the freezing is how long are you going to keep it frozen. Knowing how long you’re going to keep it frozen will help you determine how you’re going to portion the cheese.
You should also keep in mind that mozzarella stored in a fridge can last much less than when it’s frozen. When properly packed, mozzarella can last up to seven days in a refrigerator. On the other hand, frozen mozzarella can last up to 3 months.
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Freezing Mozzarella Block
Freezing Mozzarella Blocks is incredibly easy. Just keep in mind that it will crumble a lot once it thaws.
Here’s what you need to do to properly freeze mozzarella blocks:
Step 1 – Portion The Cheese
Since you won’t be able to finish an entire block of cheese in just a couple of days, you should portion the cheese. We recommend you don’t use more cheese than you need. If you’re going to use the cheese for sandwiches, we recommend you cut it up into smaller slices. On the other hand, if you’re going to use it for pizza, you should cut it up into bigger chunks.
Step 2 – Packaging The Cheese
Packaging mozzarella depends on the size of the chunks. If you went for big pieces, you should pack them the same way Brie slices are packed. This means you should take a cookie sheet and put a large freezer bag on top of it. Then you should put mozzarella chunks in the bag in such a way that they don’t touch each other.
If you’ve cut up the block of mozzarella into smaller slices, you can use the same method as with big chunks. However, you shouldn’t worry if slices touch each other. In fact, feel free to make piles of mozzarella slices and pack them that way. Each pile should have as many slices as you think you’ll need.
After you’ve packed everything up, you have to remove the air from the bag and place it into the freezer.
Step 3 – Labeling The Package
To ensure you eat the cheese before it goes bad, we recommend you label the bag before you place it in the freezer. This way, you’re not risking any food poisoning.
Freezing Shredded Mozzarella
Freezing shredded mozzarella is just as easy as freezing blocked cheese. Here are the steps you’ll have to take to freeze shredded mozzarella:
Step 1 – Portioning The Cheese
Just like with packaging blocked cheese, we recommend you portion the shredded mozzarella before you freeze it. Portioning ensures you won’t use too much cheese at once, which means it’ll last you much longer.
Step 2 – Packaging the cheese
Take a couple of freezer bags and pack the premade portions individually. Close the bag and label it (if you want) and place it in the freezer. Keep in mind that if you let mozzarella sit frozen for more than 3 months, you should throw it out to avoid any food poisoning.
Freezing Fresh Mozzarella
Before we get into the process of freezing fresh mozzarella, we must warn you it will change its texture and taste. This is why we recommend you use thawed soft mozzarella in cooked dishes since that’ll mask the taste.
Here are the steps you’ll have to take to freeze fresh mozzarella:
Step 1 – Draining The Liquid
Before you start packing fresh mozzarella, you have to drain it of any excess moisture. Squeezing the ball of cheese by hand will get rid of most of the moisture. However, you should also use paper towels to dry the cheese even more. Water turns into ice crystals when frozen, and you want to avoid that at all costs because that’ll further mess with the texture.
Step 2 – Portioning The Cheese
Slice the cheese into smaller portions. You can skip this step if you’re planning on using the entire ball at once.
Step 3 – Packaging The Cheese
After you’ve cut the fresh mozzarella into smaller portions, it’s time to put them into a freezer bag. If you’re planning on keeping the cheese frozen for more than a month, you should wrap each individual slice into plastic wrap.
After you’ve done all this, it’s time to place the cheese into the freezer bag. Squeeze out any that are out of the bag and put them into the freezer. If you wish, you can label the bag before putting it in the freezer.
We recommend you take out the frozen mozzarella cheese the night before and let it thaw slowly overnight.
Alternatively, you can defrost it in the fridge. This way, you can re-freeze any leftover cheese.
And if you’re short on time, you can defrost mozzarella in cold water. Just submerge the bag in cold water and let it sit there for a couple of hours.
So, here we are at the end of our journey. We hope you got an in-depth answer to the question can I freeze mozzarella cheese.
If you’ve learned something new, we encourage you to share this article with your friends so they can learn something new too. We’re also looking forward to your thoughts in the comments below!