Something must living and breathing humans can agree on is that cheese is spectacular. Enjoyed alongside some fruit, crackers, and wine? Delightful. Melted on top of bread? Fantastic. Grated on top of pretty much anything? The best.
Yet somehow, it seems like all of us end up with dry cheese scraps that just sits in the fridge. Each time we open the door, we avoid looking at it, fearing that the stress of not knowing what to do with it will take over. Don’t worry, we’re here to tell you exactly what you can do with it.
Cheese is the wonderful combination of preserved fat and milk protein. What’s confusing is that cheese doesn’t go bad in the same way that other food products do, so sometimes expiration dates end up being more confusing than helpful. A helpful guide: the less water in the cheese, the lower the chance of it going bad.
Fresh mozzarella and goat cheese can go off, while Brie, Gruyere, Cheddar, and Taleggio transform. What does that mean? The question really is if they are still appetizing or not.
Cheeses like Brie will start to smell like ammonia and may have some mold growing. Additionally, the cheese can start looking dry. As long as there is no red or black mold on the cheese, it is fine. Leaving the cheese at room temp for a bit will help rid the ammonia smell. Mold that’s blue, green, white, or grey can simply be cut off. Leftover rinds can be used to deepen flavors of soups and stocks.
Dried cheeses can often reveal a soft interior when trimmed. If you find that the whole piece is dry, put it through the food processor and keep it in a ziploc baggie. It will be perfect for topping roasted vegetables, salads, and anything else you desire.
Another great use for this dry cheese is a Parisian tradition called fromage fort. Translated to “strong cheese,” this dip is the perfect solution for leftover cheese scraps. The only cheese you want to avoid using in this dip is bleu cheese, as its flavor tends to overpower any other flavor.
The best part of this dip is that it is highly customizable based on whatever your personal preferences are, as well as what you’ve got on hand. Add in butter or creme if you only have hard cheese on hand. You can also throw in olives, roast tomatoes, bacon bits, caramelized onions, and anything else that you like.
You can add in garlic, white wine, lemon zest, and herbs for flavoring. The dip blends everything together and you can then spread it on bread or crackers.