Cheese Aboard – Long Term Storage

How to Have Cheese Aboard (or anywhere!):

I learned a neat trick from Lin and Larry Parday with regard to long term cheese storage because … who doesn’t want nachos from time to time when you’re on an island where you’ve just arrived after sailing for a week or so?

Storing cheese in oil.  I kid you not  Or, if you’re not as shocked as I was, then I am a noob.  I was a city kid.  We didn’t learn “long term food storage” when I was growing up.

You take a jar and set a block of cheese into it and then fill it with oil.  (I used olive oil.)  You then put a lid on it, and set it somewhere cool and dark.  I used canning jars but you could use a clean peanut butter jar with a plastic lid for this endeavor.

It’s nerve-racking to try a method of food storage other than the freezer for perishables because I’m hesitant to poison anyone.  When I first learned how to can foods in jars, I started with what is supposedly the most difficult, which is canning meats.  I was afraid to open the first jar after waiting for several days because I was concerned that someone was going to get sick and die, but all went well and I have now been canning since 2013.

So I filled those jars with some blocks of cheddar cheese and then filled them with oil until the were completely covered.  I then put the lids on and set them on a shelf under the Captain’s navigation station for about a month.

Then I opened one of them.

I blotted it with a paper towel and noted that it seemed to be a little faded in color, but it smelled like cheddar cheese.  Then I grated it and used it on the scrambled eggs that I made for breakfast that morning.

The cheese grated just fine and it melted on the eggs like normal.  It tasted just like cheddar cheese without a flavor change like the time I tried canning cheese.  When dairy products are canned, their flavor because more concentrated, and the cheese, in particular, was comparable to plastic.  In other words, it doesn’t melt very well on nachos.

I have read other websites that talk about storing large blocks of cheese in gallon-sized jugs and then lowering them down into an area such as the bilge, where the temperature is cooler.  You take out the cheese, cut off what you need, and then return it to the oil.

I’m debating that with myself because it would seem you could potentially introduce a contaminant every time you take the cheese out and then put it back.  Maybe I could put multiple small blocks of cheese in a large jug and then just remove one chunk at a time without replacing it in the jug and just refrigerate the leftovers to be used later.

I will soon start posting some recipes that I intend to use for our menu when we finally get underway, such as nachos,  My plan is to have everything we need to make things from ingredients that would normally have been refrigerated or frozen, but will instead be canned, dehydrated, or stored in oil.

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