You bought a can or two of feta, added it to the recipe you bought the feta for, and there are still some leftovers. You don’t plan on making another salad or dish that calls for feta anytime soon, but you don’t want to throw away the cheese either. Freezing him seems like the perfect solution, doesn’t it?
Well, that depends. Fresh feta is tastier and has a smoother texture than frozen and thawed feta, so using it fresh is the best solution here. And brine feta lasts quite a long time in the fridge, so before you jump ahead and freeze it, it makes sense to talk a little about storage.
How Long Does Feta Cheese Keep?
Like almost all dairy products, feta comes with an expiration date on the label. And that date is a pretty good estimate of how long the cheese will keep its quality. That being said, you can often get away with storing it unopened for a week or even longer beyond that date.
When it comes to opened feta cheese and any leftovers, it all depends on whether the cheese is in brine or not. Feta in brine can retain good quality even up to 4 weeks after opening. And in case you didn’t know, you can make your own feta in brine. Leftovers without brine will keep for up to a week.
|Leftover Feta (in brine)||3 – 4 weeks|
|Leftover Feta (drained)||4-7 days|
All of this means that if you store your opened feta in brine, you’ll have quite a bit of time to use it up. You can of course continue to freeze it, but be aware that the process will alter the feta. Let us talk about that.
Can you freeze feta cheese?
Many cheeses freeze very well, but not all. Some, like brie, are great for cooked or baked dishes and aren’t great on their own. When it comes to feta, it’s not the best cheese to freeze, but it’s definitely not the worst either.
As I said before, freezing changes the feta a bit. The thawed feta becomes more crumbly and sometimes loses some of its salty flavor. While the former is a bad thing, the latter depends on your taste. Some people find less salty feta better. And if you want to bring that flavor back in, you can make feta brine and dip the cheese in it for a few hours.
All in all, as long as the change in texture doesn’t ruin the dish you’re making, you should be fine with frozen and thawed feta. That means it should work well in all cooked dishes, but not necessarily in all salads. So make sure to try your favorite defrosted feta salad recipe before serving it to your guests.
Here’s pasta with spinach and thawed (and then cooked) feta that turned out really good:
Read Also: Can you freeze sushi?
How do you freeze feta cheese?
The process of freezing feta is super easy and takes a few minutes at most. Since freezing blocks is a little different than freezing crumbled feta, I decided to make a separate guide for each block.
How to freeze feta blocks?
- Prepare the feta. Feta blocks come with a little brine and we need to strain them before freezing. This means if your package is still unopened, it’s time to open it now. Discard the brine and blot the block with a paper towel. But don’t try to remove all the water. Removing most of it is fine.
- Portion the cheese. If the whole block is too much for the dish the feta goes into, divide it into smaller portions. If you’re unsure about portion size, it’s always better to use smaller portions as they are more versatile.
- Packaging. If you want to freeze feta for a short time (up to a couple of weeks), just toss it in a freezer bag. If you suspect it might stay in the freezer longer, wrap it in plastic wrap and then toss it in a bag. Remove as much air from the bag as you can and seal tightly. If necessary, write the name and date on the label. If you’re concerned about crushing the cheese before it freezes, place the freezer bag in a freezer container. If you already know you’re going to be using the diced feta, you might as well dice it before freezing, like I did.
- Place the freezer bag or bags in the freezer. Once the cheese freezes, it will look like this:
How do you freeze crumbled feta?
- Portion the cheese. If the whole container is too much, divide the contents into a few portions.
- Packaging. The plastic container that crumbled feta usually comes in is perfect for freezing. If you have a few servings, transfer the others to freezer containers or bags. For long-term storage, consider adding another layer of protection by placing the prepared containers in a freezer bag. Add name and date as usual if needed.
- Stick the prepared packets in the freezer.
How do you thaw frozen feta cheese?
When it comes to defrosting feta, the refrigerator is the go-to place. Depending on the size of the block or packaging, it can take anywhere from 3 to 12 (for larger blocks) hours, so plan accordingly. I usually thaw the feta overnight so everything I need is ready in the morning. If you’re in a hurry, you can speed things up by placing the package in a bowl of cold water. This way, thawing shouldn’t take more than a few hours.
If the thawed feta isn’t salty, prepare brine and soak the cheese in it for a few hours. On the other hand, if the thawed feta is still too salty for your taste, soak it in water for a few hours.
How is thawed feta cheese used?
Here are a few ways you can use frozen and thawed feta:
- Boiled and baked dishes such as casseroles, stews, pizzas or frittatas.
- Melting feta over pasta in a pan. I didn’t know that feta pairs so well with pasta until I ate such a dish while visiting friends.
- sauces. There are a bunch of thick sauces that call for feta, and thawed feta should work perfectly in these.
- Salads, but they can be delicate. After the dairy product has thawed, strain out the excess water and start with a small batch as a test.