From pasta to salads, mozzarella is a great topping to add to many dishes. Apart from its deliciously creamy taste, it’s famous for its low fat and sodium content. This leads to many people wanting to know if you can freeze fresh mozzarella so that it is always on hand?
Fresh mozzarella cheese can be frozen if you plan to mix it into a recipe. In general, however, it is best not to freeze fresh mozzarella due to its high moisture content. Freezing mozzarella can result in the formation of ice crystals within the cheese which changes its texture and makes it crumbly.
Keep reading to learn the following:
- What happens when you freeze fresh mozzarella
- The correct way of freezing fresh mozzarella
- How long you can freeze fresh mozzarella
- How you can thaw frozen mozzarella
- How you can determine if your mozzarella has gone bad
What Happens When You Freeze Fresh Mozzarella?
Some recipes require fresh mozzarella for the best flavor. If you have excess cheese left, you might think of freezing it for another recipe. Freezing is not recommended. Here’s why:
Fresh mozzarella will become ice crystals if you freeze it. The ice crystals result from the high moisture content—mozzarella is made from a water buffalo’s milk, which contains a lot of moisture. Freezing fresh mozzarella also alters the texture and taste of the cheese.
Frozen mozzarella won’t be good enough as a topping on salads or sandwiches. But if you plan to melt the cheese in your recipe—such as using it on a pizza—you can get away with freezing it. Frozen mozzarella is best used in cooked dishes, such as soups or casseroles.
If you plan on storing fresh mozzarella for another recipe later, you should keep it in the freezer. Mozzarella cheese will only last three to seven days in the refrigerator once you take it out of the bag. If you want to store it for a longer time, you should consider properly storing it in the freezer.
So, what’s the right way to freeze fresh Mozzarella?
How To Freeze Fresh Mozzarella
Mozzarella has a shorter shelf life than most other cheeses. You should consume the Mozzarella as soon as possible after opening the packaging. If you plan on freezing fresh Mozzarella to use later in another recipe, you must follow the correct procedure; otherwise, you risk ruining the cheese.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to freeze fresh mozzarella loaf:
- Remove the packaging. Get rid of the plastic or container the Mozzarella came in.
- Drain the liquid or whey it came in. Fresh Mozzarella is sold in small plastic bags or containers that contain water or whey. This liquid helps in retaining the shape of the cheese and moisture content. You should drain this liquid before freezing.
- Make small portions. Cut the Mozzarella into small slices.
- Wrap the mozzarella portions tightly in plastic or aluminum foil to ensure they don’t absorb the flavor and odor from other foods in your freezer. You can wrap each slice individually so that they won’t stick to each other. Or, you can put them all in a single layer in a heavy-duty freezer bag—avoid storing it near any meat to avoid contamination.
Alternatively, if you have fresh mozzarella balls, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to freeze them:
- Get rid of the packaging and the water from the container.
- Wrap each ball using a cling wrap without squashing it.
- Put each mozzarella ball in a freezer safe bag, like a heavy-duty freezer bag.
- Seal the bag and store it in the freezer. You can easily take out the right amount of cling-wrapped mozzarella balls for your recipe as needed.
If, however, you just want to store fresh Mozzarella for a few days, it would be better to keep it in the refrigerator.
If your fresh Mozzarella didn’t come in a container filled with water or whey, you could store it in the refrigerator with fresh water from the tap for up to 3 to 7 days. Place it in a ceramic bowl with water and wrap plastic over it; that way, it doesn’t dry out. You should change the water daily.
How Long Can You Freeze Fresh Mozzarella?
You can freeze fresh mozzarella for 3 to 6 months as long as you wrap it properly to protect it beforehand. However, it’s best to store fresh mozzarella for a minimum amount of time to avoid a drastic change in its texture and taste.
Label your mozzarella package with the date when storing it in the freezer. Labeling will help you remember how long your cheese has been frozen.
If you’re not freezing the cheese but want to store it in the refrigerator, note that the ideal fridge temperature is 34 to 40°F (1 to 4°C). In these conditions, the cheese can last up to a week in the fridge.
How To Thaw Frozen Mozzarella
When it comes to thawing frozen Mozzarella, you shouldn’t move Mozzarella from the freezer directly to room temperature in order to avoid affecting the quality of the cheese.
Here are three safe ways to thaw frozen Mozzarella:
- Put it in the fridge – The best way to thaw frozen Mozzarella is to remove it from the freezer and place it into the fridge overnight. This way the cheese will thaw slowly and help to preserve its taste and texture.
- Place it on the counter – If you need to thaw fresh Mozzarella quicker, you can place it on the kitchen counter at room temperature. It is only safe to do this if prior to freezing you have cut the Mozzarella into thin slices as they will thaw quickly. A bigger chunk of Mozzarrella should not be thawed using this method as it will have to sit out too long, which increases it’s chances of bacterial growth.
- Use it frozen – If you’re adding frozen Mozzarella to a dish where the cheese will be melted, you can just add the cheese without thawing.
Note: After defrosting it, check to make sure the cheese hasn’t gone bad before using it in your recipe.
How Do I Know if My Mozzarella Has Gone Bad?
If you are consuming Mozzarella that has been frozen, you must ensure that it hasn’t gone bad.
You know if your mozzarella has gone bad if the cheese is moldy. A bad mozzarella will also feel dry, smell bad, and discolor. Don’t eat spoiled mozzarella, as it can upset your stomach. Moldy mozzarella can also cause allergic reactions (in some people), respiratory issues, or hospitalization.
Here’s how to check if your Mozzarella has gone bad:
Don’t Eat the Mozzarella if It Smells Bad
You can tell if your mozzarella has gone bad by smelling it. Mozzarella has a light aroma. However, if it develops a strong sour smell and doesn’t smell anything like it did when you first purchased it, it has probably gone bad. Tightly wrapping cheese in plastic will help prevent mold growth.
Examine the Texture of the Cheese
If you see discoloration or the cheese has gone dry, you must discard it immediately. Cheese mold is usually blue or green.
Don’t just cut off the discolored part and consume the rest of the cheese. This is not safe to do in a soft cheese like Mozzarella as the mold has most likely moved into the cheese. So, if you see any signs of mold, you should throw away the cheese immediately.
(It’s safe to cut mold on hard cheeses like Swiss, Cheddar, and Parmesan and consume the rest as the mold hasn’t penetrated the outer layer).
When checking the texture, you should also check the moisture content of your cheese. If you don’t refrigerate or freeze the mozzarella properly, the cheese can lose moisture and become hard and dry. If that’s the case, resoak the cheese to restore the moisture content.
Soak Fresh Mozzarella to Regain Moisture
All you need to do is warm up some milk and add a pinch of salt to it. Pour the warm milk into a container and dip your mozzarella balls or loaf in the milk for an hour. The mozzarella will absorb the milk, thus, becoming juicy again.
However, you must make sure that your milk is not too hot. If the milk is extremely hot, your mozzarella will become rubbery. And if your milk is too cold, the milk won’t get absorbed. If you can dip your finger in the warm milk comfortably without your finger getting burned, it’s probably the right temperature.
Taste the Cheese To Determine if It’s Still Good
Suppose there’s no odor or discoloration on the surface of the cheese. You can proceed to taste it. But if it tastes extremely sour and different from what it tasted like before, that means you should immediately throw it away.
If you want to avoid the hassle of freezing and thawing fresh Mozzarella, you can use the excess cheese in some other side dish.
Freeze fresh Mozzarella only if you want to use it for recipes like pizzas or casseroles. To freeze a fresh loaf of Mozzarella, drain the liquid it came in, cut the loaf into slices and wrap the cheese tightly in plastic or aluminum foil.
You can use the same steps for Mozzarella balls as well. Wrap each ball individually in plastics, and place the bags in a heavy-duty freezer bag.
You can store the cheese safely in the freezer for up to three to six months. After defrosting the cheese, smell or taste it to ensure it’s still good.