Feta cheese is a delicious and healthy condiment that perfectly complements many dishes, from desserts to appetizers.
Whether you are grilling fish, baking potatoes, fixing salad, or making pizzas, feta cheese will enhance your cuisine without escalating the calorie count.
Soft, white, and compact to touch, feta cheese is low in calories and high in nutrients. This Greek cheese is an excellent source of many nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and probiotics in a higher amount than mozzarella, ricotta, or cottage cheese.
It is made of sheep milk, a mixture of sheep and goat milk and its taste varies from tangy and sharp to milder versions. Since feta cheese has low fat, it is easy to digest and helps in weight management.
According to WebMD, the nutrients in feta cheese promote bone health and improve gut health. It is also helpful in relieving symptoms of diabetes.
But feta cheese is also high in sodium and phosphorus, so you might want to use it in moderation if you have high blood pressure or a kidney problem.
How Long Does Feta Cheese Last? Does Feta Cheese Go Bad?
Generally, the harder the cheese, the harder is its shelf life. Feta cheese is among those soft cheeses with a high amount of moisture, and hence they do not have a long shelf life. They tend to go bad pretty quickly.
The sell-by or best before date on the product label is the last date that the manufacturer vouches for the product's quality. But for its safety, we may use food products even after the vouched date has lapsed.
Unopened blocks or crumbled feta cheese is submerged in brine, which does an excellent job preserving the soft cheese.
So it remains in good shape for two to three months and a week more past the best before date. However, compact blocks of feta tend to last a little longer than crumbled feta.
But some crumbled feta cheese is not packaged with brine and may not retain its quality for long.
If you wrap or seal the leftover feta cheese and put it away in the fridge, it will last for a week. But there is something you can do to extend its shelf life beyond that period.
To ensure that your feta cheese lasts longer, you can prepare your brine by mixing salt with water and completely submerging your leftover cheese in it.
Store in an airtight container, place it in the fridge, and your leftover feta cheese is good to go for almost a month more.
According to the CDC, raw milk is prone to carry germs, including Listeria and Salmonella, making pregnant women, older people, and those with weak immune systems fall sick.
As some feta cheese is made from raw milk, they too may get contaminated and pose a risk to your health.
So, it is necessary to store feta cheese hygienically. Discard it if you see any signs that it is going bad.
How to Tell if Feta Cheese is Bad?
How do you know if your feta cheese has gone wrong and when you should discard it?
Check out the following signs to determine if the leftovers in your fridge should go to the bin.
- If the feta cheese has dried out and it is hard and gritty, you should probably throw it out. The cheese at this point may not be unsafe, but the taste will be unpleasant.
- Collecting mold or dark specs indicate contamination. If you wish, you can cut out about an inch of feta cheese blocks and use the remaining. However, due to high moisture, contaminants will spread faster throughout the soft cheese. So it is probably better to toss it out.
- A sour smell indicates that your feta cheese has gone bad.
- If you have brined your cheese, darkened or slimy liquid suggests its spoilage.
- If the feta blocks lose their texture and crumble to your touch, it is best to throw them away.
- If the feta cheese tastes different or changes its color even slightly, it should be thrown away.
Some feta cheeses are made of raw milk, which makes them more prone to contamination. Besides, it is a soft cheese, and soft cheeses go bad pretty quickly.
So, irrespective of best by date, if you notice any of the above changes, it is best to discard it.
Feta cheese is a delicious add-on that can significantly enhance the taste of most dishes. It has lower calories, which makes it suitable for weight and fitness conscious eaters. Besides, it is also a source of many nutrients and probiotics.
But it is easy to spoil, so it should always be stored hygienically under the brine.
Although it can be consumed even after the best before date has lapsed, it is the best buy in moderate amounts to avoid any risk to your health.
Care should be taken to rule out any signs of contamination or spoilage before you use the leftovers.