Halloumi is a semi-hard and chewy white cheese that hails from Cyprus. It can be made from goats, sheep, cows, or goat’s milk.
Sometimes, it even comes in a combination. Halloumi is mildly salty and delicious.
It cooks beautifully because of its firm texture. It retains its flavor and texture even after being exposed to high temperatures.
Many people consider Halloumi a delicacy, so it’s a great find to see it in the grocery store.
Halloumi can be frozen, and it will hold its shape.
While most cheeses can be frozen for six months with minimal quality loss, Halloumi can last longer than others.
Its unique semi-hard texture and cooking method are the main reasons for this.
The cheese may have a slight texture shift, but it is not enough to cause any damage.
Also, the flavor of the cheese will not change after freezing.
Read on to find out how you can freeze Halloumi correctly for great long-term storage.
Why Consider Freezing Halloumi? Does Freezing Affect Halloumi?
Most cheese will lose its flavors and begin to mold after being frozen for some time.
Freezing cheese is possible because it changes its structure from a liquid state to a solid one.
Once frozen, it becomes more difficult for bacteria pathogens to grow in the cheese.
Halloumi is somewhat different than other cheeses in that it will maintain its firm texture and flavor if frozen.
It can be stored in the freezer for about nine months and still taste great.
It is recommended that you freeze the cheese within a week of buying or receiving it for the best results.
While it’s true that Halloumi can last longer than most cheeses when exposed to the freezer, it’s best to eat it within seven months.
This will help prevent rancidity and flavor loss, which is common with most refrigerated cheeses frozen for long periods.
The freezing process changes the texture of the cheese slightly.
This causes a slight change in its overall flavor profile because of how the taste buds interact with the texture.
Freezing Halloumi will not make it taste as good as when it is stored in the fridge, but many people find that freezing it helps prevent waste.
How to Freeze Halloumi Block?
You can freeze the entire block if you don’t want to cut the Halloumi into pieces before freezing.
A whole block of Halloumi is easier to freeze than slices because there is less risk of the cheese drying out and becoming brittle.
If you decide to freeze the whole block, make sure that you wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before putting it into a freezer-safe bag.
This will help prevent air from entering the packaging and prevent oxidation.
It is also important to remember that you’ll need to remove the block from its packaging before defrosting it.
After you unwrap the block, cut it into smaller pieces to make thawing easier.
It’s also a good idea to turn each piece over after freezing to help prevent discoloration on one side due to exposure to air.
Here’s how to freeze the halloumi block in its original packaging:
- Unwrap the cheese, and cut it into approximately 1/4 lb pieces.
- Wrap each piece tightly with a couple of layers of plastic wrap.
- Place these wrapped blocks in sealable bags to prevent freezer burn. You can also place them back into their original packaging to prevent freezer burn.
- Mark the bags with the expiration dates for easy identification.
- Let the Halloumi defrost for about a day before eating it.
How to Freeze Sliced Halloumi?
Halloumi is most commonly prepared in thin slices. After being cooked, you can place the slices in a pan or the oven.
It is easier to prepare and cook the Halloumi by slicing it before freezing. Here’s how to freeze Halloumi:
- Slice the Halloumi as thinly as you want it to be before freezing.
- Place each slice between sheets of parchment paper or wax paper.
- Wrap these slices tightly in plastic wrap. The plastic should also cover the sides of the cheese to prevent freezer burn.
- You can place all of these slices into a freezer-safe bag.
- Mark the bag with the date so that it’s easy to identify when it is time to eat.
How to Thaw Frozen Halloumi?
Halloumi should be thawed carefully to avoid ruining the texture. When frozen, the texture of Halloumi becomes somewhat tough.
It can dry out quickly when exposed to too much air and moisture during thawing.
To avoid these problems, thaw it in the refrigerator. The process should take about a day or two if done correctly.
If you don’t have room in your refrigerator for both the cheese and all of your other food, you may want to use a separate cooler instead.
This will help keep the Halloumi from thawing quickly.
Avoid thawing the Halloumi at room temperature because of the risk of bacteria growth and potential food poisoning.
It is also not recommended to microwave halloumi. The microwave cooks the cheese unevenly, and this can lead to bumps on the exterior.
These bumps are caused by moisture condensation inside the packaging due to uneven heating throughout the package.
How to Use Thawed Halloumi?
After thawing the Halloumi in the refrigerator, you should remove it from its packaging and take a look at how it looks.
The texture of the cheese may be somewhat off depending on how long it was in storage before being eaten.
If this is the case, you’ll need to use a knife or your hands to break apart any dried-out pieces.
The Halloumi can be used after it has been broken into smaller pieces.
Here are some ways that you can use the thawed cheese:
You can cut the cheese into strips and use them as skewers for vegetables, fruits, and other meats.
If you prefer to skip this step, you can just cut the cheese into slabs and place them on a tray for grilling.
You can use halloumi slices in salads, sandwiches, paninis, or as the sandwich filling.
Add some cooked vegetables to the mix for extra flavor.
Halloumi fries are one of the most popular ways that you can use thawed Halloumi.
Fry some strips until they become golden brown, and then drain them.
You can also just cut the cheese into slices and eat it as is.
You may not be able to use the Halloumi exactly as you bought it, but don’t worry, there are plenty of other options from which to choose.
How to Tell if Frozen Halloumi is Bad?
Halloumi can last for up to 6 months when stored in the freezer.
To ensure that you don’t accidentally eat bad Halloumi, check the date on the package before using it.
This will help you avoid eating meat that has been thawed and then refrozen in your refrigerator.
Thawed frozen foods should be consumed within two days. There are other ways to tell if the Halloumi is bad.
If you open the package and notice an unusual odor or look different from before, for example, brown spots on the cheese, don’t risk eating it.
If you see any mold, throw it away. The cheese will not be good to eat if mold is present.
If you aren’t sure if the cheese is good or bad, you can use your sense of touch.
If it appears to be sticky, slimy, gummy, or tacky, it’s probably not safe to eat.
If Halloumi’s packaging has been damaged—such as a torn plastic wrap, a punctured bag, mold spots on the cheese, or a torn seal—do not eat it.
Use these methods to help determine if frozen Halloumi has gone bad, and then replace any of the products you don’t want to eat.
In conclusion, Halloumi can be frozen, but many steps need to be taken during the freezing process to ensure that the cheese doesn’t become damaged.
After it’s in the freezer, you should consume or freeze it within a few weeks to keep it fresh.
Also, keep in mind that frozen Halloumi will be slightly different after it’s thawed than when you first bought it.
The texture of the cheese may feel tougher and chewier, for example.
So be sure to adjust your recipes accordingly if this is an issue.