So I’ve tried waxing cheese, but I’ve also heard of canning cheese. One thing I love about the idea of canning cheese is that I don’t have to check as often and rotate it like my waxed cheese.
*** Disclaimer, many people say that it’s not recommended to bottle anything dairy including cheese due to the risk of botulism. You may want to do your own research and bottle at your own risk. ***
After looking through several blogs on people who have successfully canned cheese for many years, I’ve taken most of the ideas I used from The Last Frontier Blog.
I know our ancestors successfully bottled, stored and consumed all kinds of foods well before the FDA was created to regulate what is considered safe and what is not. I also know that the FDA has deemed many foods packed with chemicals and toxins as safe, so I take it with a grain of salt.
I have bottled mild cheddar cheese and Colby jack. They will still age and become sharper when opened.
- Do not touch cheese with bare hands. Use food grade gloves.
- Everything I used on the cheese I sterilized and cleaned very well. That includes the cutting board, knife, canning funnel, jars and even my water bath canners.
- You can sterilize you canners and jars by putting them in your oven at 250 degrees for 20 minutes.
- I left cheese out for a few hours to be room temperature.
- I cut up the cheese into small cubes. It is so much easier to cut after it’s been out at room temperature. You can also shred the cheese, or even buy shredded cheese.
- I took my sterilized jars out of the oven and began filling them up with the cubed cheese and pushed them down as I went.
- I put the jars of cubed cheese in my heated water bath canner with the water a little more than half way up the jars. I watch as the cheese melts and carefully add more cheese cubes as they melt down. Be careful that the water doesn’t boil high enough to splash into the jars. Also, you may not want to put the lid on the pot while melting as it may create condensation that will add water into your cheese. So melt with the pot lid off.
- When the cheese is all melted and about 1” from the top, I take the jars out one at a time and insert a clean knife several times to get out any air bubbles.
- Then I wipe off the rim. (I use napkins dabbed with vinegar just to ensure no cheese oil is left on the rim).
- Then I put on the hot lid and ring and screw on finger tight, and put the jars back in the water bath canner. (I keep the lids and rims in a pan of water on the stove at medium to low heat so they are hot)
- I increase the water in the canner so that it’s pretty much at the tops of the jars. I wait for it to come to a good boil.
- Then I put the lid on the canner and set the timer for 40 minutes.
- When the timer goes off, I remove the canner from the heat and allow the jars to cool down a bit BEFORE taking them out of the water bath. Then I take them out carefully and allow to cool on the counter for a few hours.
- After they are sealed and completely cooled, I take off the rings and wash the jars and rings in warm soapy water to get any grease or stickiness off, dry them, and then label. Now they are ready to store! Store in a cool, dark place.
How long will the cheese last in storage? I don’t know. I know that cheese has the potential, if kept from bacteria, to store for up to 30 years. But I’m planning on eating ours within 1-2 years at least. Maybe it would last longer than that.
When your cheese is cooled, it solidifies again. Then when you want to take the cheese out, use a plastic knife and slide around between the glass and the cheese to loosen and then slide the cheese out. You can now slice it or even shred it to use on your taco’s or sandwiches or whatever! It’s CHEESE!!!