Moldy cheese – toss or save?

Dear Cooks:

I bought a beautiful hunk of Cheddar cheese from my farmer’s market and kind of forgot about it. I went to pull it out a few weeks later, and there was some visible mold. Is it safe to cut off the mold and eat the rest? It was expensive! I remember my mom doing this when I was little but I’m not sure. Can you advise? Thanks!


Anne in Rochester

Dear Anne:

It depends on the type of cheese – when soft cheeses like cottage cheese or cream cheese, or shredded, crumbled or sliced cheese, grow mold, they should be discarded as the mold can grow root threads throughout the cheese. Plus harmful bacteria like e coli or salmonella can grow along with the mold. As for hard or semi-soft cheeses like Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack, etc., mold can’t penetrate very far into the cheese so you can cut off the mold with a 1-inch border around the moldy spot and eat the rest. Be sure the knife doesn’t penetrate the moldy spot as it could spread it when you make the next cut. Of course, some cheeses are made from mold – like Brie or Camembert.

So use your best judgement but the old rule also applies – when in doubt throw it out!

What's Fresh from @RachaelRay

Rachael Ray