Halloumi, a mildly salty but delicious cheese, comes from Cyprus. It is made from goat, cow, or sheep milk. The cheese cooks well because it has a firm texture. The exciting aspect is that it can retain its flavor even after exposure to high temperatures. Halloumi is a delicacy. Hence, it runs off the departmental store shelf quickly. Therefore, it is not wrong to buy a couple of packets and preserve them for later use if you find them.
Can You Freeze Halloumi?
Halloumi is a cheese, and cheeses are not particularly renowned for freezing well. But, halloumi is an exception because it freezes well without losing its flavor and taste. In addition, it has a semi-hard texture that can change slightly when cooked but is not severe enough to change the cheese’s composition.
How Do You Freeze Halloumi?
Like all hard or semi-hard cheese, you can freeze halloumi differently.
Freezing An Entire Block Of Halloumi
Freezing an entire block of halloumi is easier because there is not much preparation. First, however, you should check whether you have sufficient space in the freezer.
- If you have a large block of halloumi that might not fit your freezer, you can consider chopping it into ½ lb pieces. It adds to your convenience.
- Exposing the halloumi to cool air inside the freezer can cause freezer burn. Therefore, wrapping the cheese properly is essential. You can use plastic wrap or cling film to cover the cheese entirely without exposing any part of it to the air. We also advise using the original halloumi packaging because it is freezer-friendly.
- Place the wrapped halloumi in a freezer bag. Press the bag gently to remove excess air before sealing it airtight.
- Stick the date and contents label on the bag to identify the cheese when you wish to defrost it. Noting down the date allows you to monitor the freezing and consume it before expiration.
- Place the bag in a dry spot inside the freezer and close the door. It enables the halloumi to freeze quickly.
Freezing Halloumi Slices
While freezing large halloumi blocks is convenient, defrosting and consuming them can be challenging. Generally, you use halloumi in slices. So, we suggest slicing the halloumi cheese before freezing it, and secondly, cutting it before freezing is more manageable.
- Estimate the sizes you will use for cooking and slice the halloumi block accordingly.
- Cut out pieces of parchment paper depending on the size of the halloumi slices. Please ensure the papers are slightly bigger than the slices.
- Stack up the halloumi cheese slices one over the other by placing the parchment paper between two successive pieces. Alternatively, you can wrap each slice with a cling wrap tightly.
- Once stacked, you can wrap the entire cheese with a cling wrap. You can skip this step if you have already covered the individual slices.
- Place the wrapped slices or the stack into a resealable freezer bag. Expel residual air from the bag and seal it perfectly to prevent air or moisture seepage.
- Stick the labels noting the contents and the freezing date on the freezer bags.
- Choose the driest part of the freezer for placing these freezer bags.
The advantage of freezing halloumi slices is that it becomes easy to defrost them before consumption. You can remove the individual portions and allow the other pieces to remain frozen.
How Long Can You Freeze The Halloumi?
We recommend freezing halloumi for a maximum of six months. After that, its taste and flavor can deteriorate. You can defrost the frozen halloumi anytime before consuming them.
How Do You Defrost Halloumi?
While defrosting halloumi is easy, we advise you to follow the instructions carefully. Incorrect defrosting can ruin the halloumi’s texture irreplaceably.
The correct thawing procedure is to remove the frozen halloumi from the freezer and transfer them to the fridge. It allows the cheese to thaw naturally. However, the process can take anywhere between 24 and 48 hours. Therefore, it is advisable to plan the halloumi consumption well.
The ice crystals formed during the freezing process need to thaw out and allow some moisture to return to the cheese. Otherwise, the cheese can dry out soon.
Besides, defrosting the halloumi in the fridge protects the cheese from bacterial contamination. Bacteria can multiply fast at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, defrosting the halloumi inside the refrigerator is advisable to protect the cheese from damage. Besides, consuming spoilt cheese can cause food poisoning.
Please remember that thawing the halloumi on the counter increases the chances of bacterial contamination.
We recommend defrosting only as much halloumi as you need to use in the next two days. It explains why we recommended slicing the halloumi before freezing. You need not defrost the entire block and risk wasting the delicacy.
We suggest consuming the defrosted halloumi within two to three days of defrosting, even if the expiry date is still some time away. It is not advisable to keep any leftovers. You can safely discard them.
Can You Refreeze Halloumi?
It is not advisable to refreeze halloumi because its texture, flavor, and taste changes can make it unpalatable.
Can You Reheat Halloumi In A Microwave?
It is possible to reheat halloumi in a microwave. We suggest placing the cheese on a microwave-safe plate and microwaving for 40 seconds. You can garnish the cheese with herbs, oil, lemon juice, and sweet chili sauce. Please do not overheat the cheese as it can get rubbery, hard, and chewy.
Can You Freeze Halloumi Once Cooked?
We do not recommend freezing halloumi after cooking because the cheese loses its crunchy, grilled outer layer and softens in the freezer. Therefore, it is best to freeze it uncooked.
Can You Freeze Halloumi Fries?
Yes, you can freeze halloumi fries.
Can You Freeze Halloumi Fritters?
You can freeze halloumi fritters, but we advise freezing them before cooking.
Can You Freeze Halloumi Curry?
You can freeze halloumi curry, but the texture can be slightly different after defrosting.
Generally, cheese does not freeze well. But, halloumi is a surprise packet as it freezes beautifully without losing its texture and taste. However, it is better to exercise care and wrap the cheese well to prevent exposure to air. So, we have seen that freezing halloumi is possible.