Quick Answer : Can You Freeze Queso Fresco?
Technically, you can freeze queso fresco. But practical experience says otherwise. Queso fresco is best consumed fresh off the shelf. Alternatively, we suggest finishing it the day you prepare. But, still, if you wish to preserve queso fresco for some time and do not know what to do with the large batch of cheese sitting on the kitchen table, you can freeze it to extend its lifespan. So, can you freeze queso fresco? Yes, only if you have no other option.
Why Should You Not Freeze Queso Fresco?
We shall discuss how to freeze queso fresco later on in this article. But, knowing why it is not recommended to freeze is crucial.
Queso fresco is a famous Mexican cheese renowned for its creamy taste. But, it has a uniquely crumbly nature. As it is a soft cheese, we suggest consuming it fresh.
Soft cheese has a high water content responsible for its creamy texture. The crumbly nature of queso fresco makes it an excellent addition to food. Besides, its creaminess remains intact because it is crumbly.
So, if you freeze queso fresco, it can lose its texture and change its consistency considerably. Once cut, ice crystals will form in the cheese, making it sloshy when defrosting. In addition, it will lose its crumbly nature. However, the taste is not affected. You can still use it for cooking, but dealing with the water present in the cheese can be problematic.
The cheese develops a grainy texture that does not change even after cooking. So, eating granular cheese can make you unwell, especially if you have not defrosted it properly. Therefore, defrosting the cheese entire is critical.
Despite all the drawbacks, here is how you freeze queso fresco.
How Do You Freeze Queso Fresco?
Freezing queso fresco is challenging, but you can take suitable precautions and freeze the cheese.
- We never recommend freezing an entire block of queso fresco, especially if you cannot consume it in a single session. It is always better to select the portions you wish to consume. Also, please check the queso fresco cheese for visible signs of mold or changes to its flavor before starting to freeze it.
- We suggest wrapping the queso fresco cheese in its original packaging. If the original packaging is unavailable, you can choose a plastic cling film or aluminum foil. However, please ensure to pack the cheese tightly. Pop the wrapped cheese into a freezer-safe ziplock bag and seal it correctly after expelling excess air.
- Ideally, you should freeze the queso fresco at -9 degrees Fahrenheit. So, you might have to alter the freezer temperature. Otherwise, we suggest placing the queso fresco cheese packet deep inside the freezer, where it is the coldest. It reduces ice crystal formation.
- It would be excellent if you had a quick freeze option in the appliance. We suggest noting the freezing date to make it convenient for later consumption.
How Long Can You Freeze Queso Fresco?
Hard cheese can remain for six to nine months frozen in the freezer. But, soft cheese like queso fresco should be consumed much earlier. While queso fresco can stay fresh for two months without refrigerating or freezing, it can remain frozen for three months. However, we recommend consuming it before three months to salvage whatever you can of the queso fresco.
Unopened queso fresco lasts the longest in the freezer because it is vacuum-sealed to remove as much air as possible. In addition, vacuum sealing prevents bacterial contamination that can spoil the cheese.
How Long Can You Use Queso Fresco After Opening The Packaging?
Queso fresco is a moist cheese, but it dries quickly when exposed to air and becomes crumbly. So, keeping it wrapped well after opening the packaging is crucial. However, the cheese can remain fit for consumption for two weeks if you take the necessary precautions.
How Do You Defrost Queso Fresco?
The only way to defrost queso fresco is in the refrigerator. Please transfer the frozen queso fresco from the freezer to the fridge overnight, still in its packaging. The cheese should take around eight hours to defrost thoroughly. We advise not to consume the queso fresco until it has thawed entirely.
However, the thawed queso fresco will be watery because of the melting of the ice crystals formed during the freezing. This excess water can make the cheese grainy. Therefore, we advise discarding the excess water from the cheese because it can change the recipe’s taste.
Please ensure to keep the defrosted queso fresco inside the refrigerator and consume it within a few days.
Can You Refreeze Queso Fresco?
We do not recommend refreezing queso fresco. It has been a challenge to freeze it once. Repeating the procedure can result in irreversible changes to its texture, flavor, and taste. Therefore, we recommended freezing the queso fresco in small consumable quantities rather than the entire cheese block.
Can You Freeze Homemade Queso Fresco?
Yes. You can freeze homemade queso fresco the way we have described here. Please note that homemade queso fresco does not last as long as store-bought cheese. Nevertheless, you can freeze it for a couple of months. The process is the same. Please ensure to defrost the cheese thoroughly before consuming it.
Secondly, discard the excess water formed after defrosting. One way to do it is to filter out the water initially. Then wrap the cheese in a white cloth and leave it on the kitchen counter over the sink. The material absorbs excess moisture from the defrosted cheese. It will be ready for consumption within a few hours.
Is Queso Fresco Similar To Paneer Used In India?
Queso fresco is similar to paneer in various ways. But, you can slice paneer and fry it because it is more solid than queso fresco. Queso fresco is crumblier than paneer and is ideal for use as salad or pizza toppings without shredding it. Taste-wise, they are similar.
Can You Freeze Leftover Queso Fresco?
Check the leftovers for signs of spoilage. You can refrigerate or freeze it if the cheese has not spoilt. Otherwise, we advise discarding the portions because consuming spoilt cheese can make you sick.
Queso fresco is a delicious cheese that tastes best when consumed fresh. Therefore, we do not recommend freezing it. But, if the situation warrants freezing it, you can do so, provided you take the precautions discussed here. So, can you freeze queso fresco? The answer is a YES and a NO simultaneously. It depends on the individual requirements and circumstances.