It's been a long time since we've bought a bag of shredded cheese. Back in my single days, that's all I ever used. I'm honestly not even sure I owned a cheese grater!
Now, we buy only block cheese and shred it ourselves.
Here are six reasons why block cheese is better than shredded cheese.
Less Chemicals, Part 1
Shredded cheese is very convenient but in order to make a product that sells, the companies have to make sure that it stays in shredded form. If you shred your own cheese, you'll often note that it will very quickly start to clump together. That's fine if you shred and use, but if this happened while it was sitting on the shelves, nobody would buy it! So, after they shred it, they coat it with chemicals to make sure that it does not clump up.
Less Chemicals, Part 2
Another problem with shredded cheese is that it is quite
susceptible to mold growth. Cheese in any form will start to mold when exposed to air. Block cheese works great because there's no air, but with a bag of shredded cheese, there's just no humanly way possible to get the air out of the bag. So, in order to lengthen the time before it starts going moldy, the companies, you guessed it, add more chemicals. Now of course, they'll tell you that the chemicals are perfectly safe, but why take the risk if you don't have to?
Shredded cheese is difficult to melt
If you're using shredded cheese in a recipe that calls for nice, gooey cheese, chances are you'll be disappointed with shredded cheese. I'm guessing that the chemicals are doing what they're designed to do, but it makes for terrible melting. Block cheese that you shred yourself, however, melts just fine.
Shredding cheese is easy
It's really not that hard to shred cheese. Grab a grater, open a block of cheese and away you go. I do most of the shredding in our house, and an 8 ounce block doesn't take but a couple of minutes. If you rinse off the grater right after you're done, cleanup is a cinch.
I'm the go-to guy in our house when it comes to shredding cheese. I actually like it, but my little secret is that I like doing it because when I'm done, I grab a pinch of freshly shredded cheese and enjoy it! Few things top that.
Block cheese is often cheaper
Depending on the cheese and the store, we'll often find that you get an ounce or two less of pre-shredded cheese compared to what you get in for a package in block form, yet the price is the same. To me, it's worth getting the most cheese for my buck for the simple task of shredding it.
3 Other Things To Know About Shredding Cheese
The items above are full of some good information, but here are a few other things to know:
- Block cheese keeps well. If you only need 4 ounces, there's no need to shred a whole block. Simply cut off what you need and shred that, wrap the rest up, and put it back in the fridge. The part you don't shred will stay good longer.
- Block cheese freezes. If you freeze cheese, it will usually be just fine. I had no idea. You want to avoid freezing creamy cheeses, but most others are OK. This is actually useful information, as we've generally shied away from buying larger bricks at Costco or when they're on sale at the grocery store, for fear that we wouldn't be able to use all of the cheese once opened.
- Mold on block cheese isn't the end world – If you get a little mold growth on the end of an open container of block cheese, you can simply cut it off and use the rest. On shredded cheese, once you get mold started, chances are it exists through your entire package and needs to be discarded. Waste less with block cheese.
Readers, for your cheese needs, are you a shred or block household? What importance does convenience play?