Saturday, June 25, 2011

Waxing Cheese & Shelf-Stable Eggs!!

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I have been attending food storage classes at Honeyville Grain and I have been learning some great tips on extending the life of refrigerated items.  Did you know you can keep cheese and eggs on a shelf in your storage room?  It sounds crazy, but it works!!  Think of what farmers used to do with their cheese, milk, and eggs.  They didn't have refrigeration and waxing was a common practice.  So clear your head of all preconceived ideas about storing eggs and cheese and try it!  {I just want to mention that these ideas and suggestions are just that...ideas from the instructors and you can find what works for you.  This isn't endorsed by Honeyville and is the opinion of the instructor}

CHEESE
If you purchase the Tillamook brand of cheese, it is already vacuum sealed and you can place it in a cool, dark place and it will last for months.  Keep in mind that it will get sharper with age so start out with a medium cheese.   A good tip is to place the cheese in an old baby wipe container, or other Tupperware container, so rodents and other pests don't find your cheese.

Click HERE to see how I tried keeping cheese on my storage room shelf.  It did work!


Another way to preserve your cheese is to wax it.  If you have ever eaten Babybel cheese it is already waxed and can actually be stored on a shelf and not in the fridge.  The American way is to have our cheese in the fridge and so the Babybel company has the stores place the cheese in the fridge so we will buy it.  In Europe it is sold as a shelf-stable item. Here are the instructions to waxing your own cheese. (from Afton & Jenee)  Only use hard cheese,  not mozzarella, if you are going to wax it!!

Cheese Dipped For Long-Term Storage
-Use Mild, HARD cheese as the flavor sharpens with time-
  1. Divide 5lb loaf of cheese into portions your family will eat in ONE day! Make sure the cheese is dry before dipping.
  2. To melt cheese wax, you will be using the double-boiler method.  Place water in tall stock pot, filling a little over half way.  Wash an empty #10 can, remove the label and place can in pot of boiling water.
  3. Put a chunk of cheese wax in #10 can and let melt completely.
  4. Take cheese sections and arrange the sections in a pattern on a cookie sheet.  This is to help you remember when you are in the dipping process.
  5. Take one piece of cheese and dip it into the cheese wax.  It will cover about half of the cheese. Place on cookie sheet. Repeat with all your pieces of cheese.
  6. After all of the first dips are done you will need to dip each piece again but start with the opposite sides of the first dips.
  7. Now you will need to dip each of the sides and the middle of each piece of cheese.  All parts of the cheese should be covered by now.  
  8. Do the previous steps of dipping again, repeating TWO more times.  
  9. Once the sections are dipped THREE times, store in a cool, dry place for 8-10 years.  Place cheese in a bucket with lid for best storage life. (I think if you left it on the shelf for more than 6 months you may not be able to eat it because it would be too sharp.  Check out what this blogger said about her cheese that was on the shelf for over 1 year!)
If you open your waxed cheese you can use some of the cheese and then re-wax the cheese.  If you don't want to re-wax, the cheese must be kept in the fridge. To purchase cheese waxing materials click HERE.

If you don't have chickens there is a way to have whole, real eggs for an omelet or fried egg.  Storing eggs on a shelf in your storage room is easy.
  1. Rub each egg with a little mineral oil. (found in the pharmacy area of the grocery store)
  2. Place back in the carton with the narrow tip of the egg down. (if you are using a cardboard carton place a sheet of plastic wrap down first so the oil doesn't seep through)
  3. Place the carton in a cool,dark spot and you will have eggs for 7-12 months.  
You won't be able to whip the egg whites, but you can have fried eggs.  Boiled eggs maybe really hard to peel, but you could try it!

These are just a few of the really great tips that I am learning at Honeyville.

Click HERE to review the goals for June.

10 comments:

  1. A note about dipping cheese in cheese wax. I used my solar oven to melt my saved wax in a wide mouth pint jar. So easy my hubby took over and dipped all the cheese. Just monitor the wax on a sunny day, when it is runny enough, dip. No double boiler, no stove, no danger of fire in the house, you will need a pot holder as the wax gets hot. (Cool dipped cheese on foil, and re-dip for a thick coat.) K

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  2. Cool!! Great tip!! I love my Sun Oven and I keep finding new ways to use it!! Thanks for the info!!

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  3. Can you keep the Tillamook and Babybel cheeses as long as the home waxed chesses (8 to 10 years)? Or what length of time did they recommend?

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    1. I kept my Tillamook for about 7 months and it was so sharp we could barely eat it raw. I used it for casseroles and soups. I don't think either kind of cheese would last more than a year. Definitely go with the waxing for longer term storage. But even the waxed cheese ages and will get really sharp.

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  4. Do you have to have farm eggs or can you use the one from the store?

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    1. Either type of egg will work. The farm eggs may still have the protective coating from the chicken that the mineral oil is acting as, but I would still rub oil on farm fresh eggs as well. I have only done it with store bought eggs, so I know it will work with them.

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  5. Does anyone know of any books/websites/etc that have more little tips/tricks/recipes just like these?? I am looking for more ways to make refrigerated foods shelf stable (aside from the obvious of canning/dehydrating/etc) :) Thank you!!! :)

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  6. Actually, you DO NOT want to use store eggs!! You MUST use fresh eggs and preserve them within 24 hours. Also won't be able to use them in baking.

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  7. are you sure the mineral oil doesn't seep into the egg through its pores? farm fresh eggs last in cool storage for about a month as it is. could a different edible oil be used?

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    1. This was the information given to me in the class. I am not sure if other oils will work. Since this post a few years ago I have now purchased Ova Easy egg crystals from Honeyville Grain to use for cooking eggs, and I use egg powder for baking. It is actually much easier than preserving eggs with oil :)

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