The Costco Hack That Will Ensure You Don't Waste That Big Block Of Cheese

The number of Costco card holders around the world has steadily grown over the past few years, from around 76.4 million in 2014 to a whopping 111.6 million in 2021, according to Statista. And, there's a good reason for that — with food prices constantly creeping up, buying certain items in bulk can often be a great source of savings.

However, if you live in a smaller household that can't exactly get through a bulk-sized amount of perishable food before it goes bad, you can still take advantage of budget-friendly bulk pricing. All you need to do is utilize one of your kitchen's superstars — your freezer. While not everything freezes well, many foods do, and, surprisingly, cheese is one of them.

Gina Zakaria, who shares money-saving tips on TikTok, posted a quick video that showed how she helps preserve a massive block of cheddar cheese by grating it all and then portioning it into smaller packs — what she refers to as "processing" her own food rather than relying on the grocery store to do so.

While they do sell large packages of pre-shredded cheese that you could similarly portion out without the grating step, Zakaria's method allows you some flexibility. You may want to cut off a smaller block or two to keep in the fridge for use in the near future, for example, while the rest is frozen in shredded portions for future meals.

A few rules of thumb for freezing cheese

Now, while the freezer can be a good way to preserve cheese if you happen to spot a deal on a larger amount than you can use before it spoils, you still want to keep a few things in mind.

First of all, consider the type of cheese you're working with — not all cheese is well-suited to the freezer. Harder cheeses that come in a block, such as cheddar, provolone, or mozzarella, will fare well, while soft cheeses such as brie, ricotta, or goat cheese aren't the best candidates for freezing. If it can be grated, you're more likely to have success with the results of freezing it.

You also want to note what you'll eventually use the cheese for. Freezing the cheese impacts its texture, as ice crystals will form within the cheese which consequently releases water once you defrost it. The reason Zakaria's hack works is because when you're using shredded cheese, you're likely melting it or incorporating it into a dish. Freezing won't affect how cheese melts, and you shouldn't notice the change in texture when it's melted. If you were planning to serve the cheese in slices, though, the quality would likely be lower. So, if you have a cheese board in mind, freezing may not be the best option.

And, don't leave your portioned shredded cheese packs in the freezer forever. Try to use it within two months if possible.