Is It Safe To Eat A Pecorino Romano Cheese Rind?

Pecorino Romano is a salty, flavorful cheese that's made with Italian sheep's milk, deriving its name from the Italian word pecorino, meaning "sheep," according to The Spruce Eats. It's a harder cheese that has a salty, strong flavor that makes it a perfect topping for pasta dishes or a delicious addition to a charcuterie board

One of its other most notable features is its rind. Pecorino Romano has a hard, dry material on the outside of the cheese, known as the rind, which is often disposed of before the cheese is eaten. According to My Recipes, the tough rind is formed naturally during the aging process, as the cheese is exposed to air. Pecorino Romano is made by allowing the cheese to age for a set period of time in a temperature and humidity controlled environment, which gives the cheese its distinct, pungent flavor and allows time for a hardened, dried exterior to form around the cheese.

Pecorino Romano's rind is completely safe to eat

However, it turns out the rind of Pecorino Romano cheese isn't just garbage. As long as there's no added wax or paper attached to the rind, it's not only completely safe to eat, it's actually good for you. "The cultures are good for your gut health and they aren't going to hurt you," Tom Bivins, the executive director of the Vermont Cheese Council, told Food & Wine. "No cheesemaker would put anything on the cheese that would be harmful."

Because many find the rind's hard texture unappetizing, a more popular alternative is to save the rinds for use in soups and stews, which will absorb the salty, nutty taste, according to The Spruce Eats. It's the perfect way to enjoy all the benefits and savory flavor of Pecorino Romano's rind, but without having to worry about the unpleasant texture. So the next time you're peeling the wrapper off of a package of Pecorino Romano, don't be so quick to throw the rind in the trash along with the plastic. With just a little effort, the rind can also be a great, flavor-boosting ingredient in all kinds of meals.