Easy Mold Retardant

A secret trick to delay mold formation in cheese using vinegar.

| February/March 2001

Because my partner and I have started eating less meat, we find ourselves eating more cheese. We try to buy the cheeses in bulk or blocks because it's less expensive, but we found it would often develop mold long before we could eat it. To resolve that problem, we wrapped the cheeses in-what else? — cheesecloth. But here's the secret trick: we wet the whole bundle down on all sides with plain white vinegar and keep the moistened bundles in a plastic Ziploc in the fridge. As long as the cheesecloth is kept damp with vinegar, we have found that mold takes much longer to form. I keep all of my cheeses in one or two bags and remoisten them with vinegar as needed. You can also cut the labels from the packages and rubber-band them to the individual chunks. This step isn't necessary, but it saves you from having to unwrap each bundle to distinguish cheddar from colby! Furthermore, the cheesecloth is very inexpensive and reusable, just wash with hot soapy water and hang to dry. When it becomes threadbare, use it to tie up your tomato plants or toss it in the compost. Good of cheesecloth, who woulda thought?

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