Dear Home-Ec 101,
I like to shred my own cheese. How do I keep it from clumping while I store it?
Louis the Lump
There’s a simple trick to store shredded cheese without clumping, whether it’s in the refrigerator or freezer. Simply add 1 – 2 tablespoons of corn starch to the freezer bag and shake vigorously to distribute it evenly. If you look at bags of pre-shredded cheese in the supermarket, you will see they have an anti-clumping agent, usually cellulose. Corn starch plays that role for you at home.
Don’t forget, when you shred cheese, you dramatically increase its surface area, which causes it to dry out quickly. Try to remove as much air from the bag as possible before storing it. Be careful. Squashing the bag could yield one giant clump.
If you want to be able to remove your cheese from the freezer without thawing, after shaking it with the corn starch, spread it in a single layer on a sheet pan. Freeze the cheese and then pour it into your zippered storage bag. Alternately, you can freeze it by the quarter, half, or cup full in individual bags and keep those in one large bag, depending on how much cheese you typically use.
Please remember this advice is meant to apply to your garden variety cheddar and Monterey jack style cheeses. Please don’t spend a ton of money on high-end $16 lb cheese and expect it to be just as lovely after spending three months in the freezer.
While we are talking about cellulose… Sawdust is made of cellulose, and cellulose is added to shredded cheese to keep it from clumping. Clickbait sites like not to mention that all plants contain cellulose, and it’s nothing to stress about. Now, when you see articles with scary headlines about supermarket cheese containing “sawdust,” you know the truth behind the headline.
Send your domestic questions to Helpme@Home-Ec101.com.