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How to cut down your cheese waste this Christmas

BY Emma Young

17th Dec 2022 Christmas

How to cut down your cheese waste this Christmas

Food waste is increasingly becoming a problem at Christmas, and cheese is one of the top culprits. Emma Young (the Cheese Explorer) shares her tips for reducing cheese waste

No one wants to be caught short of ingredients or tasty foodie treats during the festive season, but Christmas food waste is becoming a common problem. From purchasing too many Brussel sprouts to ordering a giant turkey, we can all be guilty of buying more than we need. 

"A 2021 Christmas Which? report revealed that nearly half of us admit we buy too much food at Christmas"

In fact, a 2021 Christmas Which? report revealed that nearly half of us admit we buy too much food at Christmas, with cheese being the top thing we’re mostly likely to buy too much of. 

While we all want to indulge and enjoy our tasty after-dinner cheeseboards, the idea that our cheese leftovers could go in the bin can really dampen our spirts, so here’s my top 5 hacks on how to cut down your cheese waste this Christmas.

Prevention

Keep the cheese in the best condition to start with. This way you will minimise trimmage of dry, old or excessively mouldy cheese. Using the best wrapping materials will help here, with wax paper being the best option. It allows the cheese to breathe slightly without suffocating it in the same way that cling film does. 

Elite Imports Cheeseboard

Elite Imports cheeseboard

If you don’t have wax paper to hand, greaseproof paper also works well. If you are just keeping one style of cheese, a Tupperware container keeps it well. Just make sure you aren’t keeping a blue such as Stilton, Gorgonzola, Montagnolo Affine, or a surface mould ripened cheese in the same container as, say, a Cheddar, as the moulds will jump.

Saving

If your cheese has dried on the surface or you can see surface moulds growing, it does not have to go in the bin! You can trim the cheese down. Either scrape the surface with a paring knife if the damage is minimal, or use a long-bladed knife to cut an inch off the paste to get down to the good stuff. 

"If your cheese has dried on the surface, it does not have to go in the bin!"

The trimmage will avoid wasting a whole block of otherwise perfectly good cheese. If it is just dried out, you can still use it grated or added into a toastie mix.

Transformation

If you know you aren’t going to use all your cheese, think about transforming it. Recipes are the best way of doing this and are a great way of using your leftovers during the “twixmas” period. 

Emma Young, the Cheese Explorer

Emma Young, the Cheese Explorer

Quick blue cheese dips work perfectly with leftover xmas veggies. Recipes like a mac ’n’ cheese, soups, toasties, fondue or even a Cambozola cheese and chocolate pudding are a great way of using up cheese which may not still be at its best. These recipes are very forgiving for cheese which isn’t top notch.

Sharing

If you are sitting on a lot of cheese, why not invite the neighbours or some friends around! It’s an opportunity to meet or hang out with your locals and a very cheap way of doing an easy dinner party. Pair with your leftover fruits and nuts.

Gifting

I’m lucky enough to receive a lot of cheese samples but I can’t eat them all! During the festive period it is easy to get caught up in how excellent cheese is, and end up with a fridge full of excess cheese. 

"There’s nothing more rewarding than giving cheese to a cheese lover! "

I have a group of cheese lover friends who always welcome a cheese care package. If you don’t want your excess cheese, or need to split it to avoid waste, there’s nothing more rewarding than giving cheese to a cheese lover! 

You can give whatever you have but I always like to add an element of surprise, so in addition to a traditional cheese, I’ll always throw something like in an unctuously soft creamy Montagnolo Affine—it even converts those who think they don’t like blues!

Emma is the UK’s top cheese consultant, judge and teacher. She is also ambassador for Elite Imports who are the sole importers of Bavarian soft blue cheeses Cambozola and Montagnolo Affine.

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