How Martha Stewart Saves Parmesan Cheese That Was Stored Incorrectly

The rich, tangy flavor of parmesan cheese makes it the perfect final touch for a slew of savory dishes. While this popular topping is dry by nature, an overly dry parmesan will become lackluster in flavor and lose much of its nutty, umami allure over time. That's why it's so important to store your hard cheeses correctly.


If you abandon your parmesan cheese in the fridge without proper storage precautions, chances are it will start to dry out, practically overnight. Luckily this isn't one of the storage mistakes that will completely ruin your food. Martha Stewart has a hack in mind that will save incorrectly-stored parmesan, so not all hope is lost. 


Use this trick for fresh parmesan, the perfect finishing touch for any meal #goodthing #tiptok #lifehacks

♬ original sound – Martha Stewart

As the popular chef shared on TikTok, to revive dry parmesan you'll want to start by grabbing a cheesecloth. Next, soak the cloth in some water and wring it out until it's damp. Now wrap your cheese in the fabric, then, to really prevent excess drying, wrap the cheesecloth-wrapped cheese tightly in a layer of plastic wrap to really seal in all that much-needed moisture. Now stick this in the fridge, and after just one night, you can unwrap the topping to find a perfectly revived Parmigiano Reggiano.


How to properly store Parmesan in the first place

If you want to avoid having to pick up a cheesecloth, it's important to know how to store parmesan right in the first place. The simplest way is to wrap the parmesan tightly in plastic wrap. Covering the cheese loosely means air will enter the wrapping and it can still slowly dry out. If you don't have plastic wrap on hand, an airtight glass or plastic container can work just as well. Some people even prefer this method, arguing that you shouldn't wrap cheese in plastic, because the lack of any ventilation can create unwanted humidity. 


Using gloves and kitchen tools and resting the cheese on a clean surface when cooking will go a long way in preventing mold or bacterial growth. You can also keep the parmesan in your crisper drawer for additional protection from humidity and variation in temperature. A block of parmesan stored this way will keep its taste and texture for up to two months as it's properly protected from dry air and gasses emitted by other foods in your fridge.

What happens when you don't store cheese correctly

If you see your block starting to lose its luster due to dryness, it's likely no good for fresh preparations, as this crumbly texture will make it difficult to grate. Luckily, while a dry parmesan might not be the best topping, it still contains a whole lot of flavor and is a great tool in helping add flavor to lackluster soups or red sauces. Simply treat it like a rind, and toss it into your pot and let it simmer with the other ingredients. The warm liquid will extract all the hidden flavor from the parmesan. Then, when it's time to serve, you can remove the cheese, leaving all the benefits of its umami flavor without its chalky, dried texture.


If your hard cheese is really past its prime, mold growth is common, as are off-putting smells of sourness. Cheeses of this stage should really just hit the bin.