How to select and store cheese

gfws-cheese

Dairy Australia says to remember the three R’s when selecting Australian cheese.

“When a cheese is Ripe and at Room temperature, it’s Ready to serve.”

They also make the following recommendations for selecting cheese:

  • Where possible, always taste the cheese prior to purchasing
  • Choose one or two perfectly ripened cheeses, rather than a collection of mediocre cheese to feature on a cheese platter
  • If possible, buy cheese freshly cut from a larger wheel or piece.
  • Choose cheese close to use-by date. Cheese is often reduce in price close to the use-by date for a quick sale. This is great for consumers as cheese is often ripe and at its best by then.

Storing cheese

It is best to store cheese wrapped in its original wrapper. Otherwise use waxed paper or loose cling wrap to allow the cheese to breathe.

Avoid using foil for wrapping blue cheese as it will react with the cheese. Instead store blue mould and washed rind cheeses in a covered container to reduce odours in the refrigerator.

Avoid stacking cheeses with rinds on top of each other as this hinders the maturation process.

List of the best storing and preserving methods for fruit and vegetables

silverbeet-parents

Different produce responds to different treatments – and some things just need to be eaten.

The list below gives a summary of which fruit and vegetables store and preserve well. It may also help in planing your edible gardening year.

Stores well:

  • apples, pears (not early variety)
  • beetroot, cabbage, carrot, garlic, kohlrabi, onion, parsnip, potato, pumpkin, swede, turnip

Good for bottling:

  • all fruits
  • tomato

Makes delightful things:

  • all fruits
  • aubergine, cabbage, cauliflower, courgette, cucumber, onion, tomato

Can be dried:

  • apples, damsons, plums
  • beans, peas, tomato

Freezes well:

  • berry fruits, apples and pears (if pureed)
  • broad beans, broccoli, calabrese, French beans, peas, runner beans

Lasts well on the plant or in the ground:

  • rhubarb
  • artichoke (Jerusalem), beetroot, broccoli (sprouting), Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celeraic, celery, chard, chicory, kale, leeks, lettuce and salads, parsnip, swede, turnip

Eat when ready: few or no good storage preservation options

  • artichoke (globe), asparagus, cardoon, radish, sweetcorn

21st-Century Smallholder – by Paul Waddington

Hardy vegetables for self-sufficiency and survival

squash-flowers

Isabell Shipard recommends growing hardy vegetables for self-sufficiency and survival. Here are the ones that store well:

  • African cucumber – will store for over 12 months
  • Choko
  • Gourds
  • Pie melon
  • Potato
  • Pumpkin – Australian Ironbark, Baby Blue, Jack Be Little, Jack O’Lantern, Jarrahdale, Marina di Chioggia, Musque de Provence, Queensland Blue, Red Kuri
  • Squash – Blue Hubbard, Golden Hubbard, Green Hubbard

When pumpkin vines die down, pick mature fruit with plenty of stem. Make sure they’re well coloured and the stem has cracked. Cure the fruit for 10 days in the sun outdoors, or on a verandah in poor weather, to harden the skin so that they keep.

Store under cover on straw or shredded paper – in a cool, mouse-proof place.

How can I be prepared with Self-Sufficiency and Survival Foods? – by Isabell Shipard

Storing seeds

Seeds need to be stored in a dark and dry place (ideally 5°C). Jerry Coleby-Williams uses old film canisters to store his seeds. Specimen bottles would work well, but I’m not sure where to buy them. To help keep the moisture out, add some silica gel crystals. (You may know these as the small white “Do Not Eat” bags you find in vitamin bottles).

I have found the best way to store my seeds is alphabetically in an IKEA cd box. If you want to get fancy try the Plant Agenda. Josh Byrne keeps his seed packets in use pinned to a cork board in his potting shed.

If you are storing your seeds for a long time the fridge might be the best place for them. Don’t forget seeds are living and they need to be sown and collected every couple of years.