I can has a 12-pound block of cheese?
Um… yeah. I was dying for cheese and went just a little nutty. I discovered that Perenzin San Pietro is coated with natural beeswax instead of paraffin (a petroleum product) and that The Pasta Shop near my house carries it. Of course, The Pasta Shop cuts it up into smaller pieces and seals them in plastic wrap. And if I were to ask to have some cut separately for me and put into my container, they would still have to cut and wrap the rest of the wheel in plastic.
So I ordered and bought the whole thing plastic-free.
What I didn’t realize was that Perenzin San Pietro is a hard cheese. Very hard. Like parmesan. It’s hard to cut. It must be grated. A little goes a very long way.
So, how does one keep a 12-pound block of cheese fresh once cut? With olive oil!
Before placing the order, I found these fantastic instructions for keeping cheese fresh without plastic wrap:
1) Rub the cut face of the cheese with olive, canola, or other vegetable oil.
2) Store cheese in the refrigerator. (The article suggests bamboo sushi mats. Since this cheese is covered with wax, I just have it wrapped in a tea towel directly on the refrigerator shelf.)
3) If mold starts to form, it will consume the oil and not the cheese; simply wipe it off, or rinse in tepid water. Dry, rub with fresh oil and store as above. (So far, no mold, and I’ve had this cheese for two months.)
The nice thing about the hardness and sharpness of this cheese is that a little goes a long way. And since eating it requires work (cutting and grating) I am much less likely to mindlessly munch.
Still, I think I’ll look into smaller wheels of waxed, plastic-free cheese next time. Or maybe I’ll share some of this with friends. Live near me in the Bay Area? Want some plastic-free cheese? Let me know. My only requirement is that you bring your own container. Oh, and some $$. This stuff is not cheap. (Like I said, I went just a little nutty.)
To what extremes have you gone to avoid plastic?