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Crystal like substance on vacuum packed cheese.

darwin101

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Hi all,
I cold smoked a few cheap store brand blocks of cheese (8oz) wrapped them in parchment paper and vacuum sealed them. I let the blocks air dry for a day in the refrigerator, then I wrapped and sealed them. The vacuum & seal are still good, but I noticed a crystal like formation on the edges of a couple blocks of the cheese (not all of them). It kinda looks like salt, I guess I should have tasted it. Anyway the cheese is fine, I just scraped off the crystals and used as normal.
I would like to understand what this is, how it happened and how to avoid this in the future. Anyone know what, why and how of this?
Thanks
 

daveomak

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pictures always help...
 

gmc2003

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Did I understand correctly - did you vacuum seal them while still wrapped in parchment paper?

Chris
 

idahopz

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I see that quite often in aged cheeses, even when not smoked. I've never worried about it.
 

hillbillyrkstr

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HAPpens to me as well. Not sure why but I’ve always eaten it. Dozens and dozens of times. Still breathing so it’s all good.

Of course I had the wife try it first and when she didn’t show any ill symptoms I knew it was ok. :)

Scotr
 

SonnyE

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HAPpens to me as well. Not sure why but I’ve always eaten it. Dozens and dozens of times. Still breathing so it’s all good.

Of course I had the wife try it first and when she didn’t show any ill symptoms I knew it was ok. :)

Scotr
Well, I donno Scott....
You did mis-spell your own name. :confused:

Gottcha! ;)
 

SonnyE

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My folks always simply trimmed off anything growing on the outside of cheeses.
Always was good on the inside.
Except for Limburger. Limburger always smelled like a butt. Us kids always called it "Stinky Cheese".
 

bbqbrett

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My folks always simply trimmed off anything growing on the outside of cheeses.
Always was good on the inside.
Except for Limburger. Limburger always smelled like a butt. Us kids always called it "Stinky Cheese".
Yeah Limburger smells nasty and I only had it once. It tasted like what I imagine heavily used sweat socks left in a gym locker for a year would taste like.
 

darwin101

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Yea, the cheese has been ageing for about a year. I woke up above the lawn this morning, so I guess all is well. Glad to see it's not only me finding this and not overly worried about it. Next time I see this I will take a few pictures.
Thanks all!
 
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I found the same thing on a block of cheese before. Due to a severe mold allergy (have to toss anything with even the tiniest spot of mold on it) I looked it up and found that it wasn't mold. It is something called Calcium Lactate Crystals. Completely harmless. The crystals form on perfectly aged cheeses and also on cheeses with loose packaging and also cheeses that have suffered from temperature abuse (i.e. heated and cooled too rapidly). Hope this helps some.
 

yankee2bbq

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I found the same thing on a block of cheese before. Due to a severe mold allergy (have to toss anything with even the tiniest spot of mold on it) I looked it up and found that it wasn't mold. It is something called Calcium Lactate Crystals. Completely harmless. The crystals form on perfectly aged cheeses and also on cheeses with loose packaging and also cheeses that have suffered from temperature abuse (i.e. heated and cooled too rapidly). Hope this helps some.
Good information! Thanks for your research!
 

darwin101

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Joined Jun 16, 2013
I found the same thing on a block of cheese before. Due to a severe mold allergy (have to toss anything with even the tiniest spot of mold on it) I looked it up and found that it wasn't mold. It is something called Calcium Lactate Crystals. Completely harmless. The crystals form on perfectly aged cheeses and also on cheeses with loose packaging and also cheeses that have suffered from temperature abuse (i.e. heated and cooled too rapidly). Hope this helps some.
Thanks Mom of 3. :)
I googled Calcium Lactate crystals and the first link explained it. Now I also understand the occasional crunchy bits in aged Parmesan. (I also could have done a bit more research before asking here!)

https://culturecheesemag.com/cheese-bites/crystals-cheeses-best-friend
;)
 
Last edited:
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You are welcome, darwin101! I actually felt a little giddy that I could actually answer something here... instead of my usual o_O when someone posts a question. LOL
 

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