Parmesan cheese is a delicious addition to any Italian dish, but what do you do with the rind?
This often-overlooked part of the cheese can be used in a variety of recipes, or even eaten on its own.
In this blog post, we will discuss what Parmesan rind is, how to get it, and what you can do with it.
What Is Parmesan Rind?
Parmesan is a hard cheese that aged for a minimum of 12 months. It will develop a thick natural rind on the outside, where the rind is exposed to a controlled environment during the year-long aging process. Therefore, It will slowly become darker, harder, and less moist than the inside of the parmesan cheese.
Depending on the age, the parmesan rind or “crust” itself is as flavorful, but the texture can be rubbery, chewy, and often much harder.
Parmesan rind is not brine-washed like brie and camembert, but the cheesemakers will regularly clean and turn the cheese on the wooden shelves.
You may also find them fire-branded or dot-imprinted – signifying the Parmigiano Reggiano.
The parmesan rind is not waxed or with additives. It is made of the same ingredients as the cheese itself, therefore is edible on its own but not nice to eat because it is tough and thick. It doesn’t grate well too.
More often, the rind is a great way to add flavor to soups or stews.
How Do You Get Parmesan Rind?
If you have a wedge of parmesan cheese, you can simply remove the rind with a knife. If you are using pre-grated or shredded cheese, the rind will likely be removed already.
The easiest way to get Parmesan rind is to purchase a block of Parmesan cheese that has a rind on it like this one on Amazon. You can also ask your local cheese shop for a piece of Parmesan rind, usually at a reduced price.
Grocery stores will sell it near the cheese section or in the produce department.
What Can You Do With Parmesan Rind?
Parmesan rinds are often discarded, but they can be saved and used in a variety of recipes.
Also, Parmesan rind does not melt, it is harder and has lower moisture than the cheese itself. Read Why Parmesan Doesn’t Melt Well?
Therefore, there are a few things that you can do with Parmesan rind:
- Add it to soup or stew for extra flavor. The rind will add a salty, cheesy flavor to the dish.
- Put it in a pot of pasta sauce or braised vegetables to infuse flavor.
- Make Parmesan broth – simmer rinds in water for 1-2 hours with white wine, olive oil, garlic, and herbs, then strain. This broth can be used in recipes or as a base for risotto.
- Broil it – Toast it like marshmallows over the stove flame or broiler for a quick snack. It will be slightly softened, dark brown to almost burnt, and chewy.
- Make parmesan-infused olive oil
Parmesan rind can be used more than once, or until you’ve hit the rind edge.
What Can You Use Instead of Parmesan Rind?
If you don’t have Parmesan rind on hand or don’t want to use it, you can use the rind of Grana Padano. It is a cheese quite similar to Parmigiano Reggiano with less strict regulations. Romano rind is a very good substitute too but stronger flavor, some may have waxed or paper, make sure to peel it off.
Also, you can use parmesan instead of Parmesan rind.
If you don’t have a rind, you can use the cheese itself but choose the older-aged parmesan, i.e 24 months or above. It will not be a perfect replacement, but it will work in a pinch. For example, if tossed in the soup, it melts slightly better and faster than the rind.
Along that line, grated parmesan will work too, as it will likely be dissolved into the soup resulting in a similar taste.
Can You Put Parmesan Rind In Bolognese?
Absolutely, you can put Parmesan rind in Bolognese or classic red sauce to give extra depth of flavor. It doesn’t melt (may shrink) into the sauce, so don’t worry about eating it.
How Thick Is The Rind On Parmesan Cheese?
The rind thickness likely depends on the age and production method for different parmesan brands. The rind on Parmesan cheese is usually around ¼ inch or more and darker in brown. So technically you “finish” using the cheese when you’ve hit the rind.
Can Dogs Eat Parmesan Cheese Rind?
Yes, dogs can eat Parmesan cheese rind but it’s not recommended because of the high salt content and hardness. If your pup does consume it, there likely won’t be any serious harm done but monitor for adverse effects such as excessive thirst or vomiting.
How Many Calories Are In Parmesan Cheese Rind?
There are about the same calories as in a Parmesan cheese – about 110 calories per 1 oz serving. But since it’s drier and more compact, it could be slightly higher.
Can You Freeze Parmesan Rinds?
Yes, you can freeze Parmesan rinds. In fact, it freezes better than the parmesan itself due to lower moisture – But still, they tend to change in taste and texture once thawed. The rinds can be frozen for six months or longer. Read how to freeze parmesan.
How Long Do Parmesan Rinds Last In The Fridge?
Parmesan rinds will last in the fridge for about six to eight weeks. It can go bad before that point, but you’ll start to see mold and other signs of spoilage. If packaged well, It can be left out at room temperature for a few days.