Is there white stuff on your cheddar cheese? If so, you may be wondering if it’s mold. The answer is — it depends.
There are different types of white spots that can form on cheddar cheese, and some of them are harmless while others are not.
In this blog post, we will discuss what the different types of white spots mean for your cheese, and whether or not it is safe to eat them.
What do white spots on cheddar cheese mean?
If you see white spots or streaks (sometimes smears) on your cheddar cheese, it is known as the cheese crystals. Read mold vs cheese crystals.
There are other amino acids crystals as well, but the majority are calcium lactate. These crystals are formed from calcium ions binding to the lactate ions naturally, and they are perfectly safe to eat.
Depending on the aging condition and environment, some cheddar block or pre-shredded cheddar will have them, while others do not.
In fact, some people believe that these crystals actually improve the flavor of the cheese. These crunchy bits actually taste mild, lower salty, and slightly bitter (1).
While it may not improve the taste or visual of the cheese, it is indicating that the cheese has been aged for a long period of time. The longer the cheese is aged, the more likely it is to form these crystals. Similar to the white spots on Parmesan.
That’s to say, don’t throw away your extra sharp cheddar!
But, if you are not sure or don’t find them appetizing or appealing for your guest, you can certainly remove them before serving the cheese.
Just use a knife to scrape off some of the surface smears. Or get yourself the less aged, younger mild cheddar.
How to tell if it’s mold?
Sometimes, it can be quite confusing. They might not look like tiny salt bits, but kind of spread out and fuzzy patches — In this case, it might be mold. It will look something like bread mold.
Mold is a type of fungus that can grow on food, and it can come in different colors like white, blue, green, or black.
Give it a good slice, they usually grow only on the surface but are absent in the interior of the cheese.
If you see blue or green spots on your cheddar cheese, it is most likely mold.
Never confuse about the cheese mold added on purpose, such as the Penicillium roqueforti. A particular variety of cheddar called blue cheddar use this mold, it will have blue veins like gorgonzola.
Read Cheddar vs Gorgonzola.
If you see mold on your cheddar cheese, it is not safe to eat. But you can salvage the rest of the cheese by cutting off at least one inch around the moldy part.
If you are not comfortable with this, you can always throw it away.
This will not work for soft cheese like cream cheese — Can cream cheese go bad? discussed.
Mold on cheddar cheese usually happens when the cheese is not stored properly, or if it’s past its expiration date.
To prevent mold from growing on your cheddar cheese, read this article.