Maybe there was an offer in your local supermarket, and you’ve bought far more string cheese than you actually need.
Or, someone in your household that previously loved string cheese has now gone off it, and you’re not sure what to do with all the surplus string cheese. You probably don’t fancy trying to eat it all yourself before it goes off.
Maybe you bought just enough string cheese, but you need them to last another week, and you’re wondering if you can make them last if you freeze them.
Cheese sticks, string cheese, and mozzarella sticks are the same product, and they do just fine in the freezer, although results can vary between brands and types of cheese.
If you want to know the best way to freeze them, how to defrost them, and how long they’ll last normally, continue reading to find out.
The Shelf Life Of String Cheese
If you haven’t opened the string cheese, this dairy snack will easily last a week longer after the best before date, as long as you’ve kept it in the fridge all the time, and the fridge remains at a constant temperature.
If you need to extend the shelf life of a cheese stick, the best way of doing so is by freezing it.
In the freezer, string cheese can last up to 8 months before it starts to deteriorate, but you are better off using it within a few months to preserve its flavor and texture.
You can freeze it for longer than 8 months if the temperature is kept constant, but there’s no guarantee that the consistency or the taste won’t be affected.
Can You Freeze Cheese Sticks?
Because there are so many manufacturers of string cheese, and each recipe will vary, so will the results when you freeze and thaw the cheese sticks.
It will be perfectly fine to eat, but you may notice subtle differences in taste or texture when it comes to different brands or types of cheese sticks.
How well cheese freezes depends on its water content (see also Freezing Cheese Fondue). Largely, all soft cheeses have a much higher moisture content, which means that they generally freeze terribly, and you’ll notice some separation when it thaws.
At least with string cheese, it’s usually made out of harder cheese, making it easier to freeze.
So when it comes to freezing cheese, stick to the hard cheese, like parmesan, cheddar, or mozzarella sticks, or the more processed cheese, such as American cheese (see also Can You Freeze Velveeta Cheese?).
If you’re unsure whether the particular cheese sticks you have will freeze well or not, the good news is that you can freeze one and try it for yourself without losing anything.
If it doesn’t freeze well, you haven’t lost a whole load of cheese, but chances are that you’ll find that it’s absolutely fine once thawed.
Can You Tell The Difference Between Thawed String Cheese And Fresh Ones?
In most cases, you won’t be able to tell the difference between fresh string cheese, and string cheese that has been frozen and thawed.
The texture is nearly unchanged, it certainly looks the part, and it will taste the same.
Rarely, but possibly, the cheese sticks can lose some moisture during the freezing and thawing process. In which case, the cheese becomes crumbly, brittle, and much drier overall.
If this happens, switch to a different brand, and see how well their cheese sticks survive the freezer instead. You’ll find one that will suit you fairly quickly.
If you’re someone who likes to strip the cheese sticks before you eat them, it’s worth knowing that the thawed sticks are more difficult to peel, but that’s not a dealbreaker when you think of the bigger shelf life.
Does Freezing String Cheese Affect Nutritional Value?
No. as with most food products, freezing string cheese doesn’t affect any of the goodness within, so you’ll be able to save them for a later date if you need to.
Do Cheddar Cheese Sticks Freeze Well?
While most cheese sticks are made from mozzarella, you do get cheddar cheese strings too.
Fortunately, cheddar cheese strings freeze just as well as mozzarella sticks (see also Can You Freeze Shredded Mozzarella Cheese), because cheddar has a similar water content as mozzarella.
How To Freeze Cheese Sticks
If you’ve bought cheese sticks that are individually packaged, this will literally take seconds.
All you need to do is to put the cheese sticks into the freezer.
If you’re worried about not being able to find them, put them all into one freezer bag, so you don’t lose them. It’s also worth labelling the freezer bag to remind yourself when you froze them.
Make Sure To Wrap Them
If the sticks haven’t been wrapped individually, you’ll need to wrap them before you freeze them to prevent freezer burn.
You can use foil, cling film, or a freezer bag.
To save on your covering of choice, you can wrap several sticks in one bag. Place a cheese stick onto the bag, and roll it to cover it, and then add another stick, and repeat. This will also cut down on your kitchen waste.
How To Freeze Cheese Sticks For A Longer Period
If you’re looking to freeze cheese sticks for about 6 months or longer, you should double wrap the sticks in order to stop freezer burn.
The simplest option is to use another freezer bag, adding another layer of protection against the freezing temperatures.
How To Defrost Cheese Sticks
The best way to defrost cheese sticks is to transfer them straight into the fridge. The cheese will lose as little moisture as possible, preventing the sticks from becoming brittle.
The defrosting time will range a little from brand to brand, but it shouldn’t take more than two hours to defrost one stick. If you have them bunched together, they will take longer.
To be safe, you can leave them in the fridge overnight, the night before you need them.
If You’re In A Hurry
If you don’t have a few hours to spare, you can leave them in a bowl of lukewarm water, making sure that the container you froze them in is still sealed.
This will cut down the defrosting time to around 20 minutes, depending on how many sticks you need to defrost.
You can also use the microwave to thaw the cheese sticks, but you could end up cooking them instead, so be careful.
Set the microwave to its lowest setting, and set the timer for about 20 seconds at a time, and cook until completely thawed.
Can You Refreeze Cheese Sticks?
As long as you thaw the cheese sticks in the fridge, you can refreeze them. Thawing food in the fridge is the safest option, and it will also help preserve the original texture of the dish you’re defrosting.
However, refreezing food does have its drawbacks. While it’s safe to eat once defrosted, refreezing cheese sticks does mean a noticeable drop in quality, and it will affect the texture and flavor to some extent.
Generally, refreezing any food product isn’t recommended, as the more you freeze it, the worse the product is when you come to use it.
If you freeze the cheese sticks individually, you can avoid refreezing altogether, as you’ll be able to defrost exactly the amount of cheese you need and no more than that.
While cheese sticks have a long shelf life, there are times when you need it to be longer, otherwise you risk having some food waste, and no one wants that.
Buying cheese sticks when they are on offer and freezing them can save you a lot of money.
Because they are very easy to defrost, and there’s hardly a difference between thawed cheese sticks and the fresh kind, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t freeze them and save them for later.