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SctDad

Cheeses and Backpacking

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I have been looking at some of the backpacking meals that are out there and some of the ingredients that they recommend to take with you.

 

One of the things that I have a question about is the cheese. What kind of cheese can you take that when packaged in tight wrapping and stored out of direct sunlight, can you take without it spoiling.

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I recomend Laughing Cow, Hillshire Farms, or most any single serve cheese packed in wax. These should last some time without refrigeration. Also, parmesan cheese is available in "shelf stable" packaging, like you get at Pizza Hut.

 

Another option is dehydrated cheese powder (like found in mac-n-cheese boxes). Package the powder with the appropriate amount of milk powder and just add water. You can purchase it here:

http://www.packitgourmet.com/Cheese-Sauce-Powder-p315.html

 

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Ditto on the waxed cheeses, like the mini-goudas. Costco has the best price on these and they last quite a while. For longer trips, I tend to lean towards low moisture/dry cheese for the days late in the week, like a dry monterey jack or a parmesan, etc...

 

 

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Generally, the harder a cheese is at refrigerated tempratures, the better it will do without refrigeration. Cheddar, especially if it comes in the wax coating seems to work really well. Smoked cheddar, if you can find it, has been my favorite. Gouda, if everone likes it is good too.

 

Here's a good discussion of the topic:

 

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=7003

(This message has been edited by the blancmange)

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How long is the backpacking trip and what will you be doing with the cheese?

 

I've found that a good cheddar or swiss will hold up a day or two unless it's a particularly hot week/end. A hard cheese, like a parmesan or a romano will last longer. Stay away from softer cheeses - the harder the cheese, the more rugged it will be. Swiss and Cheddar are considered a soft cheese but many at the harder end of soft and are about as soft as you want to get. Check out some of the Irish cheddars, they can be a harder cheddar than others. Stay away from the mass brands - they tend to be on the softer end of the scale. You should be ok with blue cheese crumbles for about a day. Cheese is best served after it's been out of the fridge a while anyway - the flavor is better.

 

Now for the unfortunate rub when it comes to the recipes. If the recipe calls for you to grate the cheese, the only ones that will hold up well enough to grate after a day or two on the trail are the hard cheeses. For a cheddar or a swiss, it's best to grate them right out of the fridge - when they warm up to serving temperature, they just don't grate well. Pre-grating the cheese, unless it's a stabilized product as Buffalo has mentioned, rarely works because by the time you pull it from your pack, it will have congealed into a glob. But we're Boy Scouts - we can figure out alternatives.

 

 

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Depends. On the type of cheese, how old it is already, how it is wrapped, the ambient temperature, and how tolerant you are to ugly food.

Remember, basically, all cheese is spoiled milk. Blue Cheese is purposely left moldy (but not my favorite!). Camambert and Stilton is made moldy, too. (tasty, but not for camping).

Hard cheeses will keep longer, in all conditions, soft cheeses will spoil quicker. Cream cheese should be kept cold. Chedder and Winsleydale can keep at room temp for some days. In general, air tight, close to the cheese packaging is desired for carrying and storage.But in a backpack, the temp may be too much, melting the cheese prematurely. Therefore, mke sure your storage is water tight, too.. Dry, hard cheese is to be preferred, Parmesan, Asiago,

If your extra sharp chedder has some green stuff on it, carefully cut an 1/8" or 1/4" layer off, and the inner cheese should be fine. Cut carefully, wipe the knife clean to avoid contaminating "clean" cheese. Trust your nose.

see http://www.trails.com/list_3499_food-list-camping.html for some good suggestions.

When Wallace and Grommit's Curse of the Were-Rabbit came out, sales of Winsleydale climbed 23%.

Bon appetit...

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"CHEESE GROMIT!"

 

Sorry I had to do it. If memory serves Wallace and Gromit saved

the Winsleydale cheesemakers from going bankrupt. Good stuff as dad-in-law got some for his birthday (with Wallace and Gromit on the label) and shared some.

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Thanks for the info. I have found an Irish cheddar called Dubliner Cheese. Hard cheese stored in wax paper. I thought that would be a good cheese. Tastes good too. By what you are saying this will be a good example.

 

Keep the suggestions coming.

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A staple food for the first several days of backpacking trips was ham 'n cheese sandwiches. I must have made a dozen, heating the cheese under a broiler flame until it melted and glued the sandwich together.

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Yah, how quickly we forget, eh? Cheese was how we humans preserved dairy products in da millennia before we had electric refrigeration.

 

Most cheeses will hold up for da entire length of a long backpacking trip even in hot weather. Two or more weeks. Problem is just that soft cheeses get too soft and tend to separate, so if da weather is hot, you're best off with harder cheeses (cheddar not Brie, eh?). A bit of mold can occur in hot humid climates, but yeh just cut that off and eat the rest.

 

So the answer to SctDad is "any cheese you want". Especially for just a week long trek or weekend.

 

Beavah's

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I think that all of the "Squeeze Cheese" has been sold to the US military for the MRE meals. Must have been purchased on the same order as Charms.

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Please don't eat the mold. Unless it's a mold specifically used for the manufacturing process, it's not good for you. Mold isn't used in making Cheddar cheese - if you have mold on Cheddar cheese, cut the mold away and discard that bit.

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