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By Kellene Bishop

cheese-wax-controversyIt’s interesting what a seemingly innocuous sounding sentence can do.  Apparently the phrase “you can wax your own cheese and store it” is a vile enough claim to cause some to turn on their evil buttons. Oh the controversy. But the problem is that the misinformed cheese wax controversy is causing some to not have their favorite food group in stock in the event of an emergency. No cheese? That’s practically against my religion. I’d rather be hung by my toes and pummeled with an organic carrot than be forced to survive without chocolate and cheese. So, I consider it my duty to share the sound reasons as to why I’m completely comfortable waxing and storing my own cheese.

Sure as shootin’, if you e-mail or question someone at your local extension office or the USDA they will give you the canned statement that the preservation of dairy products without refrigeration is not recommend and may be harmful to your health. However, as in all government and bureaucratic agencies, if you ask enough people, you’ll find conflicting information. The sanctity of storing cheese without refrigeration is no exception. Not only have I found several government and educational entities which agree that hard cheeses do not require refrigeration, but the history books are replete with examples of cheesemakers, restaurateurs, and homemakers doing without the refrigeration of their cheeses long before and after the 1940’s when refrigeration became more widely accepted.

Before union health inspectors swept through the streets of New York City, no self-respecting Italian would ever refrigerate their freshly made mozzarella cheese. In fact, there are still a handful of devout artists who refuse to do so. In spite of today’s advanced technologies, the shop windows in Poland and France are still dotted with a beautiful range of cheeses hanging from the ceiling, tied with cotton string, and snugly wrapped in cheesecloth and wax. Cheese artists will tell you that the masterpiece taste of cheese lies in the aging process, the quality of molds, starters, fermentation, and brining. Refrigeration merely inhibits these agents from developing—without which the taste buds of any cheese aficionado are offended. But alas, mass production has caused the health departments to step in and ensure that no consumer contracts a deadly foodborne illness—specifically botulism poisoning. Yup. Every year the USDA spends hundreds of million of tax dollars so that they can prevent those 160 cases of botulism which occur about every 10 years—103 of them in Alaska, due to the fermented meat eating habits of the Alaska Natives there.   

It’s interesting to note that after a solid week of research on the internet and in the library, I only found one case in which any persons contacted botulism from “cheese.” And in this particular instance (1951) it was actually a commercially canned cheese sauce that was the perpetrator. Yet for some reason, we are still strongly cautioned against waxing cheese and preserving it. Adding insult to injury, (literally) I get to tolerate the ridiculous e-mails from some, accusing me of being some kind of a fascist because I’m advocating that folks wax and store their own cheese. Such accusations are ostensibly based on scientific research. But my research begs the question, “What kind of science is this?” If I tried to use one case in 1951 as the basis of a 6th grade report on “the dangers of waxing your own cheese” I’d surely get an F grade. We’ve had thousands of individuals who’ve been able to reverse their cancer symptoms with vitamin B-12, and yet that’s not considered to be enough scientific evidence to promote such a valuable and non-invasive treatment for our American citizens. So, I’m thinking that one 11-ounce can of tainted commercially processed cheese sauce is certainly not sufficient scientific evidence to say that waxing my own cheese is bad for me—especially in light of the hundreds of thousands of individuals who have joyfully indulged in cheese preserved this way for generations, in all types of weather, all over the world.

Now, making it perfectly clear that I don’t put much stock in something that the USDA says, common sense and an understanding of botulism should cause any cheese waxer to take certain precautions. So I’m going to give you some additional guidelines in order to prevent you from getting sick. (Cowardly useless disclaimer: Wax and consume waxed cheese at your own risk. There. Now my attorney will be happy.)

Only Wax Hard Cheeses:

Fresh Parmesan Cheese on Pasta. Photo c/o foodwinelove.com

Fresh Parmesan Cheese on Pasta. Photo c/o foodwinelove.com

The less moisture you have in your cheeses, the better they are for waxing. The cheese wax controversy is fed by individuals attempting to wax any kind of cheese. But the hard cheeses are the only kind that should be stored this way. The cheeses that I wax are Parmigiano-Reggiano, cheddar, Swiss, Romano, Gruyere, and Colby. In order to eliminate a problem of moisture coming from the inside of your cheese and causing bacteria, select cheeses to wax that aren’t more than 40% moisture. These cheeses will typically continue to age and get sharper in taste, but I think these kinds of cheeses taste better the sharper they get. I LOVE Gruyere on potatoes, Colby paired with chicken, and Swiss paired with pork, Romano paired with risotto, and Parmesan paired with pasta. The sharper the better. Yum. In my extensive research I found several extension services and university instructions which specifically stated that hard cheeses did NOT require refrigeration such as Purdue, Mississippi State University, and the FDA. The key to this being the case is the hardness of the cheese—meaning the lack of moisture. 

I also interviewed 3 professional cheesemakers over this past week. All of them were of the same opinion and experience that they regularly store the hard cheeses waxed for 2 years or more. Even the cheese aging process requires that cheese be stored at cool room temperatures—not refrigeration.

Waxing Considerations:

  • Part of the cheese wax controversy comes with the problem of using the wrong kind of wax. When it comes to the science of waxing your cheese, I can’t say it strongly enough. The only wax you should use is cheese wax. Please do not use paraffin wax. While the cheese wax actually melts at lower temperatures than paraffin, it can ultimately (and safely) reach a higher temperature than paraffin. You want this in order to prevent any bacteria from growing on the outside. So be sure your wax is hot enough. Germs are killed at 180 degrees, so heat up your wax to 200 degrees so that when the temperature is dropped when you put it on the cheese, you still are applying wax that is 180 degrees or more. (Don’t heat the wax hotter than 210 degrees F. After heating my wax sufficiently, I turn off the heat source completely.)
  • Cheese wax is also more pliable than paraffin. Whatever position you put your cheese in when you store it, gravity will come into play and readjust it a bit. Thus you want a wax that will move with it. Paraffin wax will not do that. Cheese wax also dries faster than paraffin, making your task less time consuming and giving less opportunity for moisture to develop during the waxing process. 
  • In view of the gravity issue I’ve already mentioned, it’s also smart to wax smaller sections of cheese instead of heavy ones in which the weight will cause a greater shift in the position of the cheese. (Since most of my recipes call for 1 to 2 cups of shredded cheese, I like to wax nothing bigger than 16 ounces of cheese.)
  • Use food handling gloves on your hands when you wax the cheese. The oils from your hands will affect how the wax adheres to the cheese. With your bare hands it’s also easy to add germs to your cheese.
  • Red Cheese Wax

    Red Cheese Wax

    Next, the color of wax doesn’t matter. (Some crazy visually impaired person must have started that particular cheese wax controversy :)) The color of the wax is really only symbolic to the commercial cheese industry in terms of how long a cheese has aged. However, I prefer to always use the red or the black wax since it will allow less light into the cheese.

  • Prior to putting your cheese in the wax, or brushing it, be sure to pat the cheese completely dry. You don’t want to see any moisture on it at all. This is part of the reason why I’m adamantly against folks freezing their cheese before or after waxing it. If you freeze it and then put hot wax on it, you are forcing an expansion and condensation process. The same happens if you freeze it after waxing it. You don’t want any expansion going on. Let it sit out to get to room temperature prior to waxing it.
  • If you have trouble getting your wax to adhere to the cheese, then consider wrapping the cheese first in real cheesecloth material. I apply just a little bit of wax with the brush in order to keep the cheesecloth in place prior to dipping it. (For applying wax on your cheese, I don’t recommend using cheap cheesecloth from the grocery store. It barely qualifies as cheesecloth. What you want is a bit thicker, more muslin type. I recommend getting the cheesecloth from a dairy farmer, or a cheesemaking supply retailer on the internet.)
  • Use several thin coats of wax instead of a couple of thick ones. I have adapted to dipping my cheese in the wax 3 separate times and then I brush on the last coat, for a total of 4 coats. It’s key to use the boar’s hair brush, because that will give you the most even and smooth coat of wax. You can brush all of your coats of wax on if you’d like, but it takes longer and it requires more wax. (The good news is though that you can reuse your cheese wax. Just peel it, clean it with soap and water, and then you can re-melt it and use it again. I even save my “Bonne Bell” cheese wax and use it.)
  • When you dip the cheese in the wax, hold the piece above the wax for a full 90 seconds to dry after you’ve dipped it; before dipping in another portion of the cheese. If you lay it down to cool/dry, then you run the risk of a crack or crevice to be created while the wax is cooling. So yes, my arms get tired sometimes, but I’d rather be sure that I’ve done the waxing process right. Also, don’t allow the cheese to sit in the wax when you dip it for longer than 5 seconds. You will run the risk of melting the cheese if you expose it to that heat for that long. (Yes, this is a bit of a tricky dance sometimes.)

Storing Considerations:

The whole point of waxing your cheese is so you don’t have to take up valuable refrigeration space, and so you can still have REAL cheese in the event of a prolonged power outage scenario. It’s no secret that cheese has been around a LONG time—a lot longer than refrigeration. I assure you cheese was not discovered during the Ice Age. In the Roman Empire, cheese had become a major import/export business by 400 B.C. It doesn’t take a paleontologist to confirm that there wasn’t any refrigeration available back then. The Dutch actually created waxing and brining (salting) in order to extend the shelf-life of hard cheeses. I always picture Caesar indulging in cheese whenever he got stressed. 🙂 http://www.publichealthmdc.com/environmental/food/documents/cheese.pdf

Nothing much has changed since then when it comes to storing cheese safely. The key lies in the light permeation and the temperature of your cheese. A non-clear wax used on your cheese can take care of the light issue. Storing your cheese out of direct sunlight, away from heat, and in a cool area takes care of the temperature issue. In fact, when cheese is aged by professional cheesemakers, it’s kept in temperatures ranging between 55-70 degrees F. In the Balkans, for instance, where the climate is warmer, the cheese is stored regularly at 70 degrees F. The storing of cheese at these temperatures occurs for several weeks or months during the aging process, depending on the type of cheese being made. If you don’t have a home which permits you to store your cheese regularly at this temperature range, then I don’t recommend that you try this route of cheese preservation.  

Store, Air, and Rotate:

Cheesecloth photo c/o surlatable.com

Cheesecloth photo c/o surlatable.com

Pick the coolest area of your home to store your cheese in. I recommend either putting the cheese in a cheesecloth (the cheap stuff is OK for this purpose) and then hang it on the ceiling, or to place your waxed cheese in a multi-tiered hanging wire basket trio (like the ones people store their fruits/vegetables in their kitchens.) Cheese is made with an active culture. Thus you want it to be able to “breathe.” I don’t have problems with rodents getting into mine this way. But if you do have a rodent problem, I recommend to keep the waxed cheese in large Mason jars with some holes punched on the top lid for breathing. It’s also recommended to change the position of your cheese every 4 weeks. As I said before, cheese will be affected by gravity. So, change the position so that it doesn’t “move” so much that it cracks the wax and to prevent the moisture from settling in your cheese. And as with EVERY other thing that you store in your food storage, be sure to rotate your cheese and use it as well. 

Some good news for you to know, is that if your cheese does start to crack for some reason, you can simply rewax that area. If you see some mold developing, simply cut off the mold, about an inch deeper than you see it, and rewax that area. The good news is that no, you have not ruined an entire block of cheese. 🙂

Wisconsin Cheese photo c/o explorewisconsin.com

Wisconsin Cheese photo c/o explorewisconsin.com

On a final note, I think it’s interesting to note that if you were to go to the grocery aisles in the UK, you would not find your cheese in a refrigerated section. (The same goes for eggs and butter as well.) Believe it or not, here in the U.S. I’ve even found guidelines for retailers from the Public Health Dept. of Wisconsin—a state that definitely knows its cheese in which they share a similar sentiment. In their materials for grocers they specifically say that hard cheeses do NOT require refrigeration when on display. Ironically, my research also benefited from one of the very sources which one of my nemesis referred to when accusing me of the high crimes of cheese waxing. Even the local Utah Valley University Extension offices shared this with me in an e-mail:

A few cheeses based on their dryness, fermentation, and a few other factors are safe to store at room temperature. When these cheeses are stored that way, they can develop mold on the surface. Waxing the surface inhibits that mold.

Naturally, he wouldn’t tell me which cheeses he believed would benefit from waxing. But then again, I doubt he intended to help my research in this case either.

All in all, I hope that sharing some of this research on the cheese wax controversy and more specific tips will help you satisfy your desire for cheese in any circumstance.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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You’ll want to make sure you check in tomorrow for my special edition article on the controversy of cheese waxing. I take on the naysayers and even share with you plenty of government and educational sources which tell you that storing cheese at room temperature IS acceptable!  So stay tuned!

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

food-storage-shelvesHere’s one simple tip so you never have to worry about HOW to cook what’s in your food storage. 

Many folks just plain don’t know how to cook with their food storage.  When I hear this, I ask people why they’re storing foods that are unfamiliar to them or their family?  Sure there are ideal lists which include long lasting grains and legumes, but if you’re not using such ingredients now to feed your family with, it’s not going to be helpful to them in an emergency.

Think for just a moment what kind of chaos a financial collapse, an earthquake, an act of war, or some other kind of disaster could bring into your life.  Do you really want to complicate things by adding more stress into your life by consuming “foreign foods”?  You and your family are going to crave as much “normalcy” as possible.  Unless you’re already serving your family “Boston Baked Wheat” you don’t want to try it out on them while they are being quarantined for 90 days as the result of a flu pandemic.  In fact, it is exactly these kinds of times that you will want to provide the most comforting favorites for your family.  But…yes, there is a but…

Part of being prepared is being ready to live off of foods which are most nourishing and longer lasting than what your diet may currently consist of in your household.  (To this end I implore parents of picky eaters—or spouses of such—to do all they can to get them to embrace more nourishing foods.)  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are great now.  But how will they be when you have to make the bread from scratch?  Will your family even touch them?  Don’t panic.  Just start learning the lost art of bread making now.  I can tell you from experience that it’s a heck of a lot more rewarding than besting someone at an online game of Scrabble.  

Try sprouts on a meat sandwich! Photo c/o scanwiches.com

Try sprouts on a meat sandwich! Photo c/o scanwiches.com

Slowly introduce your family to new things.  For example, my husband, who I can’t get to eat a vegetable unless it’s on a slab of beef, has agreed to try and start putting sprouts on his meat sandwiches.  Why?  Because I am trying to get him used to eating this easy and widely accessible source of nutrition so when we are in the midst of an emergency, he can handle it—not only emotionally, but physically as well.  Being ready to live off those foods doesn’t involve just having the appetite for them.  We need to be prepared to use them and work with them as well.  If you’ve never tried sprouting, don’t think that the sprouter you’ve got in the basement is going to do much for you in a time of crisis.  Using it under such circumstances will only cause you more stress due to its unfamiliarity and you’ll avoid it at all costs. 

You also need to get your body accustomed to eating such foods.  In fact, if most people attempted to go from their existing diet to one containing whole wheat at the majority of their meals, they would actually DIE inside of 30 days due to the dehydration and diarrhea their body would experience in so drastic a dietary change.  This is one reason why I counsel people to store what they eat—at least a 90 day supply—and then work on introducing other, more stable storage foods, into their diet along the way.  Yes, it’s a lot less expensive to store a year’s supply of wheat, legumes, honey, and powdered milk as opposed to the ingredients for your favorite casseroles, Navajo Tacos, and brownie mixes.  But I assure you that those items won’t get used for much of anything if you haven’t already familiarized your family with them prior to a disaster.  So be sure to have at least 90 days of the familiar and then work on familiarizing your family with other foods that will have a great shelf-life in your home.  Remember, stress alters the mind.  It races the heart.  It breaks down the immune system.  If you’re in a quarantine situation, for example, can you really afford to expose anyone in your family to any of these physical stresses simply because you weren’t prepared with a realistic menu for them?  Perhaps now you may better understand why I go to great lengths to learn how to make bread, sprout, store M&Ms, make sour cream out of powdered milk, wax my own cheese, store eggs long-term, and create recipes out of what’s on my shelves, etc.  I do it in anticipation of a situation in which food and nourishment will be a comfort to the mind and the spirit, not just sustain life.  (And yes, there are indeed those times in which M&Ms sustain me. :))

I’ve been asked how I remember where all of my food storage is since it’s scattered all around the house.  I remember because I’m always in it—except when I’m on that blasted diet.  I’m always using what I store.  I’m rotating it.  (In fact I have a Mason jar full—er, half full—of almond M&Ms next to me on my desk as I write this.)  Other than the years supply of MREs we have stored in the back of the basement, there’s not a single nutritional item in my home that is “uncommon” to me.  If you have anything that’s uncommon to you in your food storage, it’s nearly useless.

kuhn-rikon-pressure-cookerPoint being, no one should have trouble cooking with their food storage, because their food storage should contain what they are already consuming and thus what they are already familiar in preparing.  Practice making your food in a Dutch Oven, or in a pressure cooker over a small butane stove, or in a solar oven.  Go to classes to learn how to make the essentials.  They are usually free.  Go through cook books and experiment with “less than fresh” items as substitutes in recipes, such as canned chicken for frozen, canned green beans for fresh, etc.  Find out from your family what their absolute favorite meals are and then find the most efficient way to stock the items for those meals.  We’re not in the dark ages here, folks.  Cooking with your food storage doesn’t have to involve an Indian dance and an archaic tool for grinding your flour.  Even without the luxury of electricity, we still will have the benefit of the luxury of knowledge and technology galore. 

Keep in mind that in a previous article I wrote, I recommended that folks start their food storage by storing their food in “meals” as opposed to “pounds of items.”  In other words, if your family loves waffles, then be sure you have the makings for waffles.  If you have such ingredients sufficient to make them 12 times, then you only have to come up with 29 other meals.  (Or less, depending on how often you want to eat waffles.  I recommend coming up with a great variety for your family though so that they don’t suffer from “appetite fatigue.”)

It all boils down to this: Store what you eat and eat what you store.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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By Kellene Bishop

I hate having to learn dumb lessons.  Don’t you?  As I’ve looked back and realized all the simple tricks and strategies I’ve learned over the last 10 years, I cringe at the thought of all of the money, time, anxiety, and energy I’ve wasted.  So I decided to share them with you.  You’re sure to learn something in this list!  I hope you’ll learn from my mistakes NOW!

  1. Yeast will last indefinitely if stored in your freezer!  Outside the freezer it only lasts a year, but inside that freezing climate it lasts over 5 years—so far.  When I use it in my bread, I just use it directly from the freezer into my bread dough with no problem.  I cringe at the though of all of the yeast I’ve wasted over several years.
  2. clipping couponsI can obtain food storage for FREE or better, and certainly inexpensively, if I just use coupons and an organized system!  Now that’s really something to cringe about!  I acquired a great deal of my food storage over the years from Costco, but now that I can get name brands for free or dirt cheap elsewhere, I figure I can’t afford to shop at Costco, thanks to coupons! It really IS worth using coupons.  I can’t believe I was so pious to think that coupons were “beneath me.”
  3. Cooking with a pressure cooker is a sanity saver.  They are fast, nutritious, fuel friendly and SO easy to use!  I wish I hadn’t been afraid of them way back when.  I’m so grateful that a patient teacher showed me their merits!  
  4. Yes, you can CAN MEATS!  And it’s the easiest thing in the world to can.  Simply stuff the RAW meat into a mason jar with a bit of salt, put the clean lids on it, put the jars in your pressure canner for the recommended period of time, and VOILA!  You have BETTER THAN CANNED meat.  (The canned stuff you buy has been processed twice.)  This meat will be SO tender, so juicy, and will save you a BUNDLE over the canned stuff!  (Let’s see.  Tastes better.  25% cheaper.  Easy to do. Dang!  I wish I could relive the last 10 years!)
  5. cheese-wax-goudaCheese wax is a God-send!  I can have all of the REAL cheese I want if I simply use cheese wax to preserve it!  The cheese will keep for 25 years using this method.  Now I’ve got Swiss, Monterey Jack, Colby, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Cheddar, Gouda, Blue Cheese, and even a delicious smoked cheese literally sitting pretty in my food storage!  If I had known about cheese wax 10 years ago, I would have made much better use of the cheese sales over the years and never tried that nasty processed stuff.
  6. Preserving eggs that I buy from the store is a snap!  After I wrote a lengthy article on egg preservation, I discovered that a quarter cup of warmed mineral oil, coated on my eggs that I buy from the grocery store works great.  I then can store them pointed side down in a Styrofoam carton, in a cool, dry place.  I don’t have to get the eggs FRESH from a farm.  And I don’t have to stack them carefully in anything.  How’s that for easy?!  I have WHOLE, REAL eggs for up to 9 months!  Forget the bran flakes, the paraffin wax, the salt storage.   Just some mineral oil is PERFECT.  WOW!
  7. I never have to live without yummy chocolate again!  I can buy all of the candy bars, Hershey kisses, chocolate chips, peanut M&Ms, Dove chocolates, Lindt chocolates, stuff them in a Mason jar, and with my trusty Food Saver jar attachment, seal their goodness for YEARS!  (I like getting them on sale after a holiday)  This also works for ANYTHING that doesn’t require refrigeration.  When I open the jar years later, they still taste as fresh and yummy as they would have on the day I bought it!  
  8. ONLY store what you eat.  If I don’t eat it, I won’t eat it, and thus it’s a waste of money.  If you can’t eat wheat, DON’T store it.  If you can’t stand the taste of powdered milk, store canned milk or soy milk instead.  Fortunately I’ve learned to prepare all my oddball foods that weren’t previously in my regular diet, but it sure would have saved me some headaches if I had done things differently.  If I store what I eat, the rotation is a cinch!
  9. You can have meals already made, cooked, and stored in a Mason jar!  You can bake bread, cake, cookies, casseroles, pudding, and more, in a Mason jar, seal it, and they will last for SEVERAL years!  That way you don’t have to figure out how to cook up something every day while you’re enduring a crisis.  Do it in comfort now, so you can live in comfort even in the worst of disasters!  
  10.    

     

    solar-oven-kelleneSolar ovens are the bomb–not just in an emergency, but every single day the sun shines!  I LOVE cooking in mine.  I haven’t found anything that I can’t cook in it that doesn’t turn out wonderful!  I’ve essentially tripled the life of the fuel that I have stored, since I won’t need to use any of it on cooking anymore except on cloudy or rainy days!  Not having to worry or pay for a years supply of fuels such as propane, kerosene, fire wood or isopropyl alcohol, makes the price I would pay for a solar oven well worthwhile. So… like any woman, I bought two! 🙂

I’ll be writing more about each of these items later, if I haven’t done so already.  The point is food storage can be GLORIOUSLY DELICIOUS.  You don’t have to do without and it doesn’t have to be expensive and boring either.  One dollar a day, per person, will provide you with absolutely comforting and delightful meals regardless of your challenging circumstances.  Enjoy!

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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cheese-variety2

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Well, at least those of us who are addicted to cheese anyway. 

  • Can you name at least 10 different kinds of cheese that you love?
  • Do you believe that cheese should be its own food group?
  • Are you helpless to abide by your diet unless it involves huge amounts of melted cheese?

Then this article is for you!

 

cheese-fruit-plateSo picture this.  It’s a bona fide emergency survival situation.  You are holed up on your home and living off of the emergency preparedness supplies you stored.  And you’ve got one heck of a hankering for some yummy melted cheese.  But you’re just not in the mood for the Velveeta, that nasty powdered stuff, or the “squirt” kind of cheese.  You want a good solid bite of a yummy Parmesan, or Swiss, or a sharp cheddar.  (I’m making myself drool even as I write this.)  But hey, cheese doesn’t store for a very long time, right?  Well, in this case, I’m happy to tell you that you’re wrong.  And if you’re a true cheese addict, then you’ll be happy to hear that you’re wrong for once, right?

 

cheese-wax-goudaSo here’s the good news.  You CAN have your favorite cheese on hand, even in an emergency, and even though no stores are open and you have no access to electricity.  All you have to do is buy the hard blocks of cheese that you want now in order to have them  stored for up to the next 25 years.  Cheese wax prevents your cheese from developing mold or bacteria and it keeps the moisture in.  Simply use a combination of dipping and brushing with a natural boar’s hair brush to apply the melted cheese wax liberally to your block of cheese, let it harden, and then, VOILA – you’ve got your wish.  Cheese treated with cheese wax will store for up to 25 years at a mild to cool temperature.  Sure, it will continue to age.  But it sure won’t get moldy!  (And even if it does in parts, you can simply cut off that part, and re-wax over it.) Be sure that you select block sizes of cheese that you and your family can easily consume within a 3 to 5 day period in order to avoid it going bad once you’ve cut into it.

 

 

A couple of tips you should know though.

  1. cheeseclothDon’t use paraffin wax.  It tends to crack.  Cheese wax warms slower and heats to a higher temperature and thus plies better to your cheese shapes and sizes.  Cheese wax is also less crumbly and you can use less of it than paraffin. Remember, it’s reusable too!
  2. I have yet to find a hard cheese that I can’t wax.  So long as it’s hard enough to be in a solid block, you can wax it.
  3. You don’t need cheesecloth, but if you desire to use it prior to your wax layers, it may be helpful getting the wax off.  I haven’t had any problems without it though.
  4. It’s best to melt the cheese wax in a double boiler as opposed to direct heat. Any pan you use to melt your cheesewax in will be your designated cheese wax pan. They are impossible to get clean afterwards. So be forewarned.
  5. cheese-wax-double-broilers1The less you handle the cheese with your hands the better. Use food handling gloves.
  6. Dip the cheese in for about 5 seconds, then bring it out and HOLD it there for about 90 seconds. Do 3 layers of dipping and then one layer of brushing.  (Using the natural boar’s hair brush)  The reason why you want to use this kind of brush specifically is because other brushes will apply the cheese wax too thick, or with crevices, etc.  This kind of brush is perfect for cheese waxing.
  7. You don’t need to use food-grade labels for your cheese, however, it’s smart to use a label on the outside of your cheese just prior to the last wax layer.  That way you don’t have to worry about it falling off.  Be sure to label not only the kind of cheese it is, but when it was waxed as well.
  8. cheese-wax-brushDon’t store your waxed cheese in additional containers.  Just stack them on top of like cheeses and let them breathe.  I like to hang them from the ceiling in a “fishing net” kind of contraption.
  9. Be sure to check for pockets or crevices that didn’t get sealed.  Four total thin layers of wax is a good practice.  There’s no need to do more coats than that.
  10. The cheese surface should be clean and dry prior to waxing.
  11. If your 2nd and 3rd coats are applied while the prior coat is still just a bit warm you will get a better adhesion.
  12. Cheese wax can be re-used several times.  You can simply wash it in warm water, let it dry and then re-melt it.  So when you remove cheese wax from your cheeses, you can simply reheat and reapply the wax.  Simply heat the cheese wax to about 200 degrees F.  This will also ensure that you’re not transferring any bacteria or unnecessary moisture to your new cheese–even when you’re putting it on your cheese which is cooler.
  13. You do not need to filter the cheese wax after you melt it.  So don’t worry about that step.
  14. Your first coat will have some unevenness to it.  Don’t worry.  The 2nd and 3rd coat will even it out just fine.
  15. Cheese will respond to gravity. So using cheesewax vs. paraffin is important as it’s more pliable. I periodically turn my cheese in view of the gravitational pull.

cheese-wax-waxCheese wax can be found multiple places online or in your local health food stores.  I also recommend that you use red or black cheesewax as it will prevent more light from getting int. You should also have no problem finding a boar bristle brush either.  

 

Once you get the hang of this cheese waxing stuff you can progress to making your own cheese from powdered milk in any flavor you decide!  Yummy!

 

Enjoy the recipe below!

 

Kristen’s Cheesy Roughin’ It Enchiladas

 

1 can of tomato soup

1 can of cream of chicken soup

1 regular sized can of enchilada sauce

2 cups of canned chicken, drained

About 2 cups of your favorite shredded cheese

 

cheese-enchiladas2Make your sauce by combining the soups and the enchilada sauce.

 

Use enough flour or corn tortillas to line a large baking dish or Dutch oven with your enchiladas (About 12 to 15 depending on how big you stuff them).  Be sure to spray your dish with some cooking spray.

 

Lightly coat the bottom of your tortilla with the sauce.  Then add about 2 tablespoons of chicken, according to your desire.  Top the chicken with about 2 tablespoons of cheese.  Then roll up your tortilla and place seam side down in the dish.  Continue until you’ve filled the dish a single layer deep.  Once you’re finished, pour the remaining sauce over the top and top with the remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until the cheese is completely melted.  You can add chopped black olives, black beans, rice, or even green chilies to this recipe as well. 

 

Preparedness Pro Note: If you would like Kellene Bishop to present an Emergency Preparedness message for your community or church group, please contact us at 801-788-4133.  Ms. Bishop is an experienced speaker and demonstrator on Emergency Preparedness topics and also has created a great “Preparedness Party” platform which makes the learning of such a topic more enjoyable for all.

 

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.
You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.  

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