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unrefrigerated cheese
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Paul Wozniak

Locale: Midwest
unrefrigerated cheese on 03/31/2008 12:55:20 MDT Print View

I really like good cheese when hiking and have been carrying it for years. My wife is suddenly worried.

I maintain that fresh HARD cheese (swiss, cheddar etc) remains safe easily for 4 days +, unrefrigerated and baggied, in a pack, in 70-80 F temps. Be careful not to introduce foreign gunk to your cheese and it will treat you in kind.

I have no interest in those string cheese packets. Please weigh in and put her mind at ease.


Max Hoagland
(maxhoagland) - F
Cheese on 03/31/2008 14:11:02 MDT Print View

Well, the best thing to do is not eat cheese while you're hiking because it's not as easy to digest as a plant based diet. However, I hiked with people that brought a huge block of cheese for a 10 day hike. They ate the cheese the whole trip and were fine.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: unrefrigerated cheese on 03/31/2008 15:26:21 MDT Print View

Have you pointed out to her how cheese is made? The little bugs have already done their thing, sometimes for years!

In my experience hard cheeses are fine for extended periods. Some varieties hold up better to heat than others (a particular favorite is dry jack and of course, Parmigiano Reggiano). For extended trips, I think portioning it up and vacuum packing is warranted. But even if it gets some surface mold, you can simply cut it away.

Soft refrigerated cheeses would be a different story, but you're not taking those. Your main danger is from giant, belligerent mice.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: Re: unrefrigerated cheese on 03/31/2008 15:39:22 MDT Print View

Ironically cheese is one of the products that specifically exists to provide long-term food storage without refrigeration. (Another is wine!)

Imagine the people of yore, whose cows made more milk than they could immediately drink but who didn't have refrigerators due to refrigerators being thousands of years in the future.

Their clever solution was to find specific circumstances in which bacteria could wreak their havoc on milk without rendering the milk indigestible by humans. The end result was cheese: a relatively shelf-stable, long-term storage method for milk.

So when you're backpacking with cheese, you're actually relying on ancient technology to keep your food fresh and delicious without refrigeration.

The same is true of wine: part of its' value to ancient peoples was as a way to preserve fruit calories into the winter months.

Derek Goffin

Locale: North of England
hard cheese on 03/31/2008 15:40:27 MDT Print View

hard cheese is a traditional nomadic food, long lasting, high calorie per gram. It went off earlier so it doesnt easily go off again. If you wish to take surface mould off do but even that is not essential. You have history on your side.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: hard cheese on 03/31/2008 16:45:03 MDT Print View

Which brings up a question I've had for eons: if vinegar spoils, does it become wine?

Max Hoagland
(maxhoagland) - F
Vinegar into wine on 03/31/2008 18:13:38 MDT Print View

No, you have it backwards, alcoholic substances are what become vinegar. If you have heard of red wine vinegar, that is the oxidation of red wine. Same with other types of vinegar; apple cider vinegar is oxidation of fermented apple cider. However, most vinegar is oxidized from poor quality previously fermented substances, ie. poor quality wine.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Here
unrefrigerated cheese on 03/31/2008 19:58:17 MDT Print View

Hey Max, you may want to check out the "Why this is funny" reference book (part 2)
here is one you can work with :
From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it.
Groucho Marx
What I would like to know is if anyone here has ever been whelmed. Personally I have been over and more recently under but never just whelmed.

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: unrefrigerated cheese on 03/31/2008 20:01:26 MDT Print View

I have carried cheese on most of my trips since the early eighties. My favorites are sharp cheddar and pepper jack, but they don't keep all that well in warm weather. Even packed deep in my backpack they tend to get oily. They still taste good but are messy and hard to handle. For several years now I've been carrying the Mini Bell cheeses. They're sealed in wax and stay fresher. I don't care all that much for their flavors but with a slice of salami, on a slice of good sour dough they do OK.

I was whelmed once in 1967 by an ex girlfriend. It was a one time thing. Never been whelmed since.

Edited by redleader on 03/31/2008 20:04:26 MDT.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: unrefrigerated cheese on 03/31/2008 20:56:30 MDT Print View

as others have mentioned, the dry / hard cheeses do pretty well. In warmer weather they can get oily. That's why you wrap them in cheese clothing which has been soaks in a bit of vinegar. Cloth soaks up oil, vinegar keeps new mold at bay.

For the girlfriend who worries. Remind her that cheese has been around a long time. Refrigeration is a new invention. It gets HOT in Italy in the summer. Cheese survived... so did the people who ate the cheese.

Cheeses I have used on multi-day trips without problem: Parmigiano-Reggiano (parmesan), Grana Padano, Swiss Gruyere, Cheddar, Gouda, and Monterey Jack.


Edited by verber on 03/31/2008 21:32:53 MDT.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: unrefrigerated cheese on 03/31/2008 21:08:43 MDT Print View

My German grandfather taught me a trick for keeping goods for a few days: wrap your goods in newspaper. He would wrap frozen cans of soda in newspaper and the contents would stay frozen all day long. Cheese would keep for a few days without problems. Hard cheeses work best, but last summer I traveled a mont eating cheese and bread every day and usually was able to keep my tombe cheese with me for about three or four days, no problems at all. Traveling in Denmark I kept dambo cheese, though it can be very smelly.

Dylan Skola
(phageghost) - F

Locale: Southern California
Well on 03/31/2008 21:40:40 MDT Print View

Franco, I can't say I've ever mastered the careful fine-tuning necessary to be whelmed, but from time to time I've felt quite gruntled.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: unrefrigerated cheese on 03/31/2008 21:55:54 MDT Print View

If really worried (and you needn't be) you can use a sterile knife to cut meal size chunks (say 1 ounce) and dip into melted wax - best to have kitchen gloves on for this. Your hands can get your cheese grubby ;-) Then peel off said wax when it is lunch time!

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Here
unrefrigerated cheese on 03/31/2008 22:00:01 MDT Print View

Going back to this cheesy thread, the harder/drier/older the cheese is,(usually) the better. Of course real Parmigiano Reggiano is one of the best. When you buy it make sure that it is not moist. There is a slightly dodgy practice of soaking it in water for "added value".

After a few days in the bush, that wax covered cheese tastes pretty good too.
So do wombats.

Now if someone can tell me how to start a thread, there is some breaking news about Tarptent that I like to share.
I would start an "how to start a thread" thread if I knew how.
(in other words, I can't find that button)

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Threadless Franco on 03/31/2008 22:08:19 MDT Print View

Hi Franco,

Go to the G-spot forum and near the top of the page you should see a start new thread option, next to the forum index option.

I await your Tarptent news with bated breath (or was that baited?).


Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Here
unrefrigerated cheese on 03/31/2008 22:40:27 MDT Print View

Who moved my cheese ?

Thanks Rick, but that is exactly what I cannot see on any forum (fora if you like), not just the G one . ( this is to avoid the "Franco cannot find the start on the G spot"comments)
We should go back to abated to avoid confusion, or is it Confucius ?

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: Franco's cheese on 03/31/2008 22:51:50 MDT Print View

Franco, I hate to see you suffer.

New Gspot Thread

And I want to know the new TarpTent info.

Edit: Sorry for got how to post an embedded link.

Edited by nschmald on 03/31/2008 22:56:13 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Here
unrefrigerated cheese on 04/01/2008 00:19:20 MDT Print View

Thank you Nia. Generations from now your kind gesture will still be remembered.
(still cannot find that start new thread thingo, but I know that it will be there eventually. Maybe I should log on as someone else)

If I remember correctly, someone posted about using the wax from the cheese (Sarah's tip) to make a candle or to add to a the wax of a burning candle. Maybe in the Multiple use gear forum ?
BTW, if you work out the cost per Kg of those bite sized waxed cheeses, you will definitely want to wax a cheese that you actually like.

Derek Goffin

Locale: North of England
story about cheese on 04/01/2008 06:31:55 MDT Print View

In the sixties we went cycle camping in Norway. At one supermarket, full of interesting food we did not get in England like whale, reindeer sausage, we bought some cheese including one small piece of "blue", more like grey, cheese called Gamelost (translation old cheese) The three of use had a taste but it was so strong that I was the only one who had any more. For the rest of the holiday I eat a bit most days. You only needed a bit. It stayed in its bag, getting a bit runny, for more than a fortnight. That fortnight was a Norweigian miracle, midnight dusk and no rain, hot for Norway. I was never sick and only went off it when we got home.
6 Months later I came across a plastic bag in a cupboard. It was the remains of the very Gamelost. It smelt like fishermans maggots left in a closed tin to rot for months.
By then I thought it was inedible so I didnt try. It was still grey, but not such a nice grey.
So even if you start with old cheese you have at least another fortnight. When it gets to the stage that you dont like the smell perhaps that is the time to stop eating it.

Edited by Derekoak on 04/01/2008 07:10:35 MDT.

Paul Wozniak

Locale: Midwest
Cheese on 04/01/2008 07:12:02 MDT Print View

Some I have personally carried are parmesian, jack, cheddar, swiss and gruyere. I've carried it waxed, wrapped it in paper and just in plastic. Never in cheese cloth (duh); must have been too obvious, so will try that. The paper makes it a little neater to handle and burns well in the Bushbuddy by the way.

Not an ideal ultralight food but very satisfying. Cheese is one of those magical living foods along the lines of home brew beer. I'm still not sure my better half will eat it "out there" but it's stays in the bag. Good for a fortnight, I like that.

Anyway, thanks for the great responses. I am totally "whelmed".