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What Are the Best Tips for Canning Cheese?

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  • Written By: Patrick Lynch
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Images By: Jeff Wilson, Us Cpsc
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2016
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Canning cheese can be a useful method of preserving this dairy product that otherwise has a short self life. To begin the process of canning cheese, containers of the right size along with their lids should be found and sterilized at a suitable temperature. The cheese that is to be stored can then be placed inside the containers and melted in hot water. A hot water bath canner can be used as it gradually increases the temperature of the water, ensuring that the cheese melts. The cheese should then be packed tightly inside the containers, which are sealed, allowed to cool, and marked to make them easy to distinguish.

The beginning of the process of canning cheese involves finding suitable containers. The amount of cheese that needs to be canned will clearly influence any decisions about them. Once suitable containers have been found, it is a necessary to sterilize them. Placing the containers in an oven at 482 degrees Fahrenheit (250 degrees Celsius) for approximately 20 minutes will accomplish this. Sterilization of the lids is also important and is achieved by allowing them to simmer in extremely hot water for a few minutes.

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The cheese should be cut so that it fits into the containers. Frozen cheese will need to be crumbled if it does not fit initially. A special piece of equipment known as a hot water bath canner is useful as the sterilized jars can be placed on a rack which is in turn placed on the canner in a bath of very hot, but not boiling, water. The lid should not be placed on the canner when the cheese is melting inside it.

While canning cheese, allow the water to come no more than halfway up the container. If the water gets any higher, there is a possibility that it will get into the container as the water starts to bubble. Once the cheese starts to melt, more can be added and packed inside the jars. This process can be continued until the cheese is 0.5 inch (1 cm) from the top of the container.

The containers can then be removed from the canner and sealed after the rims of the containers have been properly cleaned. There is the possibility of some oil appearing on the top of the jars once the cheese has been melted. This oil should not be removed as it is a natural result of the canning process. An implement, such as a tongs or something similar, should be used to remove the jars from the bath. The containers should be left untouched until they have completely cooled and then labeled and stored.

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