Cheese Facts and Tips

1. Most hard cheeses can be frozen; however, there will be changes in texture. For this reason, thawed cheese is best used crumbled or shredded, in salads or as a topping, or in cooked dishes. For best results:* freeze pieces of one-half pound or less* use moisture-proof and air-tight wrapping* Freeze quickly and store at zero degrees F for two or more months* thaw in refrigerator* use as soon as possible after thawing

2. To soften cream cheese in the microwave oven, remove wrapper and place on microwave safe plate. Microwave at 50 percent power. A 3-ounce package requires about 30 seconds; an 8-ounce package requires about 60 seconds. Cooking times will vary among microwave ovens.

3. To soften (or bring to room temperature) other types of cheese, remove wrapper and place on microwave safe plate. Microwave at 30 percent power until cheese reaches desired softness and/or temperature. Check every 10 seconds to prevent overheating.