Homecraft Happiness: Canning Cheese

There is no official, approved method for canning cheese by the USDA and it is considered experimental. Use your own discretion and judgment.

I really hate that disclaimer. I’ve said that before. But I have to put it there.

Anyway, the boys are out, the washing machine is going, the cats are napping and I’m canning cheddar cheese. This really is my idea of bliss.

Occasionally I am asked, “Why would you can cheese?” To which I answer, “Why not!”

As the same with canning butter; road trips, picnics, camping, to stock up for the winter munchies and, well, you know, the possibility of a zombie apocalypse. Just saying.

Can one have too much cheese? No, one cannot.

Here's how I do it.

I always use wide mouth pint jars. That way you can slide the cheese out instead of digging it out with a spoon. After washing and oven sterilizing pint jars I fill each jar with cubed mild cheddar.

Then I place it into the oven set at 220 degrees to slowly melt.

DSCN0021.JPG

This takes awhile. As it melts I add more cubes until it is fully melted with one inch headspace.

Sometimes you have to stick a butter knife down in there to get rid of air bubbles.  Meanwhile my pressure canner is warming up.

I take them out, wipe the rims and top with a hot lid. I pressure can cheese for 60 minutes at 12 pounds pressure. I’ve seen others water bath cheese as well as butter, but I feel safer pressure canning and I haven’t had a problem yet. After the time is up, I take my cheese out to cool on the counter. That’s it. I over filled two of my jars and they didn't seal. DARN. Those had to be eaten right away. Once cooled I run a butter knife around the edge  and shake it out. It slices up nicely.

This cheese won’t melt the way you’re used to it melting. I have still used it in casseroles and it forms these little ‘nuggets’ of cheese throughout.

Always start with mild cheese. The flavor intensifies in the canner and it continues to age in the jar. Mild cheese will taste like medium right out of the canner. If I had to describe the taste it would be of toasted grilled cheese. It’s amazing. The texture changes, too. It’s more like cheese curds.

I also can my nacho cheese this way. (The kind that comes in the big #10 can that really isn’t good for you but tastes oh so nummy on nachos) The taste and texture does not change after canning.

I heat up the can in the oven, (after opening and removing the paper label) pour into hot pint jars and also process at 12 pounds pressure for 60 minutes. 

One #10 can will make 7 pints and last approximately 5 days in a house with teenagers. One day I will get ahead of them, can 50 jars and hide them in my closet. See, I canned one batch today and they’re already into the second jar.

Posted on May 21, 2014 and filed under Canning, Homecraft Happiness.