Kitchen Helpline: Your Cheesiest Questions

Here at The Kitchen, we're not above being a little cheesy. We put out the call and you came back to us with some really cheesy questions. Here are a few of the most popular ones from The Kitchen Helpline.

Episode: Cheese, Please!
Geoffrey Zakarian shows you how to reheat mac and cheese for maximum creaminess, as seen on Food Network's The Kitchen

Geoffrey Zakarian shows you how to reheat mac and cheese for maximum creaminess, as seen on Food Network's The Kitchen

Question 1--"Which cheese rinds are edible?"

It's generally OK to eat cheeses with rinds that are velvety white, gray or light yellow. These rinds can be found on soft or semisoft cheeses like Brie. These rinds are not only edible, but add an earthy, mushroom flavor to the cheese. You can also eat the rind on most "washed" cheeses like Taleggio or "wine-washed" cheeses. On these, the rind is often considered the best part.

Don't eat rinds that have bright, bold colors and/or are hard or waxy. This goes for rinds like the waxy red one on Gouda. This also includes those covered with cloth or paper materials. Don't eat rinds that have not developed naturally.

BONUS TIP: Use Parmesan rinds to flavor soups and stews.

Don't throw away those Parmesan rinds when you've grated all the cheese. Save them and freeze in a resealable freezer bag. Cheese rinds can last indefinitely in your freezer and are a great addition to soups, stews and other slow-cooked dishes. The rinds will soften as your soup simmers and all those funky flavors from the cheese will infuse the soup with a subtle and delicious umami essence.

Question 2--"How do I know if blue cheese has gone bad?"

Since blue cheese is naturally a little stinky and its flavor comes from "good" mold, it can be tough to tell over time if it is still good to eat. The shelf life for properly stored blue cheese is between 3 and 4 weeks. If the white/cream-colored part of the cheese has hardened and discolored to a pink, brown or yellowish tint, it's time to throw it out. If your wedge has grown a white fuzz, it means the blue cheese has probably gone bad. Spoiled blue cheese will also give off a smell of acetone (like nail polish remover) or ammonia. To make your blue last longer, wrap it in aluminum foil and stick it in the fridge. Doing so will lock in the moisture.

Question 3--"What is the best way to reheat mac and cheese for maximum creaminess?"

Almost everyone loves mac and cheese, but reheating leftovers can sometimes result in a clumpy mess--not delicious! To revive your leftover mac, put it in a microwavable container, then add a pat of butter and 2 tablespoons milk. Cover the bowl with an upside-down plate and microwave, stirring halfway through, for 2 minutes. Just like that, your mac is back!

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