Can I Eat It Filter: fresh mozzarella
June 7, 2013 5:10 PM   Subscribe

Please help me not poison myself and my boyfriend tonight at dinner. I've checked the other fresh-mozzarella AskMes and they all seem to pertain to mozzarella left out for long periods of time. (The Google Machine renders similar results, or otherwise different circumstances.) Cheesemongers of MeFi: Can I Eat It?

I bought a tub of fresh mozzarella at Local Giant Organic Food Megacorp, on Tuesday (today is Friday)--large pieces (ovoline), stored in water and sealed.

It has been refrigerated ever since, and unopened. Tonight I opened it, and it had a somewhat sour smell to it. Chagrined, I rinsed it, filled the container with new brine, and ate a small piece. The piece I ate tasted all right. Not super-amazing great, but like cheese tastes. Maybe a little more bitter than the usual mozzarella.

The plan is to put this on a pizza, so it will be cooked through by the time we eat it. Will we die? Shall I make a run for new cheese?
posted by like_a_friend to Food & Drink (8 answers total)
Sounds just fine. I'm not even sure what you'd be concerned about with a somewhat sour smell - cheese is made by souring milk.
posted by ssg at 5:12 PM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've had this happen with fresh mozzarella packaged that way before, right down to the funny bitter taste and questioning whether I was imagining that it was bad or not.

It may not make you sick - I never got that far - but I'd get some new cheese just so it doesn't taste so weird.
posted by bubukaba at 5:26 PM on June 7, 2013

Sounds fine to me. Some kind of acid (lactic, acetic, citric etc.) is used in making it and may also be an ingredient in the brine.
posted by ottereroticist at 5:27 PM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

totally fine - the bitter taste is from sitting in the liquid. Pizza is the perfect use for oldish fresh mozz.

Actually older fresh mozz is better for melting - though usually that's best accomplished by storing it unwrapped in the fridge.
posted by JPD at 5:38 PM on June 7, 2013

I've only run into a couple rules about cheese. If it has pink spots, don't eat it. If it is dried out, either grate it or toss it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:42 PM on June 7, 2013

If I had freshly-opened, stored appropriately food that tasted all right, but not great, I would probably conclude that it just wasn't a tasty brand of food item, not that it was unsafe for consumption.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 5:43 PM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

FWIW, I have bought this exact cheese before, and when I've used it same-day it's both tasted and smelled markedly better--as in, less sour/bitter--than this package does, so I do think it's a bit off. It's normally very very tasty.

That said, we're gonna take our chances. Thanks MeFi!
posted by like_a_friend at 6:21 PM on June 7, 2013

I'm no cheese expert, but one time did inquire to a cheese manufacturer about why sometimes a certain type of their cheese tasted much better than other times. Their answer was that the diet of the cow and the conditions under which the cheese is made can vary the flavor. I believe the mozzarella in brine is good for up to a week so you should have been well within bounds for food safety. Buon appetito! Hope your pizza comes out well.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:00 PM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

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