Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bringing it back

One Achilles' heel in the quest to reduce plastic use is the dilemma of how to keep cheese fresh without wrapping it in a piece of that plastic roll we all keep in the kitchen cabinet, and the associated problem of how it still dries out when wrapped in said petroleum-derived sheet. This was discussed many times on many blogs over the summer and one recurring answer was the glass cheese bell. Not many of us still have that bridal shower gift from the seventies, gone the way of fondue pots and covered cake carriers. But by the response of bloggers whose expertise I value, I decided to give it a try. This is a fairly easy item to obtain at secondhand stores so the cost for my research should be minimal.

It only took three visits to find one, although the wooden base that it sat on was not ideal so I replaced it with a dish from my kitchen which fit perfectly. I then bought an inexpensive chunk of cheddar, unwrapped it, and waited. Three weeks later the cheese, some of which was enjoyed from time to time, was just as fresh as the day I set it on the plate. No dried out edges, no spots that needed trimming. After six months and three blocks of cheese I can happily say that this works (although I haven't tried this with anything softer than a blue variety.) Now I gladly shuffle things around in the fridge to keep a space handy for the cheese bell. It doesn't save much plastic but it sure does save the cheese.

Of course, our mothers and grandmothers knew this all about this. (You can find vintage cheese dishes for sale over the internet.) We just keep on having to re-learn that the some of the old ways were best ;)

Try something new old, and have a wonderful Sunday!


abby jenkins said...

I love all things old. Why we feel the need as a nation to 'improve' what is time tested and proven is beyond me. As my father used to say "Do you really think they can't make panty hose that runs when they can send a man to the moon?" theory is that is you only had to buy one pair these companies would lose a lot of business....not that anyone wears hose anymore, but the theory stands for many of these daily disposables, like ziplocs and papertowels. If we use glass cheese bells (mine work as cloches in the garden too) and glass refrigerator containers and reuse our mustard jars to store our homemade salad dressing what would happen to the plastics industry? I like to think we are slowly enlightening so keep passing the word sister! Happy New Year!

Wendy said...

What I'm finding is that a lot of these older technologies are very ingenious, and I'm glad that they haven't totally disappeared. We can still learn how to use them. It's just a matter of recapturing what our grandparents knew.

This is something I will definitely be trying, as the cheese in the plastic is a concern of mine, as well.

By the way, have you see the French butter keeper? Works great, too! And like the cheese bell is very much an older technology.

Kathryn Ray said...

Great idea! Thanks.

The Curious Cat said...

Wicked! I am always unhappy with how my cheese goes hard and how much wrapping is involved these days. If so you it is good I am going with it! xxx Now where can I find a bell?

The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Hi abby,
I agree with you that too much plastic is being used....and discarded. Reusing glass jars is a great idea, and your father is right!

Hi Wendy,
I'll have to look into the butter keeper soon. Thanks!

Hi Kathryn,
Let me know if you try one, too.

Hi Curious Cat,
The ones online tend to be expensive, but you can probably find one in a secondhand shop at a good price. Around here they go for about $4 USD.