Originally Posted by constant struggle
Question regarding the rind - how edible are the rinds? Does it differ per kind of cheese? i.e. if i am cutting cheese and part of the rind gets on the actual cheese, is this an issue, should it be removed? Also are you sure to cut the entire rind off? Do you cut it all off at once for the whole block of cheese, or for just the piece you are eating? I notice whole foods usually has a number of cheeses unrefrigerated, is there a reason for this? What is the best way to store cheese in the fridge?
A number of questions with several answers. Where to begin?
MANY are edible and many of those are personal preference. Actually, I'd wager the vast majority are edible but many get passed on because the flavor is too strong/strange, the rind is very tough or it's unsightly.
These are all edible for example:
The rind on Parmigiano is technically edible but it's so hard you could suck on it like candy and nobody goes in for that, but you can make broth out of it.
Inedible rinds are those that are 1) man-made edible, like wax or polymer coating (though neither would hurt you, they're food-grade just not pleasant), 2) cloth-bound/bandaged (cloth is removed before the consumer sees it but threads and remnants can remain like:
2) bad tasting (very strong, acrid, pungent so as to ruin the pleasure of the cheese). Example- there are bound to be French that eat it but I find this totally unpalatable. Tomme de Savoie:
As to cutting it off: DON'T. Notice in the pics I posted the rind is still on. When serving, cut just what you need. The shape of the cheese dictates the ideal cut but there is no right way:
Again, note the rinds stay on:
If you see a cheese unrefrigerated it is often whole/unbroken. That cheese is still "alive" and will keep for a while at room temp. Most stores do that for display and move them into better storage at night. Many cheeses can stand room temp for quite a while if whole or wrapped in plastic. I have a cloche that we keep in our breezeway in the winter... stays in the 40's there on the coldest days and a wrapped cheese will keep there for a few days. Mostly i use the crisper drawer in the fridge.
For home storage- only buy what you will eat soon, ideally. The answers on how to store and wrap are many. Some are more right than others depending on the cheese and what you are doing with it. The type of wrap has a lot to do with "do you want to keep the cheese from drying out"? or is it a wet cheese that needs to breath? Again- plastic is OK for most persons for a couple of days. The fancier papers have their places.