Don’t Get Sick from Bad Halloumi: Our Expert Tips on Identifying Spoiled Cheese

You might think it would be obvious, but how to know if halloumi is off is actually a pretty common question.

There must be several specific changes that indicate the halloumi has gone bad.

Will there be a change in color or texture?

Or should we just rely on our nose to recognize that it doesn’t smell right?  

And how long should halloumi last anyway?

Time for a look at the subject of not fit for consumption halloumi!

Halloumi is subject to fungal and bacterial growth and can go off just like any other cheese. Typically, you would notice the formation of blue or green mold patches. The taste or smell may change to that of sour milk, which indicates the halloumi has gone bad. An unopened packet of halloumi can actually remain edible for up to a year if stored in a refrigerator. Once opened, the shelf life is approximately two weeks but can be extended by placing the halloumi in a saltwater solution. Halloumi is also suitable for freezing.

Does Halloumi Go Bad?    

Halloumi seems to last forever when the packet has not been opened, actually up to a year when refrigerated.

So, how do you know if halloumi is off?

It’s pretty much just like other cheese; it can be subject to both bacterial and fungal growth.

This is most evident by patches of blue or green mold.

Now, with hard cheeses, you can actually cut the moldy bits off and eat the rest.

But halloumi is softer, and this means the mold spores may have penetrated the parts of the cheese you can’t see.

So, unfortunately, if you see any sign of mold, you need to throw the whole block away.

The next thing to look out for is the smell.

If it has an odor of sour milk, this is not normal; it indicates the halloumi has gone bad.

And obviously, if it also tastes of spoiled milk, then it’s definitely off.

Another less common indication of bad halloumi is that it gives off some liquid as you are cooking it.

If this does happen, then usually, it is simply the residue of the brine that the cheese has been preserved in.

This liquid should evaporate pretty quickly in a hot pan.

But if the liquid is not clear or does not evaporate, this may show that the halloumi is off.

You also need to remember that halloumi has a very high melting point.

When cooking, it should simply get softer to give us that lovely squidgy texture we love!

So, if the cheese itself starts to liquefy in the pan, this is really not a good sign.

How Long Does Halloumi Last?

As mentioned previously, halloumi lasts a very long time, provided the packet is unopened.

As much as a year when stored in a refrigerator.

The halloumi will be preserved in brine, which gives it longevity.

Even when open, the halloumi will probably be safe to eat for up to two weeks.

You can extend this period further by taking the cheese out of its original wrapper and placing it in a container of salt solution.

Halloumi actually freezes quite well, and this applies equally whether the packet has been opened or not.

If unopened, simply pop the entire block in the freezer.

Unless, of course, you wish to slice it first to avoid having to thaw the whole block.

If the halloumi has been opened, then put it in a vacuum-sealed bag for the best results.

Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving or cooking.

As halloumi has been around for thousands of years, you may be wondering how it was stored before the days of refrigeration.

The traditional method was to cover it in olive oil and keep it in a jar.

In fact, you will still find halloumi stored in this way in your local supermarket, typically in a glass jar, with added flavorings such as herbs or chili.

Storing and Using Halloumi

Final Thoughts

Halloumi can go off due to bacterial or fungal growth.

This can lead to patches of blue or green mold on the cheese.

There may also be a change in taste or smell, possibly an odor of sour milk.

Look out for unusual liquid leaking from the halloumi when cooking.

Halloumi can actually last for up to a year when refrigerated.

If you have any doubts as to whether the halloumi is unfit to eat, then err on the side of caution and throw it away!

If you are wondering about other types of cheese, read my article on whether Cheddar needs to be refrigerated.

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