Recently, when making Jarlsberg-style cheese, I’ve been ending up with tiny, random eyes, or none at all — so last time I made it, I decided to skip the vac-packing. Maybe the tight bag was hindering proper eye development? (Never mind that all my earlier successful Jarlsbergs had been vac-packed. Stick with me here.) Since I was making my Full Moon Blue at the same time I was making the Jarlsberg, I popped the Jarlsberg in one of my plastic tubs and stuck it in the bottom of the cheezer, as far away from the Blue as possible.
However — problem number one — it got contaminated anyway.
I let it go for a bit, and then after a few weeks I gave it a good scrubbing with a (clean) toothbrush, diluted apple cider vinegar, and salt. And then I placed the cheese on the dresser in the downstairs bedroom — on a cheese mat with a food tent over top — to air dry.
Everything was fine and dandy for a few weeks, until one day I noticed that the tent cover was askew. Weird, I thought as I straightened it. But the next day it was once again wonky. This time I looked more closely and (problem number two) — A MOUSE.
Or signs of a mouse, rather. The little critter had chewed a hole through the netting, chowed down on the cheese, and left turds on the dresser. I was indignant.
(And also a little bit delighted because: mice really do like cheese! How cute!)
I trimmed out all the cheese-munched parts and, once again, scrubbed the whole thing with vinegar and salt, and then I tasted it and — problem number three — the rind tasted like a scented pineapple candle! I’d had a pineapple scented candle sitting atop the dresser beside the cheese, and the scent had leached into the cheese. The inside of the cheese, however, tasted absolutely magnificent — nutty and sweet, mildly Swissy, and just generally more complex than most of my cheeses — so I cut the rind off the entire cheese, vac-packed the wedges, and popped them into the cheese fridge.
And there you have it: the story of a cheese that battled mold, mice, and scented candles and emerged victorious.
Cheese: it’s tougher than it looks. Be like cheese.
This same time, years previous: 2021 garden stats and notes, the quotidian (12.7.20), “take out the trash”, when the dress-up ballgown finally fits, welcoming the stranger, the quotidian (12.7.15), the quotidian (12.8.14), all sorts of bolstered.