Take A Hike – But Don’t Forget the Cheese!

With warm weather and re-opened trails beckoning to hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, packing up nutritious snacks and meals to take along is important. Cheese is the perfect high-protein food to throw in your backpack. With the array of hike-friendly cheeses available, even the most discerning hiker will have options to choose from.

What kind of cheese should I bring on my hike?

The next time you pack your backpack for a hike, avoid taking soft cheeses (brie, goat cheese or cream cheeses) and go for hard and dry cheeses like Cheddar, Parmesan and Gouda. Avoid shredding your cheese or cutting it into chunks before hiking as it speeds up the aging process and provides more chance of getting contaminated by bacteria.

How should I store my cheese?

Store your cheese in parchment paper while traveling, the porous surface allows cheese to breathe and helps in retaining it’s flavor. Replace your wrap frequently to reduce “sweating” (the process of butterfat separating from the cheese). And don’t forget to store cheese away from hot locations in your backpack and direct sun exposure.

Here’s a list of some popular dry and hard cheeses you can take with you in your backpack:

  • Cheddar
  • Parmesan
  • Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Gouda cheese
  • Cojita
  • Gruyère cheese
  • Pecorino Romano
  • Colby
  • Colby-Jack
  • Manchego
  • Monterey Jack
  • Edam
  • Emmental
  • Comté cheese

How do I keep cheese fresh?

A good habit to get into at home and on the trail, is to write down the date you initially stored your cheese on it’s storage container. This helps you to measure when your cheese may be past it’s prime. And if you’re backpacking for several days – keep your cheese in one block. Cutting it into pieces increases the surface area that can get contaminated by mold and bacteria.

How can you tell if your cheese is past it’s prime?

Always adhere to the 2 Hour Rule for leaving perishables out: After being in room temperature for 2 hours, always re-refrigerate hard cheeses and throw out soft cheeses.

Where can I hike with my cheese?

Anywhere! Check out Tillamook County Wellness and Travel Oregon for more ideas on hiking trails, beaches and scenic areas to visit.