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An A to Z guide to choosing, storing, preparing, and cooking fresh produce and recipe ingredients.

  • How to Choose Parmesan
    Only cheeses from a few regions can be labeled Parmigiano-Reggiano, the authentic Italian Parmesan. Made from skimmed or partly skimmed cow’s milk and usually aged for 2 years or longer, they have a nutty flavor and a distinctive granular texture. Less expensive American-made Parmesan is generally aged for as little as 10 months and tends to be saltier, moister, and less intense in flavor. Grated Parmesan that comes in a can contains preservatives and additives to keep it from caking, so grating your own is recommended. Parmesan’s sharper, saltier cousin, pecorino, made from sheep’s milk, can be a more affordable choice for a grating cheese.

  • How to Store Parmesan
    Cheese contains live cultures and needs to breathe, but it also must be protected from drying out. Wrapped in wax paper, then loosely in plastic wrap, Parmesan keeps for up to 2 months in the refrigerator, 6 months in the freezer. If mold appears on the surface, simply cut it off and consume the unblemished interior.

  • How to Use Parmesan
    One of the most versatile cooking cheeses, grated Parmesan melts easily, making it ideal for sauces and soups. Make shavings with a vegetable peeler and use them as delicious, salty toppers for a salad.

    —Melinda Page

    Real Simple Parmesan Recipes:

    See all Parmesan recipes »

What's your favorite parmesan recipe?

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