Thanks to Kris at http://krissimplyliving.blogspot.com/ for providing me with two different websites which give directions for canning cheese. http://www.backwoodshome.com/advice/ajo061220.html provided directions for hard cheese such as cheddar although it was stated that mozzarella cheese was also canned this way. http://canninggranny.com/?p=38 gave directions for canning cream cheese. Both websites made it clear that these are not government approved methods but that they have worked for them and others they've talked to. I'm going to try both. They are easy and will be another valuable item to put into the larder. I still want freeze dried cheese in the storage too.
Here are the directions for both the cheddar and cream cheese canning. For both recipes you need to sterilize the jars by putting them in boiling water for 20 minutes. Sterilize the lids too, which I always do when I heat them before putting them on the jar. Use 1/2 pint jars for the cream cheese and either 1/2 pint straight side or pint wide mouth jars for the cheddar.
For the cheddar cut the cheese into one inch square cubes and place them into the jar. For the cream cheese spoon four to six ounces of it into the jar. Put the jars into a pan of simmering water on the stove. Do not have the water very high, perhaps half way up the side of the jar at most. You don't want water getting into the jar. Once the cheese starts melting add more cheese to your jar. Let that new cheese melt too. Continue to add cheese until it's about 1/2 inch from the top. Be careful that you don't get cheese on the rim. If there's grease on the rim the jar will not seal. Before you put the lid on wipe off the rim of the jar. Use a damp cloth with a little vinegar and water. The vinegar will help cut any grease that you accidentally got on the jar rim.
Boiling water bath the jars, with the jars covered by at least an inch of boiling water: cheddar was listed for 25 minutes (although other sites did list up to 45 minutes) and cream cheese for 40. Do not take the cheddar cheese out of the hot water too quickly. Let the water cool down a little first or you run the risk of having some of the oils get sucked out and ruining your seal. For the cream cheese you can take it out of the water when the time is up. Use your jar lifter to remove the jars and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter. Make sure they aren't set in a breezy location.
The directions for the cheddar cheese said when you are ready to use the cheese put the jar into a warm water bath for a few minutes to warm up the cheese a bit. Then slide a knife down the side of the jar and you should be able to dump the cheese block out of the jar. For the cream cheese, just open and scoop like you would from the package.
Sounds easy. Around here cream cheese will go on sale for a dollar for an eight ounce package. I think I'll stock up and can the cheese. Same with the cheddar.