Can You Eat Halloumi Raw? Is It Safe Or It Can Make You Sick?

My interest and passion revolve around cooking. I love trying out new recipes for different dishes, not forgetting my favorite thing to add is cheese.

I love cheese a lot; yes, I am addicted to cheese!

You will call me a turophile because I can’t go without it. Recently I discovered that one could actually eat cheese raw, without cooking, grilling or even frying it.

Raw? I know some of you may wonder if at all that is possible.

Halloumi cheese is my top best cheese to use, and you will want to know more about it.

There is much more to learn here about this type of cheese, mainly regarding its health benefits and different ways to serve it, incredibly when raw. Now you are wondering how one can eat halloumi raw but worry no more.


What is Halloumi

Halloumi is a semi-hard and unripe cheese traditionally made from the combination of sheep’s and goat’s milk, either pasteurized or unpasteurized and is rich in protein and calcium.

Sometimes, the producers can add cow’s milk in the regions where sourcing the goat and sheep milk is a problem. It’s also squeaky in texture and has a unique taste because it is firm and salty.

It’s an ideal type of cheese for those interested in frying and grilling because of its high melting point.

In Cyprus, it has been enjoyed for hundreds of years before it surged to its recent popularity. This type of cheese can be eaten on its own or served with other foods. You can find it in the large grocery stores or supermarkets.


Can You Eat Halloumi Raw

This is a question that many people might be asking, and the answer is yes. We all know that many people like eating their halloumi fried or grilled because it blends well with many different types of cooked and uncooked foods.

It is because they have not explored other ways of eating it raw. According to Olympus Cheese, known for cheese making and a handcraft award-winning company, here are various ways to eat halloumi raw:

  • With Salad – If you love salads, then this combination is perfect for you. Here you can make fruit or vegetable salad. Once you are done preparing your salad, cut your halloumi into small cubes and mix them to come out with a simple sweet salad.
  • Watermelon is usually juicy and sweet; when you combine it with halloumi, the taste will be savoury. Due to its texture, it will bring out halloumi’s creaminess and balance the salt. Cut your watermelon and uncooked halloumi cheese into a cubical shape, serve on a plate and when eating, attach them and enjoy.
  • Pasta Topping – Take your halloumi and grate it over your freshly cooked pasta. Do not add too much as you might remove the full flavor of your food. The mixture goes well with several other dishes, bringing out an incredible flavor.
  • Sandwich Wrap – You can decide to add raw halloumi to your regular sandwich to have a new different taste. Just like when added to a portion of pasta, don’t make it too much to control how much strong flavor is added.


Is It Safe?

Each individual is different, and matters of taste and preference play here. Some love it cooked; some prefer it raw. It’s okay to say it is safe to eat halloumi raw, but to some extent, because when mishandled, there could be a possibility of food poisoning.

Because it is made from unpasteurized milk from goats and sheep, it can be vulnerable to listeria bacteria.

Since it is a dairy product, it might not be appropriate for those allergic to such products. Those with lactose intolerance are always encouraged to check the content of their halloumi packet to ensure that it’s not made from cow’s milk but from sheep and goat because of their lower lactose content.

People with a low immune system like kids, breastfeeding mothers, those suffering from chronic diseases and old folks are discouraged not to eat the raw halloumi.

When it is not handled well, and the pathogenic microorganism is present, they risk getting sick and even dying. So always ensure that your halloumi cheeses are well stored so as not to be contaminated with harmful bacteria.


Can You Eat Halloumi Raw When Pregnant

When a woman is pregnant, the type of food they take should be of great concern to her and the baby she’s carrying. Pregnant Women are advised mainly by the World Health Organization always to try and improve their intake of calcium-rich foods.

It will help prevent pre-eclampsia, a condition experienced by pregnant women through convulsion due to high blood pressure and can be very dangerous to the mother and the baby.

Since halloumi is highly rich in calcium, it will significantly benefit pregnant women. The calcium found in this type of cheese will help the baby’s growth and development and support the mother’s muscle growth, specifically when the tummy starts stretching out and the baby starts moving.

It’s safe for pregnant women when made from pasteurized milk, and its salty content makes it difficult for the bacteria to survive on it. A recommendation from CDC says that soft, unpasteurized cheeses are not appropriate for pregnant women because of the possible presence of listeria.

In contrast, semi-hard cheese like halloumi is safe for consumption during pregnancy but only when made from pasteurized milk.

So it means a pregnant woman can safely take raw halloumi due to its many benefits.


How to safely store it

When storing your food, you always tend to be careful with how and where you store it; this is no different when holding your halloumi. There are many possible ways of storing your halloumi cheese.

The users traditionally reserved it by covering it with mint leaves which acted as a preservative and kept it fresh and up to date; this method still applies and is very helpful. Alternatively, you can wrap it in waxed paper or cheeses and rewrap it using a new paper afterwards.

Halloumi, when not opened yet, can be stored through refrigeration for up to a year, but if it’s opened, you will need to put it in an airtight container with salt water and back to the refrigerator for as far as two weeks.

You can also use foil or plastic to wrap it up and place it in a freezer for three months; this will not affect its texture. Proper storage will help preserve the quality and nutritional value it has. The last thing you want is to buy your halloumi and trash it in a week’s time because it has spoiled.

Halloumi cheese is full of nutrients, and you can try taking it raw and know how it tastes and the flavor it adds. So when you eat raw halloumi, make sure you do not go overboard when adding it to your dishes.

It would help if you always remember to:

  • Properly store it once it’s opened as guided above
  • Avoid it if you are allergic to dairy products
  • Halloumi contains a strong flavor, and its recommended to add a little to you dishes
  • You can use halloumi in making your vegetable or fruit salads

The more you explore and learn about eating halloumi raw, the more you will love it. You will love this also: Can you eat raw leeks?