· By Graham Sorkin
How to Store Chocolate & Maintain Freshness
Care & Storage for Chocolate
Beyond being delicious, chocolate has many health benefits. If you’re like most of us, you eat your chocolate pretty quickly. With a chocolate subscription, there’s no need to store large amounts of chocolate for long periods. However, if you end up with more chocolate than you can eat promptly, how should you care for and store your sweet treats?
Does Chocolate Go Bad?
Any chocolate that contains dairy (milk or white chocolate) spoils over time. Dark chocolate that only contains cocoa mass, sugar and any other plant based ingredients holds indefinitely. However, after a period of months or years, even dark chocolate eventually blooms, which causes a not-so-appealing appearance and texture.
Blooming happens when chocolate melts and re-hardens. This leads the cocoa butter to the surface, resulting in a white coating you’ve probably seen. While blooming is unappealing, bloomed chocolate is generally considered safe to eat.
How Long Can You Store Chocolate?
We designed all Functional Chocolate bars to remain stable for at least two years when properly stored, similar to most dark chocolate.
You can store regular milk chocolate for about a year, while white chocolate lasts about four months. Truffles and other confections last three to four months, although offerings with numerous non-shelf-stable ingredients, such as dairy, might have shorter shelf lives.
If you want to know how to care for chocolate, then below are some tips to ensure your chocolate is as fresh and tasty as possible, whether you eat it tomorrow or next year.
How to Store Chocolate? Avoid Moisture
Moisture in chocolate leads to “sugar bloom,” which occurs when sugar rises to the surface and causes discoloration. This has no effect on flavor, but isn’t appealing. Once chocolate is open, store it in an airtight container, especially if you live in a humid area. Refrigerators are humid by design, so any chocolate stored in a refrigerator should be unopened or in an airtight container.
Beware of Odors
Wherever you store your chocolate, ensure there are no strong odors nearby, especially if it is open chocolate. Garlic, onions, curry, leftovers, etc release strong odors, which creep into your chocolate if not properly stored.
Keep Away from Light
Chocolate exposed to light and air oxidizes quickly, which causes it to bloom, affecting texture and flavor. Storing chocolate in direct light leads to melting.
Store at 65-70 Degrees
Ideally, storage for chocolate is between 65-70 degrees fahrenheit in a dark location. When chocolate is stored at a consistent temperature, it remains stable for as long as possible.
The blends of nutraceuticals, vitamins, minerals and botanicals that Functional Chocolate contains are shelf stable, however, exposing them to high temperatures alters their efficacy. It is especially important to properly store Functional Chocolate.
But What if You Can’t?
Sometimes, chocolate storage at a stable temperature isn’t possible due to transportation or other challenges. If you receive a box of chocolate shipped during the summer, follow the tracking information and take it into a controlled environment as soon as possible. Even well-packed chocolate only stays solid for so long sitting in the sun or in your mailbox on a hot day.
If your chocolate is soft, it is OK to put it into the refrigerator to get it back to a reasonable temperature, but be cautious of humidity and odors. When you are ready to eat it, take it back out and allow it to slowly come to room temperature for at least an hour before eating for the best taste and texture.
What About Freezing?
You can store chocolate in a freezer for long term storage, but just like in a refrigerator, avoid odors or moisture by using an airtight container or bag. To properly thaw, move the chocolate to the refrigerator for 24 hours, then move to room temperature for several hours so the chocolate slowly comes back to the ideal temperature for enjoying, and avoid condensation.
This multi-step thawing process is ideal, as the slower you bring your chocolate to room temperature, the less condensation forms. If it is a particularly warm day, wrap the chocolate in a towel while it comes to temperature to further disperse the chill.
Better Yet - Eat Your Chocolate Promptly
Ultimately, the fresher your chocolate, the better the flavor. Purchasing chocolate in quantities that you eat promptly makes that easy. Better yet, The Functional Chocolate Company offers chocolate subscription boxes at flexible intervals and quantities, so you get the right amount of chocolate to your door at the right time.
If you don’t eat your chocolate promptly, we hope these tips help enjoy it, a year or more from now. For some additional tips, check out this article from the experts at Serious Eats.
If you don’t have plenty of chocolate on hand, order a subscription now from The Functional Chocolate Company for fast, free shipping.