For many of us, chocolate is the ultimate comfort food. Whether it is oozing out in a decadent and luxurious lava cake, drizzled on your ice cream sundae or simply in a candy bar, there’s nothing more heavenly for your taste buds. Studies have revealed that chocolate creates the same effect on the brain as when someone is in love. This is because the flavonoids — a type of phytochemical — in the chocolate releases a feel-good hormone known as dopamine.
Why else do you think chocolates are the most popular candy for Valentine’s Day? But here’s the thing: Eating a bunch of chocolate at once isn’t necessarily healthy, so you’ll probably want to save it to enjoy another time. Can you store chocolate, though?
Table of Contents
- How Long Does Chocolate Last?
- The Best Ways to Store Chocolate
- How to Keep Chocolate Fresh
How Long Does Chocolate Last?
The best part about chocolate is that it doesn’t go bad easily or quickly, especially if you store it the right way. Storing chocolates can be fairly easy whether you make them at home from scratch or buy from the stores. Some chocolates can last for two to three years if stored properly.
Since they are small, chocolate chips normally contain less butter and cocoa compared to chocolate bars. This is why they can withstand higher temperatures and are easily used to make cookies, brownies and other confectionery items that are exposed to the outside temperature. None the less, they still need to be kept at the same temperature to avoid any risk of melting.
Chocolate truffles are no different and must be kept at the same temperatures as the chocolate bars and chips. They must be kept away from the sunlight and stored in a cool, dark place. If you have made them at home using fresh cream, then it is imperative that they must be stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
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Cocoa powder lasts the longest as its chocolate in its purest form. Don’t store the cocoa powder in the fridge as it will degrade the taste over time. Always keep it in an airtight container in a cool and dark place.
Dark chocolates can last from two to three years, making it a better choice if you’re looking to keep it around for a while.
The Best Ways to Store Chocolate
Shop bought chocolates last till the expiration date as mentioned on its label, but homemade chocolates should be eaten within a week if they are kept in the fridge, or two to three days if stored outside. Since you will not be using any preservatives, your chocolates will spoil if left for a longer period.
So if you want to know how to store this divine and sweet temptation, check out these easy tips on how to store chocolate.
Ditch the Fridge
When it comes to chocolate bars and chocolate chips, people normally store them in the fridge or freezer to protect them from melting or from ants trying to get to them. It is understandable, but not always the best way to store chocolate.
Chocolate bars are supposed to be kept at any temperature between 60F-70F. The room temperature should be cool enough to keep the chocolate solid. You must store it away from sunlight so that it doesn’t melt, like in a cool pantry or kitchen cupboard. If your kitchen gets warm while cooking, then it is best to just store them in the fridge — but avoid the freezer.
Make sure to wrap the chocolate in plastic cling wrap after it has been opened so that odor of other foods doesn’t affect the chocolate’s taste. Chocolate contains cocoa butter (a type of vegetable fat) that picks up the smell of anything that surrounds it. You don’t want to have your chocolate smelling like baked beans or casserole now would you?
Of course, you need to keep chocolate away from any heat source unless you are making a chocolate ganache or sauce, but chances are that it won’t retain its pure flavor if it is stored for too long in the fridge or freezer.
Follow the Expiration Dates, But Not Too Closely
Don’t take the ‘best by’ dates of chocolates too seriously. You can consume chocolate bars even after a few months past their ‘best by’ date. Chocolate manufacturers just follow industry standards and give an arbitrary date. Since food requires moisture for it to get spoiled, chocolates are comparatively safer than other alternatives because they contain very little of it. So it doesn’t necessarily make anyone get sick if it’s a bit old. Even milk chocolate is edible after its past date because milk solids are made with very little moisture. However, trust your gut instinct or if your taste buds tell you otherwise, just get rid of it.
How to Keep Chocolate Fresh
You might not be a master chocolatier, but you sure can store chocolate and keep it fresh like one.
Store your chocolate bars or chips in tightly sealed freezer bags. Make sure that you have squeezed out all the air so that there isn’t any room for moisture. Then you can store it anywhere you want as long as it’s away from direct heat, sunlight or moisture.
Get a Wine Cooler
This option is a bit expensive but if you love chocolate then it is well worth the cost. Most wine coolers have a temperature adjustment feature that you can use to make sure that your chocolate remains fresh and retains its flavors. The surrounding temperature should remain between 60-65F. Make sure that chocolate is stored away from any liquids and remains dry in the wine cooler.
Although, storing chocolate in the fridge is discouraged, sometimes it really can’t be helped especially if they come with cream centers (like nougat), or if the weather is very hot. In this case, you must wrap the chocolate in a resealable freezer bag along with a paper towel to ensure that no air gets inside.
They have been a godsend for many people who have to deal with leftovers, but they are also an excellent resource for storing anything you like, including chocolates. After you have wrapped your chocolates in plastic cling wrap or sealed them in a freezer bag, simply put them in a Tupperware or food container box and ensure that the lid is closed tightly. If you have any specific flavored chocolate bars — like mint or orange — then store them separately in another box so that their smell doesn’t get absorbed by other chocolates. These types of storage boxes come in different shapes, color and sizes, so you have a wide variety to choose from and it will also help you distinguish your chocolates from the rest of the food in the fridge at a quick glance.
Apart from freezer bags, you can also store chocolate in Ziploc bags and keep them anywhere that is away from sunlight and heat. You don’t have to keep them in the fridge or freezer if you plan on eating them within a week.
Cling Filmed Bowls
So you don’t have any spare Tupperware boxes to store your chocolates in. Don’t fret! Just get any bowl — plastic or ceramic — and store the chocolate in that. But make sure to wrap it tightly with a triple layer of plastic cling wrap. However, you must wrap it up again as soon as you take some chocolate out so that the rest of it doesn’t get exposed to any air or food smells in the fridge. You can keep the cling filmed bowl in a cabinet or on the table.
Chocolate Mold Trays
If you are making chocolate at home then you will love to use chocolate molds as they come in so many shapes or designs such as floral patterns to star or heart-shaped designs. You don’t have to store them in any Tupperware box when you can just directly take them out of the mold and eat them.
If you have made chocolate syrup for waffles or pancakes or ganache as a spread for your cake, then Mason jars are the optimal choice. Chocolate ganache can stay at its liquid consistency at room temperature for two days as long it’s in a cool and dry place.
If you plan on storing it for longer use, then you can freeze it in a freezer bag for a month or so and wait for it to thaw when you need to use it the next time. Don’t refreeze the already frozen ganache again as it will lose its texture and won’t be as creamy or rich the next time you want to use it. The best thing to do is to make chocolate ganache in small amounts that can be used then and there only.
Ice Cube Tray
If you don’t have chocolate molds then ice cube trays are here to your rescue. Homemade chocolate can easily be stored in an ice cube tray for ease and you can pop it in the freezer along with any center filling of your choice. Just make sure to consume the chocolate within a week as it can lose its texture and flavor after a while.
If you want to be a good host, then always have a beautiful or crystal glass bowl in the center of the coffee table in the drawing or sitting area where you entertain company. You can easily store packaged chocolate candy in the bowl and your guests can then pick the ones that they want. Crystal bowls do not only store chocolate, but also add an aesthetic appeal to your living area as well.
So now that you have found so many ways to store chocolate, you won’t have to worry about your precious treat melting or losing its awesome flavor. Make or buy your favorite flavored chocolate as much as you want and enjoy the pure bliss it brings to the senses.