If you’re chocolate-lovers like us, there’s one question you’ve probably considered at least once in your life: What’s the best way to store chocolate?
It’s an important question with an even more important answer – so important, we knew we had to dedicate a blog to it. There’s nothing worse than discovering the chocolate bar you’d forgotten in the fridge has turned all cracked and white, or melting chocolate for a new dessert and finding it grainy and gray when it hardens. Consider this your definitive guide to never making those mistakes again.
Scroll down to find out everything you need to know about how to store chocolate.
What’s the best way to store chocolate?
Learning how to store chocolate properly comes down to three basic elements: temperature, light, and time.
- Store chocolate at cool temperatures. Aim to store chocolate bars and chips in a cool, dry place away from excessive heat or humidity. Pantries and cupboards work well – open shelves or tables, not so much. An ideal temperature for chocolate storage is 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit. As most of us know, too much warmth will cause the chocolate to melt, while extreme cold can alter the flavor and texture.
- Keep chocolate away from light and air. Light and oxygen can damage the texture and flavor of your chocolate – especially chocolates with lower cacao content, like milk and white chocolate. To protect chocolate from the elements that will harm them, keep it wrapped up and stored in an airtight container.
- Eat chocolate promptly. No problem there! But seriously – the fresher your chocolate is, the better the flavor will be. Try to buy chocolate in quantities you’re likely to eat relatively quickly. (Still buying it by the pound? We won’t judge.)
What is the shelf life of chocolate?
Like other storage tips, this depends on the type of chocolate – the cacao content, whether it includes other ingredients (like caramel), and more. When in doubt, ask the maker or seller about the storage of particular products if possible.
- Dark Chocolate – Some sources report a shelf life of up to two years for dark chocolate, while others estimate one year.
- Milk and White Chocolate – Experts report that milk and white chocolate will stay good anywhere from six months to a year.
- Caramels, Bonbons, etc. – Chocolates with lots of non-shelf-stable ingredients, such as dairy products, can have shorter shelf lives than chocolates with higher cacao content. Check with the chocolate maker whenever possible.
Can I refrigerate my chocolate?
Many people believe refrigerating chocolate is an absolute no-no, but that’s not the full story. To understand why this rule has become so oversimplified, it helps to know a little about what temperature does to cocoa fat.
Basically, cocoa fat molecules only form the desired structure at certain temperatures – not too hot, and not too cold. Bringing chocolate from hot to cold temperatures too quickly can cause temperature shock, which can ruin the chocolate’s consistency, flavor, and color. Similarly, exposing refrigerated chocolate to fresh air immediately after removal can cause condensation to form and make your chocolate look white and splotchy. We’ll cover more details on this below.
In sum, keeping your chocolate out of the fridge or freezer is a good general rule, and it shouldn’t be a problem if you buy chocolate in small enough quantities. However, there are a few exceptions. During summer months, for example, you may need to refrigerate your chocolate bars or chips to keep them from melting. Bet you didn’t think learning how to store chocolate was this complicated!
How to Properly Chill Chocolate
- Tightly wrap your chocolate in moisture-proof plastic wrap and/or an airtight container.
- It’s important to gradually raise or lower the temperature of your chocolate to avoid temperature shock. Keep chocolate in the refrigerator for a full 24 hours before moving it to the freezer. When removing chocolate from the freezer, likewise move it to the refrigerator for a full 24 hours before removing it from the cold.
- After removing chocolate from refrigeration, allow it to reach room temperature before removing it from its container.
What does it mean when chocolate turns white?
You may have noticed a splotchy, whitish coating on chocolate that has melted and re-hardened. That’s the cocoa fat having a hard time adjusting to the quick change in temperature.
Cocoa fat molecules are sensitive creatures. As discussed above, chocolate must be moved gradually from hot to cold temperatures. Otherwise, they will re-form with a disjointed, grainy texture and give the re-hardened chocolate a pale or mottled surface.
Okay, so you haven’t been doing much chocolate melting lately. But what about the white, splotchy chocolate you just took out of the fridge? Again, the shock from moving from the cold into the warm, fresh air is the culprit, but this time the victim isn’t fat, but sugar. The abrupt change causes condensation to form, which makes the sugar “bloom” and form white spots.
So, you may know a little more about how to store chocolate the right (and wrong) way, but don’t forget these helpful chocolate tips:
- Cocoa fat is highly absorbent of other scents, so make sure to keep it away from anything with strong odors – including baking extracts and condiments.
- The purer the chocolate, the more shelf-stable and resistant it is. This means all your milk chocolate, white chocolate, and caramels may be a little fussier. They won’t stay fresh as long and may be more susceptible to flavor and texture changes caused by temperature shock or moisture.
Candy Club Loves Chocolate
Now that you know how to store chocolate like a pro, we hope you’ll never have to suffer those improperly-stored chocolate woes again. The good news? Our mostly-sweet gourmet candy boxes are so delectable, you won’t have any problem consuming them before their shelf life runs out. Explore our candy box options today!