Does hot chocolate expire? If this is one thing that has been bothering you, read this guide and I hope that I can enlighten you with the discussions below. You will know if it ever goes bad, and most importantly, what you can do to prevent it from getting bad even after an extended period.
To start with, let me clarify one thing – the discussion below will focus not on an actual cup of hot chocolate. Obviously, such should be consumed as soon as possible for optimal flavor. Rather, we are talking about powdered chocolate.
Yes, Hot Chocolate Expires!
Sadly, like most other things in the pantry, the shelf life of hot chocolate is infinite. There is a tendency for it to go bad if it is not handled properly or when it has already surpassed the stated expiration date. Consuming it at such point will not only ruin the flavor, but can also put your health at risk.
The expiration of hot chocolate will depend on the type of powder that is used. Pure cocoa will most likely last longer. On the other hand, if it is one of those instant mixes with added artificial sweeteners, its shelf life will probably be shorter.
Why wait for the hot chocolate to expire? While it is fresh, use it to make your favorite drink. Here is a short video that shows you how to do it the right way:
Know the Shelf Life of Hot Chocolate
There ae many factors that will inevitably have an impact on the shelf life of hot chocolate powder. For instance, this will depend on the specific brand, when it was purchased, and how it was stored. Proper handling and storage should be given emphasis to make it last longer.
The easiest way to determine the shelf life of hot chocolate is to look at the packaging. More often than not, there will be a “Best Before” or “Use By” date. After this date, you can still use the hot chocolate powder, but take note that its quality will be significantly lower.
Generally speaking, the chocolate powder can be good for up to three years, provided that it is not opened from its original packaging. If it is opened, air penetration and other external factors can speed up spoilage, reducing the shelf life to one to two years.
How To tell If Hot Chocolate is Bad
Among others, the physical appearance of the hot chocolate powder is one of the obvious indications that it has already gone bad. More often than not, you will see that it is already discolored. Some parts may be lighter while there are other parts that can appear darker.
You should also look for the appearance of molds in your hot chocolate powder. You can see white mold that has web-like formation if the powder is already expired.
The texture of the powder will also be indicative of possible spoilage. If it is clumpy and if it would not separate regardless of the pressure that is applied, this is a sign that it has gone bad.
There will also be a noticeable change in odor if the chocolate powder has gone off. You will smell something that is unpleasant! Trust your nose! If in doubt, just throw it away and get yourself a new pack. It won’t cost too much, after all.
Proper Storage is Vital
It is best to keep it inside the kitchen cabinet or in any place that is dark, dry, and cool. Avoid leaving it on the counter or in areas where there is direct sunlight. You should keep it away from water supply to minimize the tendency that it will get wet.
If the box is already opened and there is still hot chocolate powder left, it is best to keep it in a sealed container. With an airtight lid, this will prevent the external factors, such as heat and moisture, from entering and from speeding up spoilage.
More than proper storage, another thing that you should do is to always use a clean and dry spoon when scooping out powder from the pack. If not, this can increase the possibility of cross contamination.
Drinking Expired Hot Chocolate Puts You At Risk
Is it ok to drink expired hot chocolate? Those who are ignorant will think that it is alright and it will not affect their health. The truth, however, is that it can be risky in more ways than one. It could cost you a trip to the hospital, so it is important to avoid consuming hot chocolate that has already gone bad.
If you drink expired hot chocolate, the most common thing that happens would be suffering from stomach or digestive issues. At its worst, however, this can lead to a serious case of food poisoning.
If you are still not convinced that expired hot chocolate is a risk, know about the case of a grandmother from Italy. A packet of chocolate powder that is already 25 years past its best before date caused food poisoning. This is something that is serious, right?
Does hot chocolate expire? By now, I hope that the discussion above were able to shed some light on your questions. It is good to be armed with the right knowledge, which will make sure that you will never consume spoiled chocolate powder.
In a nutshell, here are some of the things that we have discussed above:
- Yes, hot chocolate can expire. The powder that is used to make this drink can last for two to three years.
- It should be kept in a cool, dry, and dark place. Once opened, transfer the chocolate powder in a clean container with air-tight seal.
- Consuming expired hot chocolate can cause digestive issues, and worst, food poisoning.