Chocolates – they are sweet, tasty, and creamy. They are one of our guilty pleasures in life. Even if we are told that sugar is the number one enemy, it is just hard to stop munching on these treats. More often than not, we stock up on chocolates at home. In this case, how long should you keep it?
If you are curious about how long does chocolate last, this post will help you. Keep on reading and I will provide you with valuable insights on its shelf life. More importantly, this article will also tackle the best ways to keep chocolates at home to make sure that they will remain at their best even after some time.
Shelf Life of Chocolates
There are many things that will be instrumental of how long can you keep chocolates. For instance, this will depend on the type of the chocolate that you have. It will also vary depending on whether it has been opened or not. Most importantly, the way it is stored will also be a critical concern.
Generally speaking, dark chocolates will last longer compared to milk or white chocolates. The flavonoids are probably the reasons for this. When it is unopened, the shelf life can be about two years. On the other hand, once it is opened, it will last for about one year.
In the case of milk or white chocolates, it will last for one year if the package is unopened. Meanwhile, once it is already opened, you should eat it within eight to ten months. Otherwise, its quality will no longer be as good.
If the chocolate is handmade, the shelf life will be shorter. Ideally, you should consume it within two to three weeks to be assured that it is still in its peak condition.
Best Ways to Store Chocolate
The key to making chocolates last longer is to make sure that you keep them properly. Many may be tempted to refrigerate or freeze chocolate, but truth is, this is one thing that you should avoid. This is because it can easily absorb the odor of anything that is kept in the fridge, such as raw meat.
The best way to keep chocolate is to store it in a place that is cool and dry. It should be away from heat and moisture. Ideally, the temperature should be anywhere from 65 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping it in the kitchen cabinet that is away from anything with strong odor is highly-recommended.
Once the chocolate has already been opened, you should keep it in a bag or container with an air-tight seal. This is because air penetration will lead to oxidation. The flavor will tend to be weaker once it has been exposed to air.
It will also be a good idea to wrap chocolate tightly. This will protect it from external elements that will have a negative impact on its quality.
It is also important to keep it away from light. We don’t just mean sunlight, but any other forms of light. Even artificial lights can produce heat, which will probably make the chocolate melt.
Here is a short video that tells more about how you can properly store chocolates:
How To Know if Chocolate Has Gone Bad
One of the best things that you can do is to look at the expiration date that is stated by the manufacturer. It should be somewhere in the packaging. While it can still be eaten safely past the stated date, it is most likely that the quality will no longer be the same. Both flavor and texture will be negatively affected.
You should also inspect the original packaging of the chocolate, especially if it has not yet been opened. If it appears distorted or if the color is darker than the usual, this is one of the obvious indications that it has already gone bad.
Pay attention to fat bloom. This happens when the fats from cocoa butter rise all the way to the top. There will be white lines or spots that will be visible from the surface. When you see such, take this as a sign that chocolate has been kept for too long or exposed to elements it hate.
The appearance of these white lines is often thought by many to be mold. It is not mold. In fact, even with these lines, the chocolate is still safe to eat. You can consider melting it in heat and use it as dip if you do not want to eat the chocolate in its actual form.
The odor of the chocolate will also most likely change. This is one thing that will be easy for anyone to recognize. If it has a foul smell, throw it away. The same thing should be true with its taste. From the first bite, if it seems to be a bit off, ditch the chocolate.
How long does chocolate last? What are the best ways to keep it? How can you tell if it has already gone bad? In a nutshell, the following are some of the most important things that we have discussed earlier:
- Dark chocolate, when unopened, will last for two years. Once it is opened, its shelf life will be reduced to one year. For milk and white chocolates, on the other hand, it will last for up to one year if unopened. If opened, its shelf life will be eight to ten months. Handmade chocolates, meanwhile, will be good only for two to three weeks.
- Proper storage should be given emphasis if you want chocolates to last longer. Do not store in the fridge or freezer. Instead, keep it in a cool and dry place. it should be away from light, heat, and moisture.
- There are some obvious indications that chocolate has already past its peak. Pay attention to distortion in packaging or the shape of the chocolate. There will also be flat bloom, as well as foul taste and odor.