If you have the willpower and the foresight to keep chocolate for longer than a day or two, we highly commend you! Half the time, our chocolate doesn’t even make it through the car ride home from the store.
Of course, there are plenty of reasons to have a hearty supply of chocolate on hand — for baking, snacking, and to serve if the company stops by. Let’s be honest, no one ever regrets having a stash of chocolate for emergency cravings.
If you are going to keep chocolate, what is the best way to store it? We get asked this question often, so let’s take a look at some of the dos and don’ts of storing chocolate so that it retains its flavour and for the best, long-lasting results.
Do and Do Not Of Storing Chocolate
Alas, nothing lasts forever. But chocolate actually does last a fairly long time when stored properly and depending on the quality and content. Higher quality chocolate doesn’t have any stabilizers or additives like lower quality chocolate so is actually best eaten sooner than later. It also depends on whether we are talking about milk chocolate or dark chocolate.
The Shelf Life For Each is As Follows:
- Milk chocolate — for good high-quality milk chocolate, the shelf life is between six months to one year.
- Dark chocolate — some experts say that dark chocolate, when stored correctly, can last for up to two years, but that might be a stretch. (And who keeps chocolate for two years anyway?) If you still have chocolate from a year ago, it might be time to bake some cookies or pastries with it.
While chocolate does last a long time, it’s good to note that the flavour will degrade over time. The fresher the chocolate — especially high-quality milk and dark chocolate made with good ingredients — the better it will taste.
Chocolate should actually come with a ‘best before’ date, so start there and if it’s past, take a nibble and judge for yourself. You can always turn older chocolate into a chocolate sauce or bake with it if you’re worried that it is past its prime.
Ok, so now that we have that out of the way, how do we actually store chocolate so that it lasts as long as possible, in the best possible condition?
There are three things to consider when storing chocolate: temperature, light, and length of time. We’ve already covered how long to store the treat, so let’s look at the other two considerations.
Store chocolate at cool temperatures, away from moisture. We all know what happens when we leave a chocolate bar in the car on a hot day — it’s a mess. Inside your house, pantries and cupboards are the go-to spots for storing chocolate. The ideal temperature for chocolate storage is 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit.
One very common question we are asked is whether or not storing chocolate in the fridge or freezer is a good idea. While there are mixed opinions on this, our stance is that chocolate should not be stored in such cold temperatures. The extreme chill will alter the flavour and texture and ruin the integrity of the chocolate. And since chocolate is perfectly fine for a long time in a cool-ish place like a cupboard, there’s no real need to go there.
The general rule for storing chocolate is to keep it somewhere dark — as simple as that. Light and oxygen can be especially damaging to milk chocolate or even dark chocolate with a lower cacao content.
Other Tips for Storing Chocolate
The best thing to do when storing chocolate is to keep it in an airtight container. It can be tough if it’s a delicious snacking chocolate bar that you keep going back to, to break off another square…. and another… and another. (You know how it is — with the wrapper crumpled up and exposing the chocolate to the elements).
If you have the will power(?), keeping your chocolate in a sealable container is the best way to go, especially if you are storing the chocolate near spices, herbs, baking extracts, or condiments. Chocolate has the ability to absorb nearby scents, changing the flavour.
(Our friend once bought some specialty chocolate from a charming little gift store, which also sold scented candles. She had to return the chocolates when she found out they tasted like their Christmas candle display!)
A Note on Refrigeration…
As mentioned, we do not recommend that you refrigerate or freeze chocolate. But there are sometimes situations where there aren’t any other options. Say, for example, you are going through a heatwave and your air conditioning unit broke. What do you do with your chocolate in this situation?
If you have to refrigerate or freeze your chocolate, first wrap everything as airtight as possible. It is best to use a plastic resealable bag (instead of a container) so that you can squeeze out most of the air.
Then, when you are ready to thaw the chocolate, it’s a good idea to do it in stages — first from the freezer to the fridge (for at least a day), then from the fridge to room temperature.
Why all the fuss? Because otherwise, the cocoa fat will thaw and re-harden, leaving a splotchy coating on the chocolate and ruining the appearance and texture. So take your time — especially if you are going to be serving the chocolate or need it to be in fine form before eating.
There you have it. The trick to storing chocolate is to keep it in a dark, cool space, and not keep it for too long. Refrigeration is a last resort, and thaw it out slowly. The best advice though is to enjoy chocolate often and replenish when supplies get low. If you want more chocolate and do not want to go to the store, please visit the online chocolate store. Life is too short to not enjoy chocolate!