Keeping Your Chocolate Fresh
All Chocolate enthusiasts have stumbled across the issue of what is the best method in order to store and keep your chocolate fresh. The most common mistake is storing it improperly and your chocolate usually either winds up melted from a high room temperature or hardened and cracked after being stored in your refrigerator or somewhere with a low room temperature. However fear not, for once you have completed reading this guide you will be a master chocolate storer and enjoy your confections freshly throughout any time of the day.
The Most Precise Way of Storing Chocolate:
Storing chocolate properly ultimately relies on three main elements: light, temperature, and time.
Too much exposure to light and air can also cause damage to your chocolate. More specifically, the flavor and surface will get spoiled as a result of this exposure. The solution to this is to keep your chocolate in its original wrapping and stored in a container.
You want to store your chocolate somewhere with a cool temperature, far away from excess heat and humidity which will lead to the melting of your chocolate. Cabinet shelves and the pantry are great options, whereas out in the open on the shelves or tables not so much. The ideal room temperature to keep your chocolate in is below 70 degrees fahrenheit (somewhere between 65-68 degrees fahrenheit.) At the end of the day, too much heat will melt your chocolate and too much cold will harden it.
The final method of keeping your chocolate freshest, and perhaps most obvious, is to consume it in a timely manner. Just like most foods, if stored and kept for an overextended period of time, it is sure to begin hardening and not be as fresh as when originally acquired.
The Lifespan of Chocolate
The lifespan of chocolate is highly dependent on the type of chocolate. This is due to the ingredients (such as cacao and caramel) used to produce the type of chocolate which in turn has an effect on its lifespan.
Most experts have concluded that the shelf life of dark chocolate is somewhere between 1-2 years.
Sources have agreed that the lifespan of milk and white chocolate will stay good anywhere from six months to a year.
Other chocolates such as caramels and bonbons typically have a shorter lifespan than milk and dark chocolate due to factors such as lower cacao amount.
Most people hold the belief that refrigerating chocolate is a recipe for spoiling it, however that is not always necessarily the case. In order to understand this, it’s important to understand the science behind how temperature directly affects cocoa butter.
Cocoa butter molecules are most desirable when preserved in a median room temperature (going back to storing chocolate in a 65 - 68 degree fahrenheit setting). When chocolate is exposed to different temperatures in a short period of time, such as switching from a hot setting to a cold setting too quickly, this can lead to something known as “thermal shock,” which in turn spoils the chocolate’s flavor, color, and texture. The same shock occurs when chocolate goes from a cold temperature to a warm one. When chocolate is taken from the refrigerator and immediately exposed to fresh air, this can cause condensation and whiten the chocolate.
A lot of refrigerating chocolate is related to the season. Keeping your chocolate in the pantry or in the cabinet shelves is a good general rule, however during the summer when the temperature increases exponentially, your best bet would be to keep your chocolate refrigerated.
Chilling Chocolate Correctly
Now that you are informed of the fact that you can actually refrigerate your chocolate, it’s time to get educated on how to actually refrigerate and properly change temperature settings of your chocolate.
First off, it’s important to wrap your chocolate in a moisture proof plastic wrap or keep stored in an airtight container.
When changing temperatures of your chocolate’s setting, it is important to do it gradually and not significantly in a short amount of time. For example, if you are taking chocolate out of the freezer, you must keep it for 24 hours in the refrigerator, and then move it out. After that, allow the chocolate to reach room temperature before removing it from its container.
Similarly, if you would like to place your chocolates in the freezer, you must first place them in the refrigerator for 24 hours, and then move to the freezer after in order to prevent temperature shock.
Chocolate Turns White
You may have noticed that chocolate which has melted and rehardened has a whitish coating and becomes irregularly shaped. That is the cocoa butter of the chocolate struggling to quickly adjust to the different temperature settings and has endured thermal shock as a result.
Cocoa butter molecules are sensitive to temperature adjustment, and as discussed earlier must gradually adjust to the temperature settings rather than directly switched significantly from low to high setting or high to low. Otherwise, the thermal shock causes the disfigured shape, grainy texture, and white coating on the chocolate.
The white irregularly shaped chocolate you may have noticed from taking directly out of your freezer out into the open is a direct result of thermal shock. The shock the chocolate endures from being moved from the freezer into the warm causes condensation, which makes the sugar bloom and the white coating forms as a result.
You now know the best way to store chocolate in order to keep it fresh, so here are a few other helpful tips to ensure keeping your chocolate at its very best.
Cocoa butter is a highly odor absorbent fat, therefore it is important to keep away from baking extracts, condiments, or anything else with a strong odor.
Chocolates such as milk chocolate, white chocolate, and caramel are not necessarily pure chocolates, therefore they (along with other non-pure chocolates) are not as resistant to thermal shock and more likely to endure flavor and texture changes.
There you have it. Now that you have become a chocolate storing master, don’t wait to place your order on Chocolate Counter’s site, or better yet sign up for our extravagant monthly subscription boxes to ensure you get your dose of sweet deliciousness on a consistent basis. Once you have your box in person, your taste buds will communicate with you to not worry about storage; your Chocolate Counter care package will be consumed before you even know it.