A culinary delight that is enjoyed by most people all over the world is chocolate. In fact, very few people don’t enjoy the richness and versatility of the tasty treat. People want it as a sweet reward at the end of a long day, as part of a dessert, and in baking.
However, with chocolate being so popular among people of all ages, we can’t help but wonder whether chocolate goes bad.
Does Chocolate Go Bad?
Since chocolate contains a significant amount of milk and some perishable ingredients, it can go bad. In addition, components added to the chocolate, like fruit, can affect the shelflife of chocolate further.
For that reason, it is standard practice for chocolate to come with a recommended date of consumption. However, the accuracy of the date will depend on various factors, including how you store your chocolate and the kind of chocolate.
How Long Does Chocolate Last?
It would be practically impossible to give an exact time of how long all chocolate lasts since there are so many variations of chocolate. In addition, the ingredients and storage also play a significant part in how long chocolate lasts.
Usually, chocolate of higher quality will last much longer than chocolate of low quality. Furthermore, dark chocolate tends to last much longer than white or milk chocolate. The antioxidants found in dark chocolate extend the shelf life dramatically. Belgium chocolate has an even shorter shelf life than milk and white chocolate.
Chocolate chips made with dark chocolate have an impressive shelf life and can last for up to three years if kept in the fridge. The chocolate with the shortest shelf life is a milk chocolate truffle since it isn’t recommended to be held in the refrigerator or freezer. Therefore, it is best to consume all of it within two weeks.
How Long Does Chocolate Last?
|In the pantry||In the fridge||In the freezer|
|Milk chocolate||2 – 4 months||3 – 5 months||6 – 8 months|
|White chocolate||2 – 3 months||2 – 4 months||4 – 6 months|
|Dark chocolate||6 – 8 months||10 – 12 months||2 years|
|Belgium chocolate||1 – 2 weeks||2 – 4 weeks||2 – 4 months|
|Chocolate chips||2 – 4 months||6 – 8 months||3 years|
4 TIps to Tell if Chocolate has Gone Bad
Those of us who love chocolate are always disappointed when we finally get to bite into our favorite milky delight only to find that it has gone bad. Therefore, it is excellent to know how to tell whether our chocolate has gone past its best.
If you are unsure whether your chocolate is still fresh and fit for consumption, you can keep these tips in mind:
Look at the chocolate carefully
Often chocolate that has gone past its best will look discolored and show signs of crystallization. Therefore, if you notice that your chocolate has changed color or has lighter spots in certain areas, you should not eat it.
The reason for the color change is called a sugar bloom. This is when the sugar in the chocolate separates from the mixture and rises to the top. Eating chocolate that has gone through a sugar bloom isn’t pleasant since it will taste quite dull and grainy.
Likewise, if your chocolate shows any signs of mold contamination, you must avoid eating it. Lastly, if your chocolate contains ingredients such as fruit or nuts that show signs of being rotten, it is best to throw the chocolate away.
Your chocolate should maintain the rich and smooth appearance that it had at the date of purchase. However, as time passes, the appearance of chocolate changes indicating that it isn’t fresh anymore.
Smell the chocolate
Although chocolate that has passed its best won’t necessarily smell bad, it will no longer have that deep and wonderfully rich chocolate scent. So if you notice that your chocolate has become rather scentless, it is probably not as fresh as you’d like.
Touch your chocolate
The texture of chocolate changes as time passes. Therefore, if your chocolate has become overly soft or grainy, it is best to throw it out.
Taste a small piece of the chocolate
If you have examined, smelled, and touched your chocolate and you’re still not sure whether it is fresh, you can try a small piece of it. Chocolate should be enjoyable and delicious, so if you notice that your chocolate has become unpleasant or rancid, you shouldn’t eat more of it.
4 TIps to Store Chocolate
Chocolate lovers always hope to get the most out of their chocolate, and so it is always beneficial to know how to store chocolate correctly. By keeping your chocolate perfectly, you might be able to extend its shelf life by months.
Keep these tips in mind when you store your chocolate:
A cool, dry place is best
If you don’t live in very hot and humid conditions, there isn’t really a need for you to store your chocolate in the fridge or freezer. In fact, chocolate is stored best outside of the refrigerator and freezer. So if you live in a place where your chocolate won’t melt outside of the fridge, keep it in your pantry.
It is best to keep your chocolate in your pantry if you live in a place that doesn’t have temperatures that differ too much from day to day and that doesn’t surpass 70°F. Also, a humidity of less than 55% is best for chocolate to keep at its best.
Unfortunately, the conditions in your refrigerator or freezer can boost your chocolate’s chances of developing sugar blooms; it is a good option if you live in an area with very high and humid conditions.
Store it away from ingredients with strong scents and flavors
It is essential that you keep your chocolate stored away from ingredients that have a strong aroma because the cocoa butter in your chocolate is likely to adopt the scent of ingredients like curry, kimchi, or spices.
Keep your chocolate in an airtight-container
If your chocolate is in contact with oxygen, it will begin to oxidize. When this happens, your chocolate will become unpleasant. That is why you should always keep any opened chocolate in an air-tight container.
Avoid direct sunlight or heat elements
As with most food products, exposure to direct sunlight or heat elements isn’t ideal. In fact, if your chocolate gets heated and melted by heat elements or sunlight and then solidifies again later, it will not keep its quality for very long.
That is why it is very important that you avoid any storage where your chocolate will be in contact with your heat elements like your stove or oven or direct sunlight.
The Risk of Consuming Expired Chocolate
Unfortunately, eating an old chocolate bar can make you sick. The reason for this is that chocolate is made with various oils and cocoa butter. If these oils become old, they can be rancid and can cause significant abdominal cramping and diarrhea.
Dark chocolate tends to age much better than other kinds of chocolate and is generally considered safe to enjoy even after expiration. However, white and milk chocolate shouldn’t be enjoyed after expiration.
Chocolate containing added ingredients such as nuts and fruit offers additional risks since the added components can contain mold contamination. That is why you should rather throw old chocolate away. People who have sensitive digestive systems should especially take caution not to consume any expired chocolate.
Can You Freeze Chocolate?
It is entirely possible to freeze chocolate. In fact, freezing chocolate doesn’t offer any health risks. Therefore, it is common for people to store their chocolate in their freezer if they live in hot and humid conditions or have a large amount of chocolate on hand. Bakers also enjoy keeping their chocolate in the freezer so that it lasts longer.
However, it is essential to note that frozen chocolate doesn’t carry the same features as chocolate that has been kept at room temperature. For example, when chocolate is frozen, it is more likely to experience crystallization. This doesn’t mean that the defrosted chocolate will be unenjoyable but instead shows the importance of avoiding the defrosting and refreezing of chocolate.
If you enjoy cold chocolate, keep it in your freezer, but only remove it if you are sure that you will eat it soon so that you don’t end up having to put it back in the freezer after a few hours. For this reason, it is a good idea to break your chocolate into smaller pieces and freeze it separately if you buy in bulk.
Most people will tell you they love chocolate because it is delicious, rich, and creamy. It is also very versatile and can add excitement and variety to most desserts and late-night treats. That is why we all want the most out of our chocolate. By keeping the storage tips in mind, you can always enjoy your chocolate and never have to throw it away because your chocolate has gone bad.