So you’ve purchased a bar of delicious chocolate (or several) and you aren’t able to finish it all in one sitting. You might be inclined to toss the chocolate into the fridge or onto a pantry shelf, but that would be doing the chocolate—and your taste buds—a disservice.
When chocolate isn’t stored properly, the appealing aspects of its appearance, texture, and flavor can be lost. So if you’ve already spent your hard-earned dollars on a quality bar, you can ensure you get your money’s worth by storing it right. Here are the don’ts and do’s of properly storing solid chocolate.
First, the don’ts:
Don’t store chocolate in the refrigerator. There are several reasons for this. First, chocolate is liable to absorb strong odors from anything near it. (And nobody wants their chocolate to taste like onions.) Secondly, the moisture that’s naturally present in every fridge can cause the chocolate’s sugars to the rise to the surface and turn the surface to a milky color. (This is called a “sugar bloom”.)
If you absolutely must put chocolate in the refrigerator in order to prevent it from melting (say, if you live in Houston, it’s summer, and you don’t have air conditioning), make sure to wrap it up tightly in tin foil and then seal it in an airtight container to minimize the downsides of refrigeration. Allow the chocolate to return to room temperature before eating or cooking with it.
Don’t store chocolate in the freezer. For all of the reasons above times a bunch!
Don’t store chocolate in direct light. Exposure to both artificial light and natural sunlight can change the flavor of chocolate (and not in a good way).
- Don’t store chocolate near strongly-scented foods. Chocolate doesn’t just absorb odors in the refrigerator; it will pick up the strong scents of anything around it no matter where it’s stored. So make sure to store it away from garlic, onions, herbs and spices, and so on.
Next, the do’s:
Do store chocolate in a cool, dry place. The ideal temperature for chocolate is approximately 65 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, but anywhere between 60 and 70 degrees should be sufficient so long as the temperature remains consistent. The ideal humidity for chocolate is less than 55 percent. These conditions enable the cocoa butter and cocoa solids to remain stable. When chocolate is exposed to higher heat, it may lose its flavor and/or melt. Melted chocolate that has resolidified generally has a compromised texture and consistency.
- Do store chocolate in an airtight container. This serves two purposes. First, it helps protect the chocolate from moisture, which (as noted above) can cause a gross-looking (albeit harmless) “sugar bloom”. Second, it reduces the chocolate’s exposure to oxygen, which can alter the chocolate’s flavor if the chocolate isn’t kept locked up tight.
If you follow these storage instructions, most chocolate will keep for at least several months. That’s a general rule, of course (and it can vary depending on the type of chocolate product in question). If you’re ever unsure about how a given chocolate product could be stored, don’t hesitate to reach out to its manufacturer. Here at TCHO, we love answering questions from our chocolate-loving customers! Feel free to email info [at] tcho.com!