Whether you have just received sugar free chocolates as a gift or purchased small gourmet candies for a dinner party, it's important to understand the basics of chocolate in order to make the most of your investment. Similar to other foods, this delectable concoction has a standard shelf life and must be stored in the right conditions to last for an extended period of time. Familiarizing yourself with these tips can make sure you never reach into your pantry and find yourself disappointed once you pull out an old bar of chocolate.
Storing Chocolate Properly
Many people assume that chocolate should be immediately refrigerated in order to extend its lifespan, but TifaChocolate.com reports that a temperature between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit is enough to keep this food at its best. Whether it be truffles or candy bars, chocolate should also ideally be in a dry area where moisture cannot cause it to melt or warp.
CDKitchen.com reports that when chocolate is allowed to exposed to warmth over time, it can develop bloom - a white, powdery substance that sits on top of the food. When melted down, bloom disappears, but it can easily be avoided altogether with proper storage methods.
The Shelf Life of Chocolate
Experts tend to agree that the shelf life of chocolate varies according to type, style and the ingredients used, but there are certain standards that you can go by at home. TifaChocolate.com reports that white chocolate tends to last between 3 to 4 months when stored properly. Milk chocolate can last between 9 to 12 months, while semisweet, bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate can survive up to 18 months.
Finding Good Quality Chocolate
The key to finding chocolate that can retain its taste over time is to invest in high-quality. Ideally, chocolate should be glossy and unblemished when you buy it - look for any bloom that may have developed while the delectable treat was sitting on store shelves. The Chicago Tribune reports that good chocolate will also contain no vegetable or animal fat.
It's important to note that even with proper storage, chocolate is prone to expiring and becoming bad, similar to other perishable foods. EatByDate.com states that chocolate bars can be eaten 2 to 4 months after the printed date, but truffles should be consumed no more than 1 to 2 weeks after the date marked. Similarly, Belgian chocolate can only be eaten 1 to 2 weeks past the printed date.