Can chocolate spoil? (3 Reasons it could)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can chocolate spoil? We will discuss the reasons which make chocolate spoil later and sooner than it would otherwise. We will discuss the shelf-lives of some common chocolates as well.

Can chocolate spoil?

Chocolate can and will spoil eventually. However, it makes it to the list of the least perishable foods, making them last for a few bonus years. 

Whether or not chocolate is prone to spoilage depends on the content of cacao butter in a bar and the moisture or milk content.

Nonetheless, some factors can cause the quality of chocolate to decline, these can be fat bloom, sugar bloom, substandard ingredients, or perishable ingredients. 

After which the span of chocolate comes down to how you handle and store it.

The ingredients such as cream and butter that sometimes constitute the chocolate can cause it to spoil. In addition, nuts, caramels, raisins and other wet fillings also make chocolate spoil.

Fat bloom occurs when cocoa fat rises to the surface, causing white or grey streaks to appear on the surface. When exposed to heat, chocolate undergoes fat- bloom. 

Sometimes crystals appear on the surface called sugar bloom. Sugar bloom is somewhat similar to fat bloom; however, it is caused by moisture. Condensates can come from the environment or even from an improperly-tempered chocolate.

Why doesn’t chocolate spoil?

The longevity of chocolate depends on several variables. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate keep for varying lengths of time. Chocolates last longer than usual foods due to their refined characteristics. Chocolate contains little to no water and a lot of sugar. Less water and more sugar collectively have a significant impact on the stability of chocolate. Also, the presence of a compound called flavonoids prevents the fat in chocolate from oxidation.

Processed chocolate has plenty of sugar added, which keeps moisture and bacterial activity at bay. Chocolates succumb to funguses and molds which takes a long while to grow.

Chocolate can last years as its degradation process is relatively slow. However, its quality does decline when it passes its prime.

How long do some of the chocolate ingredients and commonly eaten chocolates last?

1. Cacao powder does not spoil in its sealed container; it will last for more than a decade. An opened cacao package will last for 2-3 years.

2. Solid dark chocolate lasts for two years, while white chocolate lasts for three to four months.    Solid milk chocolate lasts for a year.

Dark Chocolate could last 2 or 3 years after its printed date before it starts to grow mold.

3.Filled chocolates such as truffles have a span of three or four months. Truffles can last longer if they have preservatives added. Truffles might last a week over its best-by date.

4. Gourmet Chocolate lasts for 24 hours at least and more if you handle them properly.

5. Chocolate chips last for 3 years if they are made of dark chocolate. However, milk chocolate chips will last for around 2 years.

Other FAQs about Chocolate that you may be interested in.

Can you freeze chocolate frosting?

Can you freeze chocolate?

What is the difference between semisweet and milk chocolate?

How to store chocolate?

The ideal temperature to store chocolate is between 65 to 68 Fahrenheit. The humidity should stay at 55%. A lower humidity would cause the emulsion of cocoa butter and cocoa solids to break.  Also, store it somewhere it cannot pick up aroma from another food. The vegetable oil in chocolate can pick up volatile compounds from implacable flavors.

To protect the chocolate from spoiling, we need to store it in an airtight vessel. By preventing air from reaching our edibles, we are blocking contaminants capable of causing food spoilage. If oxygen is allowed access to the chocolate, it would cause oxidation and negatively impact the flavor profile.

Exposure to sunlight also makes the flavor profile of chocolate less appealing.

If you expect your chocolates to last longer for up to a year, you can freeze them. Follow the same packaging procedure as above and put it in the fridge. Let it sit in for 24 hours, then move it to the freezer. When you are ready to eat your chocolates, take them out from the freezer and leave it in the fridge. By not letting the chocolate experience temperature shock, you are further preserving the quality of your chocolates.

There is no need to be alarmed unless you spot a green or mold-like appearance on the chocolate. This signals spoilage caused by moisture.

If we talk of premium or homemade chocolates, you can expect them to have a shorter life than the industrially manufactured ones. Your ultra-expensive chocolate stored at room temperature would stay edible for two to three weeks. Putting them in the fridge would prolong its life by two or three months. In the freezer, they would last for six months.

In this brief guide, we answered the question, can chocolate spoil? We discussed the reasons which make chocolate spoil later and sooner than it would otherwise. We discussed the shelf lives of some common chocolates.


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