In this brief guide, we will answer the question ‘How long does Chocolate last?’. We will also consider the factors that impact the shelf-life of chocolate. Then, we discuss the role of external factors on ‘How long does chocolate last?’.
How long does chocolate last?
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 flavenoids prevents the fat in chocolate from oxidation.
Chocolate can last years as its degradation process is relatively slow. However, its quality does decline when it passes its prime.
- Solid dark chocolate lasts for two years, while white chocolate lasts for three to four months. Solid milk chocolate lasts for a year.
- Filled chocolates such as truffles have a span of three or four months. Truffles can last longer if they have preservatives added.
- Gourmet Chocolate lasts for 24 hours at least and more if you handle them properly.
Let us look at measures that we can take so that our chocolate doesn’t expire earlier than it should.
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.
Other FAQs about Chocolate which you may be interested in.
To refrigerate or not to refrigerate?
Chocolate is sweet enough to be kept unrefrigerated unless you are experiencing warm summers. The high sugar content prevents a slightly higher temperature from doing any harm to the chocolate. Refrigeration can cause loss instead as it would cause chocolate to absorb odor. If the flavor stays good, it can deteriorate the chocolate’s color by causing sugar bloom.
However, warm climates and no air conditioning call for refrigeration. Before you do so, make sure to wrap it up in a film and put it in an airtight container. When you take it out of the fridge, let it reach room temperature, and then remove its packaging. By doing so would ensure that your chocolate lasts for three to six months.
When exposed to heat, chocolate undergoes a process called fat- bloom. 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 a process called fat- bloom. Fat bloom occurs when cocoa fat rises to the surface, causing white or grey streaks to appear on the surface. Sometimes crystals appear on the surface called sugar bloom.
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 as spoilage caused by moisture.
If the climate is humid and tends to exceed 70 Fahrenheit and you need to preserve your chocolates for more than a month, you should refrigerate or freeze them. If your chocolate is at an ideal temperature and humidity, you can expect it to last 6 to 9 months.
If you store your chocolate in the fridge, its expiration extends by about 25%. If you choose to freeze, the lifespan of chocolate increases by 50%. Put your chocolate box in a sealed plastic bag and freeze it for up to 15 months.
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 ‘How long does Chocolate last?’. We also considered the factors that impact the shelf-life of chocolates in detail. In conclusion, the role of external factors on ‘How long does chocolate last?’ is significant.