Does Chocolate Go Bad?
Chocolate is a product obtained from cocoa beans and is one of the most consumed foods in the world. Its basic composition is based on a mixture of cocoa mass and cocoa butter, to which other ingredients such as milk, sugar, and nuts can be added. We may have a bar of chocolate stored at home for a long time and not know if it is still edible or not, especially if we observe changes in its texture and color.
In the following oneHOWTO article, you will learn if chocolate goes bad and how you can store it to keep it fresh longer.
Does chocolate go bad?
Chocolate is a non-perishable food, so it is assumed that it will not expire, although this statement has some nuances. Since bacteria cannot live in chocolate, chocolates have no expiration date. Even if a bloom appears or your chocolate has a strange smell, you can still eat it without hesitation.
Chocolate has a best before date, which indicates the period during which the product is edible under optimal conditions, that is, it retains all its properties such as aroma, texture, color, and taste to be delicious. If this date has passed, it does not mean that we can no longer eat the chocolate, but it would be better to check their condition.
In general, the date that indicates the preferred expiration date is between 12 and 24 months, but the actual "shelf life" of chocolate depends on two factors:
- Type of chocolate: the purer it is, that is, the higher its cocoa content, the longer its shelf life, while the more milk it contains in the chocolate, the faster it loses its flavor. This means that white chocolate and milk chocolate do not have as long a shelf life as dark chocolate. This is because white chocolate, which consists almost exclusively of milk and cocoa butter, loses its quality the fastest.
- Storage: to avoid changing the properties of chocolate, it is necessary to store it properly. Factors such as temperature variations can quickly affect the taste, texture, and appearance of chocolate. In the following sections, we explain in more detail how to store chocolate properly so that it lasts longer.
In summary, chocolate does not go bad, but if it is stored for too long, it may not be as good as we would like to eat it.
If you want to learn more about chocolate, do not miss the following article, where we explain if chocolate is fattening.
Can altered chocolate be eaten?
There is no proven method to determine if chocolate is spoiled. In general, if chocolate smells good and tastes good, it is safe to eat. As mentioned earlier, chocolate is a non-perishable food, meaning it will not go bad or spoil. Very old chocolate, while probably still edible, has very little of its original flavor left. You may also notice some signs in your chocolate that, although they may be unpleasant, do not mean that the chocolate is inedible, such as white spots and dots.
These white spots and dots on your chocolate bar are signs of "fat bloom" or "sugar bloom" that usually occur when the chocolate has been exposed to temperature changes or hasn't been stored properly.
- Fat bloom: is the waxy white coating that forms when liquid fat, such as milk fat or cocoa butter, runs through the chocolate and crystallizes on the surface.
- Sugar bloom: it is typically caused by moisture in the package pulling the sugar out of the confectionery, causing that sugar to crystallize on the surface. The sugar glaze is often dry and can cause your chocolate to feel a little grainy or sandy.
If you don't want to throw away chocolate with these unsightly stains on it, you can definitely eat it as is, although the taste will probably be diminished compared to a fresher bar. However, not everything is lost, because you can reuse this chocolate by melting it down. Homemade hot cocoa or drinking chocolate are the perfect uses for your leftover chocolate.
Do not miss this other article where we explain how you can easily make hot chocolate brownies in the microwave from your chocolate leftovers.
How to store chocolate and keep it fresh
The way we store chocolate plays an important role in preserving it in good conditions. Among the simplest ways to store chocolate at home are:
- Find a cool, dry place: It's best to store chocolate in a cool, dry place without strong odors. The pantry is usually a good place for this, as it is usually used to store food and protects it from sunlight. It also has a relatively stable temperature throughout the year without constant sources of cold or heat.
- Avoid the refrigerator: If we keep a candy bar in the refrigerator, we will find that the cold has affected its taste. In addition, it may be affected by other foods that are normally kept in the refrigerator, such as cheese, sausage, or fish. Chocolate is hygroscopic, that is, it has the property of absorbing all the odors in its environment, so the refrigerator is not the best place to store it.
- Use an airtight bag: even if it is not advisable to keep the chocolate in the refrigerator, we can keep it in an airtight bag so that it does not spoil or acquire bad odors. The freezer bags with seal are very good for this purpose. If you want, you can also store the chocolate in a glass jar or in a metal container with aluminum foil.
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