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Chocolate is the most popular sweet treat around the world. It's known for the high amount of antioxidants that decrease the risk of heart disease, the effects of stress, slow aging, and many other benefits. Melting chocolate is also popular and is used to decorate other sweets. So if you've ever found forgotten chocolate in your baking cupboard, you might be wondering if you can still use it. For your convenience, we brought you the answer.
Chocolate of any kind does not last forever. Unopened, melting chocolate can last up to 2 years. If it's been opened, then it needs to be used within the year.
If you still have some questions about the shelf life of melting chocolate, don't worry. In this post, we'll discuss the topic in more detail. Keep reading below for some additional tips and facts about your favorite sweet treat. We'll talk about expiration dates, blooming chocolate, and more!
How Long Do Chocolates Last?
Different kinds of chocolates have different shelf lives. If the chocolate has a higher cocoa percentage, it will have a longer shelf life. That includes dark and baking chocolate, bittersweet, and semi-sweet chocolate. These kinds of chocolates stay good and fresh for up to 2 years.
Milk chocolate is quite popular, and a lot of holiday candies are made of milk chocolate. If you find a piece of Valentine's candy at Thanksgiving, it's likely to still be good to eat unless other ingredients are in it like nuts or peanut butter. Chocolates with other things in them tend to go bad a bit faster.
White chocolate is a bit different from the others. White chocolate is made of dairy and cocoa butter which means it's likely to go bad way before the darker chocolates. It has a shelf life of up to 6 months unopened.
How Do You Know When Melting Chocolate Is Bad?
If you notice that any of your chocolate has any kind of mold or foul odor, then it's high time to throw it in the trash. If you find that there are any cracks in the chocolate's surface, chances are good that your chocolate is stale.
And if it smells and looks like chocolate, it'll most likely taste like it as well. When in doubt, you should always use your best judgment. Anything questionable is better off being tossed out.
When your chocolate "blooms," that means it's been stored improperly. It will be either cocoa butter or sugar that will separate from the chocolate. This will cause a white or gray film on the surface. There are two types of blooms that can happen: sugar bloom or fat bloom.
Sugar blooms happen when your chocolate is exposed to moisture. Humidity breaks down the sugar crystals, so when the water evaporates, the sugar crystallizes again and leaves a white, dusty coating on your chocolate.
Sudden temperature changes cause your chocolate to have what's called a fat bloom. It causes the lipid structure in your chocolate to become unstable and makes the fat rise onto the surface of the chocolate. You'll know it's a fat bloom by spotting gray or white marks on the chocolate's surface.
Luckily, blooms don't affect the edibility of chocolate. While it won't taste like fresh chocolate, it will instead taste very grainy and powdery.
Signs Of Spoilage
Now that you know that blooming chocolate is not necessarily spoiled, we'll go over what constitutes spoiled chocolate.
If your chocolate has any signs of discoloration or mold, it should be thrown out immediately. Any cracks or dots also indicate that it has gone stale and should be thrown out.
The smell is also a good indicator of chocolate that's gone off. Spoiled chocolate tends to smell very bad.
Most of all, if the chocolate tastes bad you shouldn't eat it. Make a very small test bite and spit it out immediately if tastes off at all. You should also take note of the "use by" date on the package.
Can Old Chocolate Make You Sick?
No, expired chocolate will not make you very sick if you eat it. It might not taste great, but it will not harm you. At most, you might end up with an upset stomach.
How Long Does Melted Chocolate Stay Melted?
Once you've tempered your chocolate to the correct temperature and consistency, it will stay thin and melted for about 2-3 hours. After that time, the chocolate will get stiff again and has to be retempered.
How Can You Make Chocolate Last Longer?
If you ever need to keep your chocolate fresh for longer than 24 hours (difficult, we know!), below are some tips on how to keep it nice and fresh!
Do not refrigerate your chocolate! Chocolate can easily absorb odors from your fridge. Being in the fridge also introduces your chocolate to moisture and can lead to sugar bloom.
Instead of the fridge, we recommend storing your chocolate in a cool, dry place. Try to keep it below 70 degrees at around 65-68 degrees and a humidity level of less than 55%. In those conditions, your chocolate will stay stable for months.
We understand that sometimes refrigeration is needed, especially if you live in a warmer region. If you need to chill your chocolate, be sure to tightly wrap it to protect it from odors and condensation and then seal it in an airtight container.
Whenever you take it back out, let it sit out for a while to come to room temperature before unwrapping and enjoying it.
However, you still need to remember that chocolate picks up the smell of things around it, so unless you want it to smell like whatever is in your pantry, be sure to seal it in an airtight container. Oxygen oxidizes chocolate which causes the flavor profile to diminish.
Another tip is to keep your precious chocolate away from the light—not only sunlight but artificial light as well. They both can cause the flavors to turn bad.
If for whatever reason you need to store your chocolate for more than a few months, your freezer can be your best friend. Be sure to follow the same instructions for placing your chocolate in the fridge.
After 24 hours in the fridge, you can then move it to the freezer. This will prevent temperature shock and preserve the silky texture.
When you're ready to enjoy your sweets, just follow the steps in reverse—move it from the freezer to the fridge, wait 24 hours, then remove it from the chill box. Remember to always eat your chocolate at room temperature!
Does Melting Chocolate Need To Be Refrigerated?
Once you've tempered your chocolate and you've decorated all your cookies with it, what do you do with the leftovers?
When your chocolate has hardened, you can chop it up or peel it and store it in a sealed bag in the refrigerator. Make sure the bag is sealed to protect your chocolate from odors and contaminants in your fridge.
Don't let that precious chocolate go to waste! You can use it in a wide array of recipes from ice cream, scones, pancakes, and more.
Another tip is to not let your chocolate harden in the bowl, which will make it extremely difficult to remove later. Instead, once it's cooling down, pour it onto a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. That will make it easy to chop up once it's cooled completely.
We hope we've answered all your questions regarding melting chocolates and regular chocolates so you can enjoy your sweets for longer. Be sure to check out a few other articles about chocolate: