guest post by: isabella lovett
Keeping Your Chocolate Fresh and Scrumptious
Bulk buying has been the trend in the US in 2020 as people try to avoid making unnecessary trips to the grocery store. which means that if you love chocolate, you probably have bought or are considering buying a few months' supply of it to be on the safe side when you need to bake or eat it on its own. While there's nothing wrong with buying even a year's supply of chocolate (since there's no such thing as too much chocolate), you must ensure that you store it properly to prevent a loss in flavor or texture. Plus, even though chocolate has a long shelf life, it can and will go bad if you store it carelessly, becoming potentially dangerous to whoever finally eats it. To keep your chocolate as fresh and sweet as the day you bought it, here are some tips for choosing how and where to store it.
The no-fridge option
Your best option for storing chocolate, particularly if you want to be able to have some of it whenever you feel like it, is a cool, dark, and dry place. Whether it's in your pantry, a kitchen cabinet, or your bedside table, there are three main things you must protect your chocolate from; heat, humidity, and strong odors. When it comes to heat, aim for a temperature of between 60-70°F. The obvious reason why you want to avoid storing your chocolate in a hot environment is to prevent melting which can destroy the texture and disturb any art that was molded into the bar. Another reason is that over time, heat slowly drives away the aroma and flavor of the chocolate. Frequent exposure to high temperatures can also cause the cocoa butter in your chocolate to rise to the surface, creating a fat bloom that looks like a whitish haze on the outside.
Humidity is another thing to consider when choosing a storage location for your chocolate. Ideally, the relative humidity should not exceed 50 percent. This is because excess moisture may condense on the bar, drawing out the sugar to the surface to cause a sugar bloom and in some cases, your chocolate can even go bad. Lastly, make sure that the place you choose is clean and free from any bad odors. You don't want your chocolate coming into contact with any dirty surfaces as it only takes a second for dangerous bacteria to latch on, forcing you to toss it into the trash bin. On top of that, cocoa butter absorbs any odors around it which negatively affects the taste of your chocolate.
Storing chocolate in the fridge
Most chocolate experts will advise you to avoidstoring your chocolate in a refrigerator and for good reasons; low temperatures may disturb the crystalline structure of your chocolate which can cause bloom, affect texture, or both. However, sometimes it's unavoidable to use the fridge. Maybe you want to store your chocolate for a long time (more than six months) or you're in the middle of the summer and you don't have air conditioning. Whatever your reasons are, there are a few rules you must follow.
First of all, make sure that all your chocolate is tightly wrapped in a moisture-proof plastic wrap or sealed in a Ziploc bag then placed in an airtight container. This will protect your chocolate from the high humidity levels in the fridge. To avoid temperature shock, keep your chocolate in the refrigerator for 24 hours before moving it to the freezer for as long as you need to store it. When it's time to eat it, take out only the amount you need and allow it to warm up to room temperature before opening to prevent moisture from condensing on your chocolate.
As a chocolate lover, there's nothing that will ruin your day quicker than opening a bar that you had hidden away in the fridge or cabinet only to find that it has turned white or lost that flavor and texture you were looking forward to. But, if you follow the storage tips above, you can still have an amazing chocolate -tasting experience whether you're having it weeks, months, or even a year from now!