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How long does chocolate last?

My family and friends say I am a sweet tooth and I could not agree more. I have a weakness for everything sweet, and chocolate happens to be one of my favorites. I absolutely love chocolate. There’s something about it that just makes me happy.

I am one of those people that just eat any type of chocolate, be it white chocolate, dark chocolate, or milk chocolate. I also have this habit of storing some for a ‘rainy day’. You know those days when you are feeling sad and only chocolate can make things better? Yes, those days. There is no better treat than a chocolate treat.

There is this one time I came across a bar of dark chocolate that I had bought about a year ago. Turns out I had completely forgotten about its existence. I started wondering if it had gone bad.

With my fingers crossed, I researched on how long chocolates last because now that I had seen it, I badly wanted to have some. I ended up acquiring so much information about chocolate and I am more than happy to share it with you.

So, how long does chocolate last? When stored properly, white chocolate can last for up to six months past the best by date. Milk chocolate also lasts for six months past the best by date. Dark chocolate has a longer shelf life and can last for up to one year past the best by date. Does chocolate go bad? Yes, it does. Chocolate can actually get spoilt.

When you use chocolate to prepare a dish, it will definitely be the last ingredient to expire. However, when one ingredient expires, the chocolate is of no good.

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The best by date

All chocolates usually come with a best by or best before date. This date does not mean that the chocolate is no longer safe to eat once the date passes.

Manufacturers put it there to estimate how long the chocolate will retain its freshness. They usually base the dates on their current data.

If your chocolate is a few months past its best by date, it is still safe to consume.

Exactly how long does Chocolate last?

We can’t really tell exactly how long chocolate lasts but we can estimate. The shelf life of your chocolate greatly depends on how and where you store it.

Chocolate that is stored in the pantry lasts for a shorter time compared to the one stored in the refrigerator and the freezer.

Below is a summary of how long chocolate lasts.

Type of chocolatePantryRefrigeratorFreezer
Milk chocolate2-4 months past the best by date4-6 months past the best by date8 months past the best by date
White chocolate2-4 months past the best by date4-6 months past the best by date8 months past the best by date
Dark chocolate1 year past the best by date1 year past the best by date1-2 years past the best by date
Chocolate chips2-4 months past the best by date6-8 months past the best by date1-2 years past the best by date

 When to throw out chocolate

Chocolate hardly spoils. It can even last for years when stored properly. However, when it stays for too long, its quality tends to deteriorate. The chocolate might still be safe to eat, but it will definitely not taste as amazing as it should. Chocolate may also get spoilt in the long run.

Sometimes you may notice whitish or grey dots forming on top of your chocolate. These dots usually indicate that your chocolate has stayed for way too long. You may not get sick when you eat it but it won’t taste great. The chocolate has lost its flavor over time. Consider using it for cooking or just get rid of it. Who wants to eat tasteless chocolate anyway?

Other times you may notice sugar-like crystals on top of the surface of your chocolate. They form when the chocolate is exposed to heat or it has stayed for some time. Your chocolate is still safe to eat but the flavor will be slightly altered. If you don’t like how it tastes it is okay to discard it for quality reasons.

If you take a bite of your chocolate bar and realize it has a waxy taste. The chocolate is no longer safe to eat. There is a possibility that you did not store it properly or it has just stayed long enough and gone bad.

When you expose your chocolate to moisture, molds may start forming on the chocolate. If you notice any molds on your chocolate, just throw it out. There is no way you can salvage it. If you eat it or use it for cooking you will get food poisoning. No one wants that.

The most obvious case where you should throw out chocolate is when its odor and texture changes. Chocolate should have a pleasing scent. If it smells off, it has definitely gone bad. Change in texture is also never a good sign. Just throw out the chocolate.

If the chocolate generally seems to be okay but it has no flavor at all, it has probably stayed for too long. Discard it for quality reasons.

Eating spoiled chocolate will have a negative impact on your health. When in doubt of whether or not the chocolate you badly want to eat is spoiled, just throw it out and go buy another bar of chocolate.

A bar of chocolate is not worth it if it will harm you.

Click to see the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes Recipe. Here

How to properly store chocolate

Like any other food item, how you store your chocolate will determine how long your chocolate will last.

Proper storage is key if you want it to last for as long as possible. Here is how to properly store your chocolate.

  • Store it in a cool and dry place.

Chocolate does not go well with moisture, and neither does it do well close to heat. You should store chocolate in a cool dry place at a temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  The pantry or kitchen cabinet will work just fine.

  • In areas that have very high temperatures, refrigerate the chocolate

If you stay in areas that have very high temperatures especially during summer, I recommend that you store your chocolate inside the refrigerator.

However, you need to make sure that you wrap it tightly and store it in an airtight container so that it does not absorb the odors of other items in your fridge.

Do not refrigerate your chocolate unless it is very necessary to do so.

  • Always store your chocolate in an airtight container

Airtight containers keep oxygen and moisture away. Oxygen tends to alter the flavor of chocolate which makes it undesirable.

Airtight containers also protect the chocolate from odors in the pantry, kitchen cabinet, fridge, or freezer.

  • Don’t store chocolate close to anything that has a strong odor

Chocolate tends to absorb the odor of anything stored close to it. No one wants chocolate that smells like garlic.

The odor that the chocolate absorbs also alters the flavor of chocolate, so store it close to food items that have little to no smell.

  • Store the chocolate away from light

Both sunlight and artificial light affect chocolate. Light promotes oxidation which alters the flavor of chocolate.

If you want your chocolate to retain its amazing flavor, store it in a dark place.

  • Keep the heat away.

Heat causes whitish or greyish streaks to form on the edges of your chocolate. It also interferes with the texture and flavor of your chocolate. Make sure you store your chocolate far away from heat.

  • Wrap well before storage

Once you open your chocolate, you need to ensure that you have wrapped it well before you store it. If you don’t, your chocolate will not last for long, and it may also absorb odors of other food items.

 To freeze or not to freeze chocolate

A lot of people ask whether it is okay to freeze chocolate. Many sources claim that you should not freeze chocolate because it will absorb moisture and eventually get spoil.

However, I disagree. You can store chocolate in a freezer as long as you wrap it well and store it inside an airtight container or a freezer bag.

Freezing only slightly lengthens the shelf life of your chocolate. There is no significant difference when you store it in the freezer and when you store it at room temperature in your pantry or kitchen cabinet.

All in all, if you would feel more comfortable storing it in the freezer, then go ahead. I recommend that you first place the chocolate in your fridge for at least 24 hours before freezing. This way, the chocolate will maintain its original texture.

How to thaw frozen chocolate

To thaw chocolate that was stored in the freezer, place it inside the fridge for 24 hours. After 24 hours, place them on your kitchen counter and let it stay at room temperature for about one hour before you eat it.

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