Whether you're a baker or whether you take advantage of those post-holiday chocolate sales, you CAN store chocolate in your pantry for long-term, and here's how!
We all love a good chocolate haul. I bet you even have a secret stash in your house somewhere that you keep from everyone else!
If you are a baker, you've probably got a collection of great chocolate. But you don't want it to go stale, do you?
And what if you just scored huge on a bunch of really cheap candy in the post-holiday sales?! What do you do with all of it if you want it to last a little longer until the next time chocolate goes on sale again?
Well, girlfriend (and guy friend - let's be all-inclusive here - most everyone loves a bit of chocolate), let me show you how!
How to Store Chocolate for Long-Term
In general, the shelf life of chocolate is 1 year for milk chocolate and two years for dark chocolate.
►Store chocolate in a cool dark place - preferably between 60-70F for best results.
Special notations are made with each storage method about bringing to room temperature for usage.
Why Store Chocolate?
Besides, take advantage of really great after-holiday sales to have some around for other things you want to do like bake or create treats for your family. Why pay full price when you can get it for 50-70% off after holiday sales?
Storing Chocolate in the Pantry
If you're like us, you may have a container full of chocolate leftover from last Halloween in your pantry. Or, you have quite the collection of baking chocolates. Or perhaps, you just hoard chocolate chips!
Here are the items I used in the video - all available from Amazon
- Vacuum Sealer My FoodSaver vacuum sealer is no longer being produced, but this is a good equivalent
- Food Saver Vacuum Sealer Jar Attachments These work with any machine that has a port for the hose (or the handheld version)
- Food Saver Vacuum Sealer Hand-Held Vacuum Sealer
- Pint and a Half Canning Jars
Check out my The Purposeful Pantry Recommends page for even more tools to get you started on your food storage journey.
How to Store Chocolate in the Refrigerator
For those of us who live in climates where keeping you pantry below 70F is problematic, refrigeration may be your next best bet. Or if you're storing fancy, hand-made chocolates, you'll want to keep them in the fridge since the chocolates may not have been set with stabilizers like wax, and may tend to melt easily.
►Instead of just storing your chocolates in the bags they came in, consider switching to freezer storage bags to help extend their freshness. This includes individual pieces as well as bar or cooking chocolates.
But just as with freezing, condensation from allowing chocolate to come to room temperature and then put back into the fridge can cause sugar bloom*. Take out only what you need, then wrap what you have in a linen towel to help absorb any surface moisture from the warm-up.
How to Store Chocolate in the Freezer
Either vacuum seal your chocolate into vacuum-sealed bags like these, or put them into freezer-safe zip-top bags (and consider double bagging). You can extend the life of your chocolate to about eighteen months this way.
►Fancy filled chocolates may not be the best candidates for freezer storage as their centers, such as caramel, cremes, etc., may not be as pleasant after they've thawed. They can take on a grainy texture that may not make the treat as enjoyable.
But as a precaution - don't take your chocolate out of the freezer and allow to come to room temp and then throw it back in again. That's one of the causes of sugar bloom on freezer stored chocolate. Thaw it in the refrigerator first.
Can I Store Baking Chocolate This Way?
Yes, you can! You can vacuum seal your baking chocolate in food storage bags for a longer storage option, or just put them in freezer-safe zip-top bags. You can store them in the freezer, but be mindful of the thaw factor mentioned below. Take out only what you really need. I tend to break my chocolate up into pieces to help with that.
How to Save Halloween Candy
What is Chocolate Bloom?
There are two types of bloom that happen to chocolate:
Sugar bloom is a white, blotchy texture on the surface of your chocolate. It is usually caused by allowing chocolate to come to room temperature, and then reduced quickly to chilled temperature. The sugar crystals that are drawn to the surface from condensation stay on the surface in the quick chill from being returned to the fridge. Chocolate that has sugar bloomed cannot be re-tempered.
Fat bloom, on the other hand, is the white, slick texture that covers the surface of your chocolate. It is usually from temperature fluctuations in your dry storage. If your pantry goes through succeeding cycles of being a little too warm (above 70-75F), and the chocolate fats (cocoa butter) at the surface begin to soften, they leave a film on the surface.
In either case, bloom doesn't really affect the taste of chocolate. You can still use them in baking just fine.
YES! You can store chocolate, just be mindful of the temperature you store chocolate at. Storing your chocolate in airtight containers helps alleviate issues of moisture that causes bloom, and keeps it fresher, longer. Vacuum sealing can extend your shelf life even longer than a year! So grab those chocolate chips when they go on sale, hoard that holiday chocolate!
So tell me.....
Which do you prefer -- milk or dark chocolate? And are you a hoarder of chocolate?
Other Food Storage Posts you might like:
- 10 Creative Ways to Use Beans ... even if you hate them.
- Basic Pantry Staples Checklist
- How to Store Bacon for Your Pantry