Chocolate is a very stable product and has a long shelf life when properly stored. Under proper conditions, dark chocolate has a shelf life of twelve months, and milk or white chocolate will keep for six months. Some simple precautions will ensure that your chocolate is in pristine condition when you are ready to use it.
- Store chocolate at a cool room temperature (about 65°F). Do not refrigerate or freeze it. Chocolate does not require refrigeration; moreover, putting chocolate into the refrigerator or freezer will cause it to pick up moisture, which will ruin both the appearance and the viscosity of the chocolate.
- Store chocolate in airtight containers. Exposure to oxygen causes the quality of chocolate to deteriorate, so it should be wrapped tightly. For longer storage, a home vacuum sealer is an ideal way to protect your chocolate from oxygen exposure. In addition to preventing oxidation, sealing chocolate tightly will help to stop it from picking up foreign odors.
- Keep chocolate in the dark. Exposure to light also degrades chocolate, so it should always be stored away from light, particularly when the storage is longer term.
- Avoid humidity. Moisture is one of the factors most detrimental to the quality of chocolate. The storage area for chocolate should not be a humid area.
- Don’t fear bloom. When you prepare to use your chocolate, it may have bloom on the surface, particularly if it has been used previously. This bloom is nothing more than cocoa butter on the surface of the chocolate, and it will disappear once the chocolate has been melted and tempered.