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Food Storage - How long can you keep...

CHOCOLATE - DARK, BAKING, BITTERSWEET, SEMI-SWEET

Pantry
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2 years (best quality)
Freezer
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Blue Arrow
2 years (best quality)

Tips

  • How long does chocolate last? The precise answer depends to a large extent on storage conditions - store chocolate in a cool, dry area.
  • To maximize the shelf life of chocolate, store at a room temperature between 60°F -75°F and keep chocolate tightly wrapped after opening.
  • How long does chocolate last at room temperature? Properly stored, dark, baking, bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate will generally stay at best quality for about 2 years at normal room temperature.
  • How long does milk chocolate last? Properly stored, milk chocolate will generally stay at best quality for about 1 year at normal room temperature.
  • Dark chocolate will keep well for about 5 years if it is constantly stored at temperatures ranging between 60°F - 65°F.
  • Is chocolate safe to use after the "expiration" date on the package? Yes, provided it is properly stored and the package is undamaged - commercially packaged chocolate will typically carry a " Best By," "Best if Used By," "Best Before", or "Best When Used By" date but this is not a safety date, it is the manufacturer's estimate of how long the chocolate will remain at peak quality.
  • Storage time shown is for best quality only - after that, the chocolate's texture, color or flavor may change, but in most cases, it will still be safe to consume if it has been stored properly, the package is undamaged, and there are no signs of spoilage (see below).
  • If chocolate has white spots or white film on the surface, it is still safe to eat? Yes when chocolate is exposed to overly warm or humid conditions, whiteness can develop on the surface --this affects appearance only and the chocolate will still be safe to eat.
  • Should you refrigerate chocolate? Chocolate should ideally not be refrigerated, as doing so may cause the chocolate to absorb odors from other foods and it may also develop a moist surface when brought back to room temperature.
  • In very hot, humid environments (consistently above 75°F), chocolate can be refrigerated; keep the chocolate tightly wrapped or place in a covered airtight container or plastic freezer bag.
  • Can you keep chocolate in the freezer? Yes, it is fine to store chocolate in the freezer, although doing so will not significantly change the shelf life; to freeze, place the chocolate inside covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.
  • How long does chocolate last in the freezer? Chocolate will maintain best quality for about 2 years in the freezer or 1 year for milk chocolate.
  • The freezer time shown is for best quality only — chocolate that has been kept constantly frozen at 0° F will keep safe indefinitely.
  • How can you tell if chocolate is bad or spoiled? The best way is to smell and look at the chocolate: if the chocolate develops an off odor, flavor or appearance, it should be discarded.

Sources: For details about data sources used for food storage information, please click here

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