Chocolate is one of the most popular treats around, with the average American consuming about 9.5 pounds of chocolate each year. If you’re like most chocolate lovers, the decadent snack doesn’t last long around your house. Why would you ever want to store chocolate and not eat it all right away?
As baffling as the thought of storing chocolate might be, you might have the need to do so if you receive a box of chocolates as a gift or you just want to eat a small portion at a time. This may be especially true in July and August, some of the hottest months of the year. It can be challenging to keep chocolate from melting.
Would you like to know the best way to store chocolate so that it’s always ready for you to consume? Keep reading to learn more about the chocolate storage methods that will keep your treats fresh for months—or even years—to come.
How to Keep Chocolate from Melting
You can enjoy a chocolate treat anytime of the year—during the cold months of winter or during the hot days of summer. But do you know how to store chocolate to maintain its quality and keep it from melting when the weather outside gets hot?
The key to storing chocolate is to keep it in a dry, dark place away from excess heat, sunlight and air, which can all affect the quality of chocolate.
You might be wondering how to keep chocolate from melting at room temperature. When storing chocolate, you’ll want to find a place that will allow the chocolate to stay below the softening point. This will preserve the temper, which is what gives chocolate it’s glossy look, smooth mouthfeel and crisp snap. The tempering process consists of heating and cooling the chocolate to improve its consistency. The loss of temper creates fat bloom—that’s when cocoa butter melts and then re-solidifies. Fat bloom alters the texture and leaves gray streaks on the surface of the chocolate. This chocolate is still okay to eat, but it doesn’t look as appealing.
At what point will chocolate start to soften and then melt? Chocolate starts to soften at 85 degrees Fahrenheit and melt at 93 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal chocolate storage temperature is below 70 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity levels at less than 55 percent.
Store Chocolate at the Perfect Temperature
The perfect temperature to store chocolate is between 65 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. As mentioned earlier, chocolate begins to soften at 85 degrees Fahrenheit and starts to melt at 93 degrees, but it liquefies between 104 and 113 degrees.
When chocolate is stored at a consistent temperature between 65 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit, cocoa solids and cocoa butter will not separate and will remain stable for months.
If you have air conditioning in your home, set your thermostat at 75 degrees or lower, and store your chocolate in a cool, dark place away from sunlight and artificial lights. The heat generated by both sunlight and artificial lights can melt your chocolate.
You can also use ice cubes if you want to stop chocolate from melting for a short period of time. Another option is to store your chocolate in a wine cooler—they typically stay at around 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, which is just the right temperature for storing chocolate.
Cool, but Not Cold
Chocolate should be stored at cool but not cold temperatures. While too much heat is bad because it will melt the chocolate, extreme cold isn’t good either—it can change the flavor and texture of the chocolate.
If you want to know how to keep chocolate from melting without a refrigerator, you should try to store chocolate in a cool, dark, dry place such as a pantry or cupboard where the temperature is consistent and the chocolate is away from the light.
Storing Chocolate in a Fridge
Ideally, storing chocolate in the refrigerator isn’t the best way to go. This is because the cocoa butter in chocolate absorbs the odors of the foods around it, which, over time, will give your chocolate an unpleasant flavor. No one wants their chocolate to taste like onions or garlic!
Refrigerators are typically quite humid and so do not make good storage facilities for chocolate. This cold, moist environment can lead to sugar bloom, which is similar to fat bloom, but instead of cocoa butter separating and rising to the top of the chocolate, the sugar rises to the surface. This leaves white streaks in the chocolate. Again, as with fat bloom, the chocolate is still safe to eat, but it may have a gritty or chalky mouthfeel.
There could be a number of reasons you decide to store your chocolate in the fridge anyway. You might not have a cool, dark, dry place to store chocolate. Maybe you keep your house warmer than 75 degrees or you live in an area with extreme humidity. If you must store chocolate in the fridge, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or a plastic bag, and then seal it in an airtight container. This should protect it from absorbing the odors and flavors of the foods around it.
Freezing chocolate isn’t recommended, but it might be possible to extend the shelf life of the chocolate and keep the temper intact by freezing it if you don’t think you’ll eat it anytime soon.
If you freeze chocolate, make sure you unthaw it in the refrigerator—don’t just set it on the counter because condensation will form as it unthaws too quickly.
When you take the chocolate out of the fridge, only take out what you plan to eat in one sitting. Insulate it in a dish towel or some other insulating barrier to help it come back to room temperature slowly before unwrapping and eating. Again, you’ll want the chocolate to come back to room temperature slowly to reduce the chances of condensation forming and altering the appearance of the chocolate. And cold chocolate doesn’t disperse flavors well.
Storing Filled Chocolates
How long does chocolate last at room temperature? Not long if you eat it right away! When stored properly, most chocolates will retain their quality and flavor for at least 6 to 9 months, even after they are opened. Dark chocolate stays good for nearly two years, milk chocolate for up to one year and white chocolate for four months.
But what about filled chocolates? Some commercially made filled chocolates are shelf-stable and can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator if necessary like any solid chocolate.
But if you’re buying handmade, craft chocolates, you’ll want to take care with how you store them. Most chocolates with caramel and cream centers will last three to four months.
It is possible to freeze some chocolates with ganache centers, but cream and caramel centers can become grainy when exposed to extreme cold. When in doubt, check with a store like Cococlectic when you buy your chocolate—their experienced team knows the chocolates the best and will give you the best advice for storage and shelf life.
We typically advise to stock up on chocolate prior to the summer months but if you can’t help it, and still plan to ship chocolate in summer, you’ll need to take steps to ensure the chocolate doesn’t melt on the trip. You’ll want to remember the following tips:
- Use food-safe candy packaging and then cushion and box your package in a larger shipping container.
- Include a cold pack because your package might be subjected to extreme heat or humidity along its journey.
- Make sure your shipping container is sturdy and large enough for cushioning, a cold pack, and your chocolates.
- Make sure your final package is sealed tightly and clearly labeled.
- Remember that many chocolate stores require three to four days to process your order before shipping.
At Cococlectic, we feature a different American small-batch bean-to-bar chocolate maker each month. These craft chocolate makers produce chocolate from scratch using only three main ingredients: cacao beans, sugar and cocoa butter. We ensure your chocolate bars are shipped with extra care.
The chocolates at Cococlectic are vegan, non-GMO, fair-trade and ethically sourced. They do not contain any soy, gluten, dairy or nut, but they may be produced in a facility that handles these ingredients.
We sell only dark chocolate bars in our chocolate shop. One-time (dark bars only or mixed bars) gift boxes or corporate gift boxes are available with the purchase of the Office Box. Each chocolate box comes with 4 full-size dark chocolate bars that are made in the US.
Sign up for our chocolate-of-the-month subscription club and join us for a free virtual chocolate tasting with our featured chocolate maker of the month.