A common question we get here at OKC is how one should properly store chocolate in order to keep it fresh. There's a little bit more to it than just putting it in the fridge to chill.
- Storage Conditions: Chocolate should ideally be stored between 65° - 68° F with a humidity of 55%. These conditions will prevent chocolate from "blooming" - which will be explained later in this article.
- Odors: Chocolate absorbs smells around it which can affect the taste. Make sure the storage area is free of any strong odors such as cheese, cleaning products, etc.
- Refrigeration: As much as you can, try to avoid refrigerating your chocolate. If you must, seal the chocolate in some type of air-tight container or bag to protect from odors and moisture while in the fridge.
- Moisture: Water and chocolate do not go well together. Any moisture that comes in contact with chocolate can cause it to have an unappetizing appearance as well as a gritty texture. Moisture can accumulate if storage conditions have high humidity or the chocolate is warmed up too quickly after refrigeration. To prevent this, allow the chocolate to warm-up to room temperature inside an air-tight container before consuming.
- Light: Everyone knows that sunlight is bad for chocolate but so is artificial light such as from a desk lamp. Store your chocolate in not only an air-tight container but one that keeps it away from light as well.
- Heat: Heat not only causes chocolate to melt but it can also lead to "bloom". Bloom is a whitish color that can be visible on the outside of the chocolate. It is caused by the cocoa butter in the chocolate separating towards the surface due to excess heat. Chocolate with bloom is still safe to eat - although, it will most likely have a gritty and unpleasant texture.
Just like all perishable foods, chocolate is best when consumed freshly made! Keep these things in mind when storing your chocolate and it will stay delicious for much longer!