Chocolate is one of those foods everyone loves. Chocolate comes in dark, milk, semi-sweet and white. These types of chocolates are useful for making chocolate bars, baked goods, beverages, sauces and even natural beauty care products, and because of all these purposes people love buying chocolate in bulk. Sometimes people buy chocolate in bulk simply because they never want to be without it since eating it helps them feel good and happy as well as cures their sweet tooth. However, bulking up on chocolate might not be such a good idea since it does not have a long shelf life.

Chocolate fountainImage used under Creative Commons from Moyan Brenn

What is the exact shelf life of chocolate?

Depending on the form of chocolate, you it will determine the shelf life of the chocolate. For example, chocolate bars and baking chip forms can last up to 4 months in the pantry in their original packaging, chocolate truffles and Belgian chocolates only last 2 weeks in the pantry before going bad. Storing chocolate bars and baking chips in the refrigerator will help it last up to 8 months while truffles and Belgian chocolate only last 4 weeks in the refrigerator unopened or in its original packing. When it comes to freezing chocolate, chocolate bars only stay fresh for up to 8 months while chocolate chips can last up to 3 years and truffles and Belgian chocolates do not stay fresh at all.

Trying to extend the shelf life of chocolate again, depends on the type and the form. With all that said it is wise to eat or use up any chocolate you purchase within the first week so it retains the full flavor and texture you so deserve it too. Refrigerating and freezing chocolate will change the flavor and texture of it since chocolate absorbs flavors of anything around it like a sponge and can melt easily when exposed to temperature above room temperatures.

The only type of chocolate you can truly store for long periods without it going bad as long as it stays in a cool dry spot is dark organic cocoa powder or baking powder. These types can stay fresh in the pantry for up to a year or longer because they are in powder form.

If you are going to freeze any kind or form of chocolate, it needs to be placed in an airtight freezer container or bag in order to preserve it and keep it fresh for as long as it possibly can.

Stacked pieces of chocolate

Image used under Creative Commons from Siau Liang Chan

How can you tell if your chocolate has gone bad?

Chocolate has gone bad if you taste it and its flavor and texture has changed or when it has a whitish film and appearance on the surface of it. Chocolate that has melted should also be tossed out. Anytime chocolate has melted and become a solid form again due to the temperatures and moisture in the air, the texture and flavor will change so much that it becomes spoiled with an awful taste. When it comes to cocoa powder going bad, you can tell it is bad by it becoming clumpy and a solid form or becoming too damp and moist. Cocoa powder is supposed to be light, fluffy, and full of chocolate flavor and color.

End Notes for the Shelf Life of Chocolate
Remember, chocolate is best if you use it up and eat it up within the first week of purchasing it. Trying to expand it’s shelf life in hopes it stays tastier longer will actually cause it too lose flavor and the rich creamy texture it is suppose to have. Chocolate is always best when it is fresh.