Storing chocolates? Is that even possible? No, I am not being sarcastic or the question isn’t even rhetorical or ambiguous? I can ask those questions because, for me, chocolates are gifts from Gods that are to be savored as soon as you can get your hands on them. If you go online and order from Schoko Chocolates, then you will know what I am talking about. The mind –boggling treats from this Melbournian outfit that specializes in handmade premium chocolates is hard to put off to eat later. But whether you like it or not, sometimes we just can’t eat everything at once.
Maybe you order the handmade chocolates for a birthday party of your loved one looming around the week. Maybe you have received a substantial amount of chocolates as parting gifts from your previous workplace as you just have completed the switch to another company. Whatever the reasons may be, sometimes we just need to bite our tongues and wait for the sweet time to delve into them. And we need to store the goodies properly for the time being.
So, please carry on reading if you want to learn about a thing or two about storing chocolates in the right way.
Dark, Cool And Dry
The best place for the chocolates to be stored is a place which is dark, cool and dry. The temperature of the room should be around 15°C to 18°C and another very important feature that must be maintained at all times is that the temperature must be constant, at all times. There should also be minimal moisture in the air. A cupboard or a pantry seems to have all those features to be a storing place for chocolates.
Temperature & Humidity
The best temperatures for chocolates to keep its integrity are between about 18 – 20ºC. Humidity also is important for maintaining its taste and flavors and when the humidity of the air is less than 55%, chocolates can retain their crispiness. The prescribed moisturizer will also let cocoa butter emulate and cocoa solids to be rigid for months, and if not for years. Though preserving chocolates for that long is always dependent on the ingredients it consists of but disclosing chocolates to different parameters of temperature and humidity can degrade them in numerous ways.
Another mortal enemy for chocolates is the heat. Excessive heat affects the flavor and aroma of chocolates and the most obvious melting will occur if chocolates are exposed to heat for too long. Heat exposure can also activate ‘fat bloom’. ‘Fat bloom’ is a phenomenon where the cocoa butter tries to disintegrate from the cocoa solids and get the look of white or grey blotches on the surface of the chocolate. The truth is though it makes the chocolate look shabby, they are perfectly safe to be consumed.
Limited Exposure To Light And Air
We should always remember to keep chocolate away from direct sunlight and or other contrived lights. Light heats up the chocolate, propels it to melt and most importantly can also destroy the original flavor and leave it with something undesirable. Similarly, air is another element that affects chocolates adversely. If the chocolates get to come in contact with enough light and air, the process of oxidation takes place and the fat which is mostly known as cocoa butter separates itself from the cocoa. As a result the flavor gets impaired, and in some cases an unpleasant smell can be brewed. Since milk and dark chocolate have higher concentrations of cocoa solid than white chocolates, they are somehow more equipped to protect them from air and light. The dark chocolates consist of most cocoa concentration which also is possessed with natural antioxidants, as a result they have most protection against light and air.
Keep Them In Airtight Container
To protect the chocolates from oxidizing, it is always a great idea to wrap it in foil or plastic and then store it in an air-tight container. Another useful alternative can be freezer or zip lock bags. The air can be squeezed out before sealing gets in place. These bags will also protect chocolates from moisture, light and the immersion of any other odors.
Avoid Refrigerator Whenever Possible
It may be difficult to put in practice, but whenever possible, it is always wise to avoid the refrigerator for storing chocolates. Firstly, chocolates are one of the most eager recipients of the odor from other foods. So, don’t get surprised when you get the fishy smell from your chocolate bar the next time you try it from the refrigerator. Then there is the moisturizer problem. Every kitchen in regular households contains lots of moisture, and they can transfer on the chocolates quite easily and make the chocolates sticky and unpleasant. Also we have to deal with the problem of exposing refrigerated chocolates to the air too soon. The moisture that gets trapped over the surface of the chocolates creates ‘sugar bloom’. As we all know, sugar is extremely soluble and it dissolves when the moisture settles in. But when the moisture leaves, the water evaporates and leaves the sugar on the surface – this is known as ‘sugar bloom’ and it damages the texture of the chocolate, discolors it and often creates dusty whitish stripes or markings on the surface of the chocolates.
But if you have no other ways then to put chocolates in the refrigerator or freezer, you better take some preventive measures to keep the integrity of the chocolates. Firstly, chocolates should be ok in the refrigerator when their original packaging is unopened. If that’s not the case, put the chocolates in sealed and air-tight bags. You should also use foil or moisture proof plastic to wrap the chocolates and do not forget to squeeze the air out of the bag. If you put them in an air-tight container, use a paper towel for soaking the moisture out of the box which may or may not find their way inside. Another thing to remember is that we need to do gradual lowering or rising of the refrigerator temperature to prevent temperature shock to chocolates, so that the texture, color or flavors of the chocolates remain intact. If you are going to store chocolate in the fridge or freezer, it is important to gradually raise or lower the temperature to avoid temperature shock, which will harm the texture, color and flavor of the chocolates.
Wine coolers are the best place for storing chocolates. The main reasons being it is quite easy to control the temperature and the moisture inside the coolers is almost non-existent.
As a chocolate lover, it is excruciatingly painful for me to observe beautifully crafted chocolates go awry just for the lack of proper preservation. I sincerely hope the above tips will help all the chocolate lovers out there to keep the taste intact.