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Keeping Chocolate Fresher Longer

By Cook's Illustrated Published March 2009

Here's how to prolong the life of an essential kitchen ingredient.

Shelf Life

Unsweetened and Dark Chocolate: 2 years

Milk and White Chocolate: 6 months.

Do wrap open bars of chocolate tightly in plastic wrap and store in a cool pantry to ensure optimal freshness. If chocolate is exposed to rapid changes in humidity or temperature, sugar or fat may soften and migrate, discoloring the surface. This cosmetic condition, called bloom, doesn't affect the flavor of the chocolate.

Don't store chocolate in the refrigerator or freezer, as cocoa butter easily absorbs off-flavors from other foods and changes its crystal structure.

Do keep in mind that the milk solids in milk and white chocolate give them a shorter shelf life than unsweetened and dark chocolate.

Dark and bittersweet chocolate have a much longer shelf life than milk or white chocolate.