Whether you're making a batch of homemade chocolate to sell, to give as a gift or just as a treat for the future, you can be confident that your chocolate will keep its flavor and texture for a long time -- that is, as long as you store it properly. Kept under the right conditions, chocolate is very stable, maintaining its quality for around six months to a year.
Whether you're keeping your chocolate in a pantry or the refrigerator, you'll need to seal it properly. Contact with air and sunlight will degrade chocolate quickly. Additionally, the fats in chocolate quickly absorb odors and flavors from nearby foods, so you'll need to keep your chocolate away from anything that might contaminate it.
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Things You'll Need
Sealable, airtight container such as a freezer bag or plastic tub
Opaque outer container
Seal the chocolate in an airtight container; try to use small containers or fill them full to minimize the amount of air in the package. If your container is translucent, like a freezer bag, put several in a larger, opaque container, such as a tin box.
Temperature and Humidity
To keep chocolate fresh as long as possible, you need to keep it in a dark area, such as a pantry or cupboard, with moderate temperature and low humidity. Keep chocolate between 65 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity of under 55%. If the temperature gets too high, it might be best to refrigerate your chocolates, although this method isn't ideal.
Refrigerating your homemade chocolate can help stop it from melting or spoiling in the heat, but it can have its own negative effects. Sugar bloom causes streaky, white discoloration on the surface of chocolate, although the taste shouldn't be affected. Condensation can also make the surface of your chocolate unpleasantly sticky -- this is known as sweating. Wrap the chocolate tightly in aluminum foil before sealing it in an airtight container. When it's time to eat, bring the chocolate out of the refrigerator and let it return gradually to room temperature before unwrapping and serving.
Although most chocolate doesn't need to be refrigerated, truffles, bonbons or other filled chocolates with a high cream content will spoil quickly at room temperature. Refrigerate them to keep them fresh.
If you want to store your chocolate even longer, you can freeze it to keep it fresh for a year or more. As with refrigerating, wrap your chocolate tightly and seal it in an airtight container. Before freezing, refrigerate it for 24 hours; when you're ready to serve, thaw it for 24 hours in the refrigerator before allowing it to return to room temperature.