So you lucked out and found a bag of forgotten chocolate in your cupboard. Now what? Should you eat it? Is it still good even though it developed a white coating? How long does chocolate actually last?
Naturally, you wouldn’t want to discard chocolate if it’s still edible. Here are some ways to tell if your sweet treat may still be good:
Check the ‘sell by date’
Chocolate doesn’t have an official expiration date but it does have a sell by date. This guarantees the product will remain in fine form until the specified date.
In most cases it is perfectly fine to eat chocolate past the sell by date depending on how it was stored, according to Eat By Date, a consumer advocacy website dedicated to the shelf life of food.
How was the chocolate stored?
Was the chocolate stored in a sealed bag or airtight container. Air will help the essential oils in chocolate oxidize quicker. Properly stored chocolate kept in a cool dark place will keep longer.
What is the chocolate's appearance?
Over time chocolate may change in appearance and develop a thick white film but it is still perfectly edible. Of course, a taste test is the only way to tell if the flavor has been affected.
Worst case scenario you can use the chocolate for baking instead. If that's the case give these delecatable chocolate recipes a try.
What type of chocolate is it?
Each variety of chocolate has different guidelines. For instance, dark chocolate stays fresh longer than milk chocolate and white chocolate. That's due in large part to its higher content of cacao, which is naturally rich in antioxidants.
Consult this helpful chart to know how long chocolate lasts:
credit: Eat By Date