If you receive an abundance of chocolate this Valentine’s Day (and of course you will!), you may question if you’ll be able to enjoy them all before their “best by” date, especially those of you give up sweets for Lent, which is on February 17. Here’s a little info on those dates…when to freeze and when to let it ride.
- Plain chocolate has a long shelf life. 12-24 months is pretty much standard and even if you go beyond that…your chocolate will be just fine, so long as it was stored properly at room temperature. There is no need to refrigerate or freeze solid chocolates (like chocolate hearts or bars) unless your thermostat is in need of repair and your room is actually 85 degrees.
- Solid chocolate with nuts or dried fruits does lower the shelf life by quite a bit. Nuts can go rancid and fruit can get nasty after several months. However, you will be able to get many months out of chocolate bark with inclusions at a comfortable room temperature. We put 9 months on our bark labels, which is a good rule of thumb.
- Caramels are no problem either. The high sugar content in caramel gives this sweet treat a nice, healthy shelf life and need not be frozen for freshness. Enjoy at your leisure.
- Truffles made with fresh ingredients such as cream, like ours, should be eaten as close to purchase as possible. We add a little potassium sorbate to our truffles to give you some time (potassium sorbate is a sugar, which binds to the water content in the cream, which inhibits spoilage). However, the taste is much better in the first few months. If you’ve received dozens of truffles before Lent, then freezing is definitely a viable option. Be warned – you must freeze truffles in airtight packaging and let them thaw in that packaging before opening them back up to eat them. If you don’t, the sugar will rise to the top and give you a dull, sticky chocolate.
- Peanut Butter Cups that are made with fresh peanut butter (just like ours) and fresh peanuts will not last as long as other brands that simply reconstitute peanut flour. When freezing peanut butter cups, the same rules apply – airtight packaging when freezing AND when thawing.
- Any confection with fresh fruit or fruit puree should be eaten immediately. Freezing these chocolates will ruin the fruit. Those chocolate covered strawberries will not be edible after 48 hours, so consider sharing!
We hope this guide helps you manage your chocolates effectively. One more bit of advice, consider giving something else up for Lent. Ice Cream can be frozen without any adverse effects. 🙂