Chocolates oh chocolates; comes in plenty of sizes, shapes and types. You never know when you will misplace one of these chocolate neapolitans and forgot about it until days later when you tap your pocket. Or you may even find a forgotten bar of chocolate in your fridge hiding in a small corner. Do yourself a favor and watch out for the following signs to determine whether your chocolate has gone bad or if it is safe to eat.
1. Fat Bloom
Fat bloom is caused by temperature fluctuation or improper fat crystallization of the chocolate/compound. Very often we can find it in untempered chocolates or chocolates that you keep putting in and taking out from your fridge (temperature fluctuation). The greyish bloomed layer can be easily wiped off with finger (as the temperature of your finger can melt the fat crystals).
For fat bloomed products, normally it is still safe to use as it is affected by the crystallization of the fats only. After re-melting and proper cooling of the chocolate, the product can still maintain its snap and glossiness as usual.
2. Sugar Bloom
Sugar bloom is caused by surrounding moisture/humidity, where the sugar crystals in the chocolate will be attracted by surrounding moisture (from environment), and in a long term storage, whitish dots (sugar crystals) will appear on the surface of the chocolate. These whitish dots are unable to be removed when you wipe with your finger.
For sugar bloomed products, it will affect the viscosity of the product and might not be suitable to use anymore.
A sniff test is an easy way to tell if your chocolate will be tasty or disgusting. Chocolate absorbs odors like a sponge, especially when stored in a fridge full of savory foodstuffs as mentioned in our previous blog. Chocolate is best stored tightly wrapped, in a cool and environment away from strongly scented foods.
4. Quality & Freshness
Chocolate is best when eaten within a year of its production, but high quality chocolate can be consumed well past its sell-by date. High quality chocolate contains natural preservatives called flavanols. Chocolate is good, but cocoa flavanols are good for you! Flavanols are beneficial phytonutrients (also known as plant-based nutrients) that provide excellent antioxidant health benefits while keeping the chocolate fresher longer than store-bought chocolate containing artificial preservatives.
A small bite should be enough to alert you of any off tastes in the chocolate. Taste of other non-chocolate flavours such as onion or garlic or even overpowering bitterness are signs of spoiled chocolate. Cocoa powder can last a long time if stored properly in a sealed container, but can quickly take on a funky taste and scent if exposed to a pantry full of spices.
Be sure to check these 5 signs before gobbling up the forgotten chocolates. Say no to stomachache. Till then!