Giving chocolate to your sweetheart on Valentine's Day is a time-honored tradition. So it should come as no surprise that by the time Valentine's Day has come and gone, Americans will have spent $1 billion on Valentine's Day chocolate and purchased some 58 million pounds of chocolate.
Hopefully, those on the receiving end of this chocolate gift won't be eating it all in one day. So, if you are trying to savor your chocolate for days and weeks after Valentine's Day and keep it from spoiling, it may already be too late.
If you notice that your Valentine's Day chocolate has a chalky white film on it, then it has what's called fat bloom. No, this doesn't mean that your chocolate will go right to your hips and thighs and encourage fat to "bloom" there. "Fat bloom happens when fat migrates to the surface of chocolate as a result of storing it at high temperatures or exposing it to extreme fluctuations in temperature," explains Nicki Engeseth, PhD, member of the Institute of Food Technologists.
Not only does this make chocolate less visually appealing, it affects the texture and taste of chocolate. To avoid fat bloom, there are precautions you can take immediately after purchasing chocolate and steps to follow for storing chocolate over the long term. Here are 3 tips for storing your Valentine's Day chocolate so you can enjoy it long after the holiday is over:
- Don't leave chocolate in your car for too long. Extremely hot or cold conditions can affect the chocolate.
- Try to store chocolate at a constant temperature, close to room temperature—about 68 degrees to 74 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Never refrigerate or freeze chocolate. Oops, we always keep our chocolate in the freezer because we like the "crunch" of frozen chocolate. Guess we won't be doing that anymore!
Even though chocolate has a long shelf life and is safe to eat, regardless of how you store it, Dr. Engeseth says that improperly stored chocolate simply "may not taste the same or have the same creamy texture."