Chocolate Long Term Storage: Using Wheat Bran

8 May

Read with consideration, this method (whether the bran is to be attributed to it’s success) is currently under investigation…

Chocolate lovers, listen up!  I was given permission to post an experiment that’s been 5 years in the making (not my own), attempting to pin down the most successful way to store chocolate long term.

The following quoted recommendation (found by our tester 5 years ago) is what initially triggered the test you’ll read below.

“I have stored both M&M’s and chocolate chips.  You cannot put an oxy pack in with them [while storing] because it will make the oil in the chocolate go rancid.  I have experimented for years and have found storing them with bran is the best.  I’ve even tried storing it with sawdust (instead of bran) but the chocolate went rancid in 2 years with the sawdust.  I’m not sure what it is about the bran but it works.  I have had chocolate stored for up to 15 years now without it going bad.  I have stored it in three different ways:

1- Sealed in # 10 can (the best way for storing larger amounts of it)

2- Stored in a mylar pouch (not very good because the mice go through mylar pouches in nothing flat)
3- Stored in buckets (okay but not very efficient because once you open the bucket and let the oxygen in the chocolate goes bad very soon, 1 -2 months)

Instructions:

Leave the chocolate in it’s original package and pack (bury) the package in wheat bran. Then seal the can. You can usually get 4 packages of chocolate chips in one #10 can and then fill the rest with bran.”

Storage Test  

Wanting to try it himself, here are the results from our featured 2nd tester of this method (in his own words):

“Today I opened a can of assorted Hershey’s kisses that was sealed in February of 2009. It was stored in a basement with a fairly even temp. between 50 and 75 degrees. I made sure to completely surround the original packages with the wheat bran and used no oxygen absorber. I found that 4-10oz. packages fit perfectly into a #10 can. The critical thing, I believe, is to ensure that all the packages are surrounded individually on all sides.

The candies have no off smell whatsoever, and virtually no discoloration. The taste of samples from each bag was, to me, no different than the day they were purchased. I consider this method of storing chocolate a smashing success!!!”

storing chocolate

**

To get a better picture of what was really going on, I sent a note to a friend of mine, Cheryl Driggs (author @ www.simplyprepared.com), who I consider highly knowledgeable in storing techniques and food science. My question was whether the “bran” had anything to do with it or if it was just a filler of space. Here’s her reply, for anyone who might like to consider it.  She writes:

“I don’t think it has anything to do with the wheat bran. I think it has more to do with filling up the space and pushing out the air so anything would work.

Also, I’ve never heard the idea that using an absorber causes chocolate to go rancid. Rancidity is caused by oxidation. If there is no oxygen there won’t be oxidation so it should be just the opposite.  Absorbers should prevent oxidation and rancidity, however LDS Church home storage recommendations currently don’t recommend using absorbers with high fat foods until further research is done (although you do find them in commercial packages of jerky and other foods).

Part of the reason his chocolate came out well is the fact that he stored it at such a low temperature. The white coating that appears on chocolate is called “bloom”. Heat causes the fat in the chocolate to rise to the surface. The bloom is chocolate fat.”

What say you?  Please share a comment with us if you’ve found success storing chocolate.

17 Responses to “Chocolate Long Term Storage: Using Wheat Bran”

  1. Barbara Cortopassi May 8, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    Woohoo! I’m a happy camper!

  2. Vicki F. May 8, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    My question is, did they have a sample of the chocolate stored in the same conditions, just in its own package? I have stored chocolate for several years in my cool basement in Utah, with no special treatment, and it has been fine, When I have issues with chocolate that has been kept cool, it tends to be the additives–nuts go rancid, cookie or crispies get soggy, etc. I think we need a scientific comparison. :)

    • Megan May 8, 2014 at 3:07 pm #

      I agree. Living in TX I’ve NOT had success storing chocolate, so for that reason I didn’t think enough about it to ask questions. I think you’re right, along with Cheryl who suggested the same thing. I’ll ask the guy who did this and get back to everyone if he has anything to add, but I think you’ve nailed the prime component (TEMPERATURE) with your reply here/ your own experience. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Tina Ward May 8, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

    I wonder, if the wheat bran is just to fill up space, would rice hulls work just as well?

    • Megan May 8, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

      After a day or so of thinking about it and getting opinions, I’m leaning more toward it being attributed to temperature than bran (or any other similar particulate). Slowly getting to the bottom of it…it’s a food storage “Myth Busters” :D I’ll re-post it once we have a clear understanding — I’m waiting to hear back from the original tester to see if he has a comparison to offer of chocolate stored w/out the bran. Work in progress…

  4. Amanda May 8, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

    Maybe the wheat bran helped regulate the temperature a little more in the can serving as a buffer if you will? I think it’s an awesome experiment, because lets face it, chocolate is an amazing asset to have!

    • Megan May 8, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

      That’s something I was wondering too. I’d like to find out! The person who this tester got the idea from had said he’d tried many other particulates using this method (besides the bran) and that bran was the only one that worked. The more I think about it the bran wouldn’t make sense as to having a different effect with a packaged product like this.(??)

  5. LaRene Grover May 8, 2014 at 10:38 pm #

    I’m so glad that I live in Idaho!!!!! I have had chocolate around for a long time, at just room temperature, however if the wheat bran keeps it longer, that would be good to know. I do lots of food with my food sealer in glass canning jars too. Thanks for all your help and ideas.

  6. grandmadavis May 9, 2014 at 9:38 am #

    I have a wonderful husband who has learned (over the many years of life together and with 2 daughters as well) that chocolate is one important factor to have available in the house at all times. So he buys chocolate bars often. And they usually go into the fridge, but sometimes into the freezer. so far (although no long storage study is available – 6 months max time in the freezer~often times shorter lengths of time) but it tastes good thawed dtoo… I do store my chocolate chips in a sealed gallon jar under my counter which holds about 5 containers of both choco chips and the mini’s (at this Grandma’s house – a must for my Grand and Hot Chocolate visitors) Thanks for this info – Chocolate is quite a necessity!

  7. Jennings May 12, 2014 at 6:26 am #

    I don’t know that I’ve had any chocolate long enough to be a good tester, but I’ve found chocolate from Christmas in November (“hiding” stocking stuffers from the kids is only good when you remember where you hid it!) and it’s been fine, inside in a fairly constant low-mid 70s temp via a/c. I usually get big bags of chocolate chips at Costco for making granola bars, and they last at least a year, too. I’d love to know for longer storage though, and wonder about vacuum sealing (one commenter says she does that in glass jars – wondering how long she’s let it go before tasting?). I, too, suspect temperature is the most important, esp if you’re sealing things in a big bag, like chips or kisses – the bran isn’t coming into any contact with the food.

  8. Paul Scott May 16, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

    Wendy Dewitt in “Everything made simple” say’s 3 years in vacuum sealed Jars. If kept cool. I’m in the DFW area of Texas and have 3 vacuum sealed jars of Hershey’s chocolate chips that will be five years old in July 2014 – they still look great, nice & dark, with no powdery coating. House temperature fluctuates between 65 degrees in winter and 75 degrees in summer. Chips live in a closet on an inside wall of the house so the temp should stay pretty even. Just poured the chips from a Costco bag (5 lbs?) into pint jars and sealed the canning lids with the food saver jar vacuum attachment. I left a one inch head space so the chocolate never comes into contact with the metal canning lid. (I’ve heard stories of chocolate reacting badly with metal) All of the jars I’ve used had good seals when opened and the lids looked new. As chips were used in recipes the original lid was vacuum sealed back on the jar after use so there was very little air exposure for the remaining chips.

    • Megan May 17, 2014 at 11:52 pm #

      Thanks for sharing, Paul. I’ll remember that one inch head space the next time I try it. You made me think of something else though…During the summer, when we’ve left on vacation, we’ve turned down our AC to save on utilities, the house temp could go to 80 without the AC switching on. I bet that’s my problem here. It was only a short period of time but I bet that’s what caused mine to go bad. Thanks for helping me think of that!

  9. Mother of Five May 26, 2014 at 12:14 am #

    I learned from a source to pressure seal chocolates in mason jars using the Food Saver Jar Sealers. I just did this two weeks ago with my chocolate chips. The author says they remain fresh up to a year. I am definitely excited about trying this process. See my post in http://www.makingsofmarrow.wordpress.com to see how I did it.

    • Megan May 26, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

      Cool! Thank you!!

      I’m heading over right now :)

      • lbg grover May 26, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

        Megan, I’ve had chocolate sealed in quart mason jars for over 5 years, and they were fresh as new when I opened them. ( I left them so long for an experiment). I also did saltine, & ritz crackers, pretzels, nuts, granola bars and almost anything that I can get into a mason jar( these were sealed in 2 quart jars). I also did dry cereals. BUT, remember that I live in Idaho where the temps. are good for storing. Just wanted to let you know some of my ideas. LaRene

        Date: Tue, 27 May 2014 02:05:41 +0000 To: buttonsnbows@live.com

  10. maggi September 6, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

    I knew a woman who worked for Hershey’s a few times a year to make chocolate for different occasions…Easter, Christmas, etc. she would work on Christmas candy during the early summer. she told me chocolate would keep for years if you store it properly. I cant keep any chocolate in my house that long, so I have no idea. I have kept it in the freezer, but it tends to taste a bit off after a few months. I am waiting to hear of a really good storage system for my chocolate preps.

    • Megan September 6, 2014 at 7:08 pm #

      Thanks for the comment. It reminds me to get back on this. I had a call in to Hershey’s about it but never received an answer from them, so I’ll have to call back and try again. I’d be interested in getting a finalized opinion from them to see what they say.

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