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)
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.”
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!!!”
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.