We all love a good cup of hot chocolate, but can these powders ever go bad? Well, sadly, the answer is YES!
Whether it is hot cholate powder or a bomb, they can go wrong within a year after it has been opened for various reasons.
This article will discuss the life span of various hot chocolates. We will also shed some light on some fantastic tips that can help you improve the shelf life of your powder!
Does Hot Chocolate Expire or Go Bad?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes! Like any other food item, hot chocolates also have an expiry date. However, it is safe to say that you can consume them past their date as long as it does not show any signs of spoilage.
The older the hot chocolate, the less potent the taste of the cocoa and the chocolate present in it. Although you will not notice any significant side effects or health issues after consuming old hot chocolate, it is always good to exercise caution before drinking them.
How Long Does Hot Chocolate Last?
There is no definitive answer to this question since there are a variety of forms in which hot chocolates are available. The time duration may vary depending on the kind of hot chocolate in question.
Usually, people prefer to prepare their hot chocolate using readymade cocoa mixes. Well, these powders last for a very long time. These powders are prone to oxidation, which can alter the taste and color of the powder; hence, once opened, they should be used within 6 to 12 months. An opened can of this powder can be stored in the pantry for over 24 months without getting spoilt.
Instant Hot Chocolate Powder
These powders are prepared by mixing milk powder with cocoa powders; hence, the life span for these powders is relatively less. They can last for about 6 to 12 months, depending on the date of expiry printed on them. However, you can still consume them past their expiry for about 3 months as long as you don’t see any visible signs of contamination.
Hot Chocolate Bombs
Hot chocolate bombs are a buzz these days due to their fancy aesthetic and ease of availability. However, amongst all the variety of hot chocolates, they have the most miniature shelf life.
Since these bombs are prepared by mixing dairy, chocolate pellets, marshmallows, cocoa, etc., the chances of them getting spoilt is higher. Hence, it is advisable to consume them within a week after it is made.
Authors Note: It is best to store them in the fridge to ensure that these bombs remain fit for consumption whenever you decide to have them.
Hot Chocolate Prepared from Chocolate Bars
If you prefer the good old way of preparing hot chocolate from scratch using melted bars and ganache, you must consume it within 4 days.
Another critical point to consider is that in its powder form, hot chocolate can be stored for longer when compared to its liquid form. As soon as you mix the powder in the liquid of choice, milk or water, you cannot keep it at room temperature for more than 30 minutes.
Once the hot chocolate is prepared, cover it with cling wrap and store them in the fridge or the freezer until you are ready to consume it.
Authors Note: While storing the powders in your kitchen pantry or fridge, ensure the powder is kept from significant temperature fluctuations and excessive moisture. Hence, do not store it near a sink or in direct sunlight since certain ingredients are sensitive to them.
How to Know if Hot Chocolate has Gone Bad
We all know what hot chocolate should taste and look like; hence, we should be able to determine if there are any changes in our beloved beverage. However, to aid you, we have compiled a thorough analysis to help you conclude your hot chocolate’s safety.
Hot chocolate usually has a dark brown color and a natural sheen. The older the hot chocolate is, the duller or darker the color will be. As was previously noted, the cocoa in the hot chocolate mix is easily oxidized, and with time, the color of the mixture also changes.
If the powder has been stored way past its expiry, you may notice white streaks, indicating that the product quality has deteriorated and should not be consumed.
Hot chocolates have a sweet taste, naturally, due to the high content of chocolate within them. However, the longer the hot chocolate powder is stored, the quality degrades. Hence, if the powder has expired, you may notice a bitter and sour taste.
These powders have a smooth and rich texture. Although an alteration in the texture may not significantly impact the final product, it will indicate that the powder was not stored under ideal conditions.
For instance, if the powder was not stored in air-tight containers, there are chances that water may have entered it, and hence you may notice lumps in the powder.
Where there is water, there are chances of microbes inhabiting that powder and flourishing. Hence, it is imperative to make sure that these powders are kept away from air and water.
Hot chocolate should smell like cocoa and chocolate. The longer it is shelved, the less potent the aroma of this powder will be. However, if you don’t mind the lack of smell, you can consume it.
The issue is when you notice a rotten pungent smell in your hot chocolate. Since some powders do contain dairy, it is prone to spoilage. Once spoilt, it will release an unbearable smell that can be detected easily.
These powders are loaded with chocolate and sugar; hence, ants and insects may make their way toward them. Hence, make sure you close the container tight before shelving it. Needless to say, if you find ants and bugs crawling in these powders. Discard them without any further consideration.
Sometimes, if the hot chocolate is stored for a long time, you may notice that sugars come together to form hard crystals. Although it will not impact the taste, it is a sign that the hot chocolate is getting old and should be consumed soon.
Tips to increase the Shelf Life of Hot Chocolate
Tip 1: Keeping powders from direct sunlight is crucial since some ingredients are sensitive to them.
Tip 2: While scooping the powder out, make sure you use a clean spoon that is free from moisture to limit the interaction of this powder with water and other contaminants.
Tip 3: Always seal the jar tight to avoid any pest infestation.
Tip 4: If you wish to freeze the powder, store them in air-tight containers and divide them into small potions to avoid constant thawing.
In this section, we will answer some commonly asked questions.
Can Hot Chocolate Powder Be Used As Cocoa Powder
Answer: Absolutely! These powders have a significant chunk of cocoa powder in their formulation; hence, you can use them while curating your favorite brownies, mug cakes, etc., as a substitute for traditional cocoa powder. Besides that, they have the same color, flavor, and overall consistency!
What can we do with expired milk powder?
Answer: Since milk powder is full of nutrients and vitamins, it’s best to consume them before their date of expiry. Since cocoa can oxidize with time and milk can go rancid, it can sometimes cause unwanted health hazards like stomach aches, diarrhea, fever, and severe cramps.
Can you Store Hot Chocolate In A Freezer?
Answer: There is no rule that you cannot freeze hot chocolate; however, it is not a compulsion. If you wish to freeze hot chocolate, divide the powder into smaller packets and double-wrap them in cling to avoid interaction with the notorious ice crystals formed at low temperatures.
The usage time may vary depending on your hot chocolate fix. However, most powdered hot chocolates can last for 6 to 12 months as long as they are stored in ideal conditions. Hot chocolate bombs are more fragile and should be consumed within a week.
However, if unsure, you can monitor the hot chocolate using the above checklist.
I hope you found this article helpful; if you have any other queries regarding these powders, feel free to reach out in the comment section below.
Milburn Adler is a food enthusiast and connoisseur of wine. His area of expertise is food fusions and gourmet foods. He lives to experiment with new recipes every day and spends most of his day looking for fresh and exotic fruits and vegetables.