Derived from vegetable fats in cocoa beans cocoa butter is used in cooking, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic products. But the major concern of people when it comes to cocoa butter is its storage. As this precious butter is not easy to get hands-on, it requires to be stored properly to maximize its shelf life.
Here’s what you should be doing to store it properly.
For storing cocoa butter, it is essential to keep it in an airtight container at a temperature lower than room temperature as it solidifies at room temperature. For best usage, store cocoa butter in small quantities in different containers allowing you to use it as much as required at one time.
Depending on the quantity of cocoa butter you want to store and the time duration, there are a few methods.
When you have cocoa butter that you are planning to use within a few months, store it in an airtight container in a cool dark place like the back of your pantry. Remember to keep it away from direct heat and sunlight. Heat or sunlight exposure for an extended period of time may make the butter rancid and thereby useless.
Cocoa butter picks up the flavours of herbs, spices, and other strong food items so always keep it away from coffee, garlic, herb mix, etc.
Keep checking the butter for any strange colour, texture, or smell during this storage period and before using it.
Storing the cocoa butter in a temperature-controlled environment is essential if you are planning to store it for more than a few months, maybe for a year or so.
When storing it for an extended period of time, it is better to avoid any temperature fluctuations. And hence, refrigeration of the butter in an airtight container is a must.
When in the refrigerator, consider keeping it in a dry place like an empty vegetable drawer and away from all the strong flavours stored in your fridge.
For storing cocoa butter for such a long time, although the option is not always available it is recommended to store it in an air-tight container at 50 F. This is slightly warmer than your average fridge temperature.
You may be tempted to freeze the bars but this may actually change its texture and appearance and even flavour over time. Hence, treat your cocoa butter the same way you would store your chocolate.
For professionals using cocoa butter, it is a viable option to store it in a machine with 50 F. But if you don’t have a place like that then store it in your refrigerator.
Make sure to check it periodically and especially before using it for any change in colour, texture, or smell.
Although having a long shelf life, can cocoa butter go bad? Well yes, indeed it can. Although the composition of cocoa butter is oxidation resistant thereby helping in preventing it from going rancid, it doesn’t mean it cannot occur.
When exposed to high heat and direct sunlight, cocoa butter can become rancid over time. Exposure to temperatures above 75 F or direct sunlight will speed up the process.
So, the best place to store it is a cool dry place away from direct sunlight.
If you want to find out whether your cocoa butter has gone bad or not there are these two signs to look for.
- General Odour
Cocoa butter originally has a mild smell. So, if you are smelling a rotten or unpleasant smell, then your cocoa butter has gone bad and cannot be used for consumption.
Any strong odours from the butter may also mean that it has come in contact with such foods and has been affected by it. And any strong smells like ammonia may indicate mixing of the butter with other ingredients and hence it is not pure anymore.
Cocoa butter should be solid at room temperature but melt smoothly in contact with heat. So, lumps that don’t smelt or grainy texture of the butter indicate that it has gone bad.
Most of the fats and oils don’t last as long as cocoa butter. But its unique profile makes it more resistant to rancidity than others.
So, when keeping it for long terms knowing how to store it properly will ensure zero wastage and complete usage of it.
Following are some of the tips for their usage and storage.
- Try storing them in small quantities in different containers so you can use the desired amount without disturbing the entire batch of storage.
- Regardless of the storage period, consider dating each package so you know exactly when to use it for the best results and no hassle.
- Always store it in an airtight container regardless of storing it in the fridge or in your pantry.
- Make sure to check the cocoa butter for any change in colour, smell, or texture before using it.
- Do not expose them to direct sunlight or temperature fluctuations when storing them.
You must have come in contact with a product spelt similar but not quite the same when shopping for cocoa butter.
What’s the difference between them? Essentially it’s the difference between cocoa and cacao than cocoa butter and cacao butter. The difference indicates that cacao is a much raw food product as it is not subjected to heat whereas cocoa is manufactured by treating it to a slow process that does not exceed 115 F.
So, storing cocoa butter is quite simple and easy if some basic things are taken care of. You can enjoy this butter all year round without having to go looking for it every now and then.
Exposure to direct heat, airtight containers, temperature fluctuations are the factors to be taken care of while storing cocoa butter. Now, store your cocoa butter hassle-free, and carefree and enjoy all those recipes calling for it!