Freezer Week

The One Surprising Thing You Should Never, Ever Freeze

updated Aug 17, 2020
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Pearl Jones/Kitchn

The freezer is one of my favorite tools for food preservation. Meat, bread, cheese, and even milk can all be given a longer shelf life in the ice box. My freezer is also the place where many of my speciality baking ingredients are kept fresh (gluten-free flours, high-fat nut flours, and pastry flour last longer in my freezer then they would in the pantry). But one baking ingredient should absolutely not go into the freezer.

Chocolate is temperature- and moisture-sensitive, which is why you might be tempted to stick it in the freezer during the hot humid months of summer, but don’t! Here’s why the popular advice for freezing chocolate is truly a bad idea.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

The Freezer Is No Place for Your Chocolate Stash

If you do a quick web search about chocolate storage, you’ll find a lot of sources telling you that putting your chocolate — not just bars, but also lovely couverture wafers and chips — is “fine.” All types of chocolate, whether they are for baking or snacking, are best stored at cool room temperature (60°F to 70°F) and kept away from both sunlight, heat, and moisture.

Unfortunately most fridge/freezers have some temperature fluctuations that will create moisture, in the form of condensation, between the chocolate and its packaging. This can lead to freezer burn or cause that cloudy surface texture known as chocolate bloom. Essentially, chocolate bloom happens when the chocolate loses it temper and the chocolate’s natural cocoa butter comes to the surface. This spotty appearance also affects the chocolate texture, making it chalky and nearly impossible to get back into temper. Cloudy chocolate might not matter on your Snickers bar, but when to comes to baking and coating with freezer-burned or bloomed chocolate, nothing but disappointment awaits.

If you decide to freeze your chocolate anyway, make sure it is very tightly wrapped before freezing and always thaw it before using. You can thaw chocolate by moving it from the freezer to the fridge for a few hours or wrap the frozen chocolate in a clean kitchen towel so that it slowly comes to room temperature. Whatever you do, don’t throw frozen chocolate chips into your cookie or cake batter, unless you want it to seize and bake into wonky pocket-filled baked goods.