Chocolate - the magic word that can make anyone smile. But what happens when this wonderful treat turns grey? Well let's find out.
Everyday Chemistry - Why does chocolate turn grey sometimes? Is it still safe to eat?
Imagine all the different types of delicacies made of chocolate; chocolate bars, chocolate fudge, chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate ice cream, chocolate milk, chocolate cereal, hot chocolate, chocolate sauce... the list is endless. But have you ever seen this wonderful treat turn grey?
The grey effect
There's nothing quite like opening a much-anticipated box of chocolates only to find that it is discolored and slightly grey. When chocolate turns grey like that, one of two things could be the reason: sugar bloom or fat bloom.
Sugar bloom is normally caused by surface moisture. The moisture causes the sugar in the chocolate to dissolve. Once the moisture evaporates, sugar crystals remain on the surface. If this process is repeated, the surface can become sticky and even more discolored. Although sugar bloom is most often the result of overly humid storage, it can happen when the chocolate has been stored at a relatively cool temperature and is then moved too quickly into much warmer surroundings. When this happens, the chocolate sweats, producing surface moisture.
Fat bloom is similar to sugar bloom, except that it is fat or cocoa butter that separates from the chocolate and deposits itself on the outside of the candy. As with sugar bloom, the most common causes of fat bloom are quick temperature changes and overly warm storage.
Although it might look a little less appetizing than a lustrous, rich chocolaty-brown piece of candy, it is still okay to eat. You may find the texture of sugar-bloomed chocolate to be a bit grainy on the outside, but it should still taste good.
Tips to preserve it
To prevent chocolate from graying, simply use proper storage methods. Since it can easily absorb flavours from food or other products situated nearby, it should be tightly wrapped and stored away from pungent odours. The ideal temperature for storage is between 65 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 20 degrees Celsius), with no more than 50 percent to 55 percent relative humidity. If stored properly, you can expect milk chocolate and white chocolate to be good for up to six months. Other types of chocolate can have an even longer shelf life.
So go ahead and gorge on those wonderful goodies to your heart's content. Just make sure you don't overeat, because even though grey chocolate is not bad, too much of any chocolate can make you fall sick. Take care and have fun.