Auburn, Ala.– If you are buying chocolates for someone special on Valentine’s Day and notice some whitish discoloration on the surface of the chocolate, don’t be alarmed. The chocolate is safe to eat.
The whitish discoloration is called “fat bloom” which occurs when cocoa butter separates from the crystallized chocolate mixture and comes to the surface, say Dr. Barbara Struempler, Extension nutritionist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. This usually happens when the chocolate is kept at a temperature of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
The discoloration also could be due to “sugar bloom,” which occurs when loosely wrapped chocolate is stored in the refrigerator, Struempler said. Moisture condenses on the surface and sugar from the chocolate dissolves in it. As the moisture evaporates, it leaves behind a crust of white sugar crystals.
One way to avoid white discoloration is to wrap and store chocolate carefully in a cool place but not in the refrigerator, says Struempler.
White chocolate is a mix of milk solids, cocoa butter and sugar and contains no cocoa solids. Because of its hue, consumers will not see fat or sugar bloom. However, Dr. Struempler warns that white chocolate turns rancid more quickly than regular chocolate.
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