Cocoa butter has a variety of uses but many people are concerned that they may not be storing it properly to maximize its shelf life and usability.
Seeing as this precious butter isn’t that easy to get a hold of, it’s best to preserve as much as possible.
Thankfully, this butter keeps very well and stores very well. Here’s what you should know about storing cocoa butter.
How to store cocoa butter
While there isn’t a ‘best’ way to store cocoa butter (it’s very forgiving) you definitely need to keep it in an airtight container, and a cool place.
Cocoa butter turns solid at room temperature, so any temperature below room temp will be fine.
For better results, storing it in smaller containers allows you to only use as much as needed at one time.
Storing Cocoa Butter Safely
Depending on how much cocoa butter you have, there are a few other methods you can use to store it. Since the butter turns solid at room temperature, you may not always want to store it in the fridge.
Depending on how quickly you plan to use the butter will also change how you can best store it. These are a few pointers on storage methods.
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Short Term Storage: Using Within a Few Months
If you have a supply of cocoa butter that you plan on using within a few months, then you may be better off storing it in a cool dark place such as the back of your pantry.
Cocoa butter can pick up flavors of herbs, spices, and other strong foods so you’ll want to keep it away from coffee, garlic, and anything similar. Store in airtight container.
It’s also a good idea to keep the butter away from heat and direct sunlight.
If exposed to high heat and direct sunlight for an extended period of time, it may lead to the butter becoming rancid and unusable.
Always check the butter to see if it has any strange color or smell before using. Storing it incorrectly may also change the texture of the butter, making it harder to use in recipes or skincare.
Mid-Term Storage: Using Within a Year
If you plan to store cocoa butter for more than a few months, then storing it in a temperature-controlled environment is your best option.
For a more extended period of time, you’re often better off avoiding any temperature variations, which is why the fridge is a good place for storage.
If you have the room, consider keeping the cocoa butter in a dry place of the fridge such as an empty vegetable crisper. Just like the short-term storage you should also try to keep it away from any strong flavors in your fridge.
Long-Term Storage: Up to Five Years
Although this storage option may not always be available, most professionals who work with cocoa butter recommend long-term storage at 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is probably slightly warmer than your average fridge temperature. Some people may be tempted to freeze the bars but this may actually cause changes in the texture and appearance.
Treating cocoa butter in a similar way that you would treat and store chocolate will help to avoid some common problems for long-term storage. If you want to keep your cocoa butter stable for up to five years and don’t have an area that’s ~50 degrees F, then the fridge is best.
Make sure to check your cocoa butter periodically and rotate it as it is used. Always check the butter before using for any texture changes or to note if it has an unpleasant odor.
Keeping Cocoa Butter from Going Rancid
Although the butter has a long shelf life, many people want to know if it can go bad.
The good news is that the composition of cocoa butter is resistant to oxidation so it helps to prevent it from becoming rancid. This doesn’t mean that it can’t occur though.
Cocoa butter can become rancid over time or if exposed to high heat and direct sunlight. Being exposed to temperatures above 75 degrees or being stored in direct sunlight will speed up how quickly it goes bad.
For the best place, storing in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight is the best option.
How To Tell If Cocoa Butter Has Gone Bad
If you’re concerned that your cocoa butter is no longer good, there are a few signs that it shouldn’t be used.
The first is its general odor. Cocoa butter tends to have a mild smell. Signs that it is no longer safe to eat or use may include a rotten or unpleasant smell.
Any strong odors with the butter may also mean that it has come into contact with onions or other foods that have affected it. Finally, any strong smells like ammonia may indicate that the butter was mixed with other ingredients and is not pure.
The texture of the butter is another way to determine if it’s still safe to use. Cocoa butter should be solid at room temperature but melt smoothly when introduced to heat.
Any lumps in the butter that don’t melt or a grainy texture may be signs of it going bad or impurity.
In most cases, good storage will prevent cocoa butter from going bad when used within a few years. For anyone who has stored the butter for an extended period of time, always check before using.
Using Cocoa Butter
Most fats and oils don’t last as long as cocoa butter, but its unique profile allows it to be more resistant to rancidity than others.
When keeping it around, knowing how to store cocoa butter will ensure that you don’t waste any of it. These guidelines can be used for both large and small amounts.
Regardless of when you store it, consider dating each package so you know how long you’ve had it around for the best results.
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Cocoa Butter vs Cacao Butter
When shopping for cocoa butter, some may find a product which is spelled similarly but not quite the same.
The primary difference between the two is that cacao butter is manufactured with a slower process that does not exceed the temperature of 115 F.
The difference in spelling indicates that cacao is a raw food product while cocoa butter has been treated with higher heat.
We’ve covered this in more detail here.