Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, Christmas and other popular holidays are a great time to stock up on pantry favorites, including the ever-popular chocolates!
With 50 to 90 percent off sale items calling for a place in your cupboard, stocking up on staple items like coffee, cocoa, tea, and chocolate is super easy to do. With the proper storage, some of these items will also make it straight through to the next year for gift giving, without sacrificing the quality or taste.
Chocolate can be stored for up to a year, in its original wrapper, in a dry, dark place with an ideal temperature of 60 degrees Fahreheit. Dark chocolate may be stored for longer than one year in the same conditions.
Tea bags and Loose Tea can be stored in their original container (preferably tin) in a dry, dark place for several months. Any exposure to light, air, moisture, or strong odored foods will adversely affect tea leaves.
Hardy Candy can be stored in their original packaging in a cool, dark, dry space for up to one year. The key is to keep the candy from getting heated, ideally store at 60 – 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Caramels can be stored in their original packaging in a cool, dark, dry space for up to six months. If you want to use the caramels for recipes or for coating Halloween apples, place the caramels in their original packaging in an airtight container and freeze for up to one year. Unwrap while frozen, then completely thaw before using.
For up-to-date information and charts on food safety and storage, visit the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service website at www.fsis.usda.gov