Top 5 Holiday Baking Staples and How to Keep Them Fresh for Longer
Stocking up on baking essentials to make your favourite holiday treats? To help you make the most of these classic ingredients and prevent food waste, we’re sharing tips for storing them.
1. Cocoa & Chocolate
Cocoa powder will last for two years or more if stored in an airtight container in a dark, cool place.
Baking chocolate, no matter what kind, requires a little more care as it can develop white spots or a white film called bloom with temperature changes. Chocolate bloom is not harmful, it just looks different. To prevent chocolate bloom and avoid keep chocolate at its, store at a consistent cool temperature in an airtight container away from light.
The more milk solids are mixed into chocolate, the shorter the shelf life of chocolate and the higher the risk that chocolate will turn rancid. As a result, expect white chocolate to have a shorter shelf life than milk chocolate which has a shorter shelf life than dark chocolate. For extended storage, wrap chocolate well and place in an airtight container in the freezer.
If you have too many chocolate reindeers or bon bons (is that even possible?) consider making this Leftover Chocolate Fridge Cake.
Unlike honey or granulated sugar, molasses has a limited shelf life and is susceptible to bacteria and mold, especially in warm, humid conditions. Molasses with mold spots, an off colour, or a filmy layer across the surface is no longer good to use. Controlling exposure to warm, moist conditions is key to preventing molasses from spoiling.
Store molasses in a cool, dry, dark location in an airtight container, being sure to clean the rim after every use. It can be stored like this for one year or more.
Molasses can be stored in the fridge to help control for warm house temperatures, but it is not necessary. Freezing molasses is not recommended.
Use it up!
- Make your own brown sugar by combining molasses and granulated sugar. For dark brown sugar mix 2 teaspoons molasses with 1 cup white sugar. Use clean fingers to rub the molasses evenly into the sugar. Store in an airtight container.
- Mix with BBQ sauce for extra delicious pulled pork or shredded chicken.
- Make your own BBQ sauce.
- Use in marinades for grilled meat or veggies.
- Bake savoury dark, pumpernickel style breads in addition to ginger sweets.
- Make homemade baked beans.
- Mix with a little bit of syrup to top pancakes or a bowl of oatmeal.
Store spices in airtight containers in a cool, dark space away from moisture and the heat of the stove or dishwasher.
Ground spices can remain fresh and tasty for one year while whole spices like cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg, cardamom seeds and star anise can be kept for three to five years.
To get the best flavour from spices, buy in small quantities at a bulk store and transfer into an airtight glass container. Always label and date your spices.
Airtight containers can be kept in the freezer for even longer shelf life, but do not store spices in the fridge as they can easily absorb moisture or odours there.
Use up extra holiday spices to make Chai tea or mulled cider.
Due to their high fat content, nuts can turn rancid quickly. Keep them in an airtight container away from light and heat.
Nuts in their shell will last longer than shelled nuts. Whole shelled nuts will last longer than chopped, roasted, or ground nuts. Chestnuts should be used right away or stored in the fridge or freezer.
To keep nuts fresh longer, store them in the fridge; the freezer will keep them fresh even longer.
Use extra nuts in granola, on charcuterie boards, or to top salads.
Here is a guide, on how long nuts can last if stored correctly and in the right conditions.
|Nuts in their Shell||8 months||1 year||2 years|
|Shelled nuts||3 months||6 year||1 year+|
|Chestnuts (keep in shell until ready to use)||0||1 month||1 year|
5. Dried & Candied Fruit
No matter the type, preserved fruit should be kept in airtight containers in a cool, dark cupboard. The biggest threat to any of these preserved fruits is exposure to moisture, so keep them dry.
To extend their shelflife keep preserved fruit in the fridge or freezer.
All these preserved fruits can be stored in a pantry for one year or more. Keeping them in the fridge can extend their shelf life to two years while storing them in the freezer can keep them fresh and tasty for many years.
Pro Tip: Refresh hard, dried raisins or cranberries by soaking in warm water for 15 minutes before using.
Now we want to know, what are you baking this holiday season? Share your photos and your tips for using up extra ingredients with us on Instagram at @lovefoodhatewasteca.
P.S. Stay tuned for our next article on storing common holiday grocery items like cranberries, cheese, and crackers. Charcuterie board anyone?!