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Is Chocolate a Good Survival Food? (And How to Store It)

Nobody wants to experience tragic events caused by natural calamities, but as much as we want to prevent them, these events are simply uncontrollable, and we don’t have much choice but to be prepared. It’s only natural to be curious about which are the best survival foods. So what about tasty foods like chocolate? I mean, who wants to eat nothing but bland food in an apocalypse?

Chocolate is an excellent survival food to include in a survival kit or stockpile since it packs a high amount of calories in a small portable package. As a decent source of protein, carbohydrates, and fat with some vitamins and minerals, chocolate can also offer a morale boost in times of strife.

If you want more info on how and why you should consider including chocolate as a survival food, please read on.

Bar of Dark Chocolate

What Is the Best Chocolate for Long-Term Storage?

Dark chocolate is by far the best for long-term storage. It only requires cocoa mass, cocoa butter, and sugar to produce. Other types of chocolate add in dairy, which makes their shelf life decrease dramatically.

Bottom line: The absence of dairy content makes dark chocolate superior when it comes to longevity.

Dark Chocolate Has Antioxidant Properties

Dark chocolate is actually surprisingly healthy when taken as part of a balanced diet. Not only is it an excellent comfort food that can help with your stress level, but it can also help repair and cleanse your body similar to other antioxidants like many fruits and vegetables.

“Benefits of eating chocolate may include lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke, supporting cognitive function, and more. However, further research is necessary and chocolate can also have some negative health effects.”

Medical News Today

Chocolate Shelf Life

When stored at about 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, dark chocolate has been known to keep for about 5 years or so. On the other hand, white and milk chocolate will typically only last about one year due to its dairy content.

How to Store Chocolate for the Long Term

Chocolate makers usually wrap their finished product tightly, which means the original wrapper is often the best to protect it. So, there’s usually no need to transfer the chocolate to a new container.

A temperature below 20 degrees Celsius or 68 Fahrenheit is required to preserve its form. Therefore, keeping it away from sources of heat such as radiators, lamps, furnaces, and sunlight is a must if you are wanting to preserve it for a long time.

Should I Refrigerate Chocolate?

Refrigeration is a viable option if you are unable to store chocolate in a consistently cool and dry place. However, placing it inside the fridge will make it prone to condensation and odor absorption.

To mitigate the issue, wrap chocolate with a protective wrapper, such as plastic wrap, or inside a plastic baggie. Then, place it inside a plastic container, like this one found on Amazon, before putting it in the fridge. This step will make its texture, flavor, and color preserve much better.

Can You Freeze Dark Chocolate?

Dark chocolate can be frozen. In fact, it can extend the shelf life by 25% to 50% longer than if stored unfrozen.

Can Dark Chocolate Go Bad?

Dark chocolate can go bad. If you find the product smells off or has a strange taste it is best to err on the side of caution and not consume it.

How Long Can a Person Survive on Chocolate Alone?

Chocolate contains these five nutrients carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. These five nutrients are essential to our survival, but chocolate alone is not enough to supply other relevant aspects of our body, which may result in complications in the long run.

So just to be clear, you would never want to try to live on chocolate by itself.

A person could probably only survive on chocolate alone for a few months due to nutrient deficiencies. It all depends on what a person’s health was like before they began their “chocolate only diet” and how the amount of physical labor one partakes in.

While I was unable to find any documented cases of people eating chocolate, only if you look at the case of hardtack, you might get an idea of what could happen. In case you want to read more on the topic, I wrote an article called How Long Can You Survive on Hardtack? | Is It a Good Survival Food?.

But since you asked, let’s just assume that nutrient deficiencies don’t exist and you found yourself stuck in a chocolate factory during the apocalypse. How much do we need to survive?

The amount of chocolate you may need to prepare will depend on how long you want your supply to last during unwanted events, and we will try to break it down based on the calories our body needs each day.

  • When it comes to calories, the average we can get from 100 grams of a chocolate bar is about 436 to 577 based on the leading brands.
  • Each day, an adult man requires about 2400 calories to maintain or prevent starvation, and about 2000 are needed for an adult woman.

On average, we need to consume four to five bars of 100 grams of chocolate each day to supply what our body needs. That is 150 bars a month and 1800 bars a year per individual adult.

Don’t Keep a Ton of Dark Chocolate, Do This Instead

To be realistic, chocolate should be treated more of a luxury food to boost morale over the short term in a survival situation. I recommend only keeping enough for this purpose, maybe just packing a couple of packs of your favorite kind based on how big your family is.

Honestly, for the long-term, I’d stock up on bulk cocoa powder like this kind found on Amazon. The stuff keeps a really long time, so you can just make your own chocolate down the road.

Nutrients in Chocolate

Here’s a table that outlines the typical nutrient content of dark chocolate, which is often considered for long-term storage due to its stability and health benefits. The nutritional values are based on a 100-gram serving of dark chocolate, approximately 70-85% cocoa:

NutrientAmount% Daily Value (DV)
Calories600 kcal
Protein7.79 g16%
Total Fat42.63 g65%
Saturated Fat24.49 g122%
Carbohydrates45.90 g15%
Dietary Fiber10.9 g44%
Sugars23.99 g
Calcium73 mg7%
Iron12.02 mg67%
Magnesium228 mg57%
Phosphorus308 mg31%
Potassium715 mg15%
Sodium20 mg1%
Zinc3.34 mg30%
Copper1.75 mg194%
Manganese1.92 mg83%
Caffeine80 mg
Theobromine810 mg

Key Points:

  • Calories and Fat: Dark chocolate is high in calories and fats, making it an energy-dense food that is beneficial in survival situations for quick energy boosts.
  • Fiber and Sugars: It contains a significant amount of fiber, which aids in digestion, although it also has high sugar content.
  • Minerals: It is particularly rich in iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese, minerals that are crucial for various bodily functions including muscle and nerve function, immune system support, and energy production.
  • Mood Improvement: The presence of theobromine and caffeine, both stimulants, can help improve mood and mental alertness, which can be crucial in stressful survival situations.

This breakdown demonstrates why chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can be a valuable part of a survival diet, not just for its caloric intake but also for its nutrient density. However, as noted in the survival article, it should not be relied upon as a sole food source due to its lack of certain essential nutrients and high sugar content.

Other Uses of Chocolate

Here are a few other uses for chocolate that you might not have thought of:

  • For Trading – Imagine it’s the apocalypse, and you are trading with another group of people. Imagine the bargaining power you would have if they knew you had a few bars of chocolate to trade them. Just make sure you don’t let them know you have crates of the stuff, or you may be in for a hostile takeover.
  • Good For Digestive Health – Most people don’t realize it, but cocoa is actually a really good remedy for diarrhea. If your group ever has problems with cholera or some other digestive ailment, try prescribing chocolate. It might save your lives!
  • Helps Sore Joints – Chocolate is actually a halfway decent anti-inflammatory “medicine”. Just keep in mind that the darker the chocolate, the better it is for you.

Final Thoughts

When calamities or disaster strikes, in the heat of the moment, you are going to look for something you can carry easily and something that can give you instant energy and comfort along the way. Chocolate, especially the dark varieties, fits the bill perfectly.

While chocolate may not be the healthiest option during the crisis, without a doubt, it is one of the things we should include in our survival kit.

So, have you decided to include chocolate in your survival supply? If so, how much? Please comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

For more, don’t miss What To Add to Chocolate To Make It Harden? (Complete Guide).

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