Fun fact: Before Hershey’s Kisses existed, the term “kiss” was often used for a variety of bite-sized sweets. It wasn’t until the next century, in 1923, that the Hershey Company started using this term for tiny pieces of milk chocolate.
The following year, they got a trademark for the candy that’s so deceptively small, we constantly eat too many at once.
So, Hershey’s Kisses have been around for a hundred years and are still going strong. But what about the bag of Kisses you have in your kitchen from last Halloween? Are they still good?
Standard Hershey’s Kisses can last for about eleven to twelve months, as long as they are stored properly. Any variations that contain special fillings will deteriorate faster.
What does the Hershey Company say?
According to the Hershey Company itself, most of their products (including Kisses) will last for about a year. If there are any nuts or other fillings, the time is shorter.
It’s important to store the candy in a cool, dry location to keep it fresh as long as possible.
Also, anyone hoping to experience that right-off-the-shelf chocolate taste a year later might be disappointed. The Hershey Company warns that taste and quality will begin to fade over time, depending on how the candy is stored.
In other words, if you’re desperate for something to snack on, and last year’s trick-or-treat bag of leftover Kisses is all you have nearby, you’ll probably be fine. But it won’t taste as good as a new batch straight from the store.
I see white spots on my Kisses. Is that mold?
Probably not. There is a common event known as “chocolate bloom” that causes white or tan spots to form on the surface of the candy. That’s because of the way cocoa butter reacts to heat and humidity. You can think of this as a kind of condensation on the chocolate.
It’s not unsafe. The real problem is that blooming usually means the chocolate won’t taste as good anymore. It’s often better to just buy a new batch when this happens.
Of course, mold is possible, though not particularly common. If your Kisses have been exposed to moisture or other contaminants, there is always a chance that something dangerous could grow. If you suspect mold, throw the candy away.
Why is there an expiration date?
Most chocolates and other foods will come with a date stamped on them as a guideline for consumers. This helps people understand when the food is likely to be at its best. Generally, you can assume that most food will last beyond its expiration date up to a certain point. It just might start to lose its flavor or texture as time goes on.
Kisses are no exception to this rule. They can last an extraordinarily long time – up to a year. But that doesn’t mean you will necessarily enjoy eating them at this point. It all depends on how you store them and how sensitive your tastes are.
What happens after the expiration date?
They’ll start to taste bad. That’s the main thing that you’ll notice as Hershey’s Kisses age.
As time goes on, the chocolate is more likely to bloom, which will affect the taste, texture, and visual appeal of the candy.
If you can’t get past the hankering you have for those old Kisses, or if you’re just bursting with curiosity, you can try one that’s about a year old. That should be a safe option, though not likely a delicious one.
People have described them as stale and unpleasant, with a slightly foul aftertaste.
Of course, if you notice something growing on the chocolate or a bad smell, you’ll have to squash your curiosity and throw everything in the trash. Those are signs that something worse than normal aging has taken place, and the chocolate is no longer safe to consume.
Does it matter if the bag is opened?
It does matter, actually. Keeping the bag closed may buy you another couple of weeks of freshness. If you’re scouring the sales bin after the last holiday for great deals on Kisses, remember to keep your purchases sealed up tight until you’re ready to dig in.
You can also buy an air-tight container for your Kisses, if you’re truly dedicated to the cause of eating old chocolate. This will help prevent humidity and outside influences from making your treats deteriorate quickly.
For those of you who just found a lone Hershey’s Kiss of unknown origin at the bottom of your purse or backpack, no judgment. However, it’s maybe time to let that piece go.
If it’s been open and rolling around down there for who-knows-how-long, it has been exposed to heat, moisture, and whatever else you put in your bag. Chances are it’s not going to be good to eat.
How should Hershey’s Kisses be stored?
Here we go. The ultimate Action Plan for the discerning Hershey’s Kisses collector.
There are a few simple steps you’ll want to take to really up your chocolate game.
Get a container that will keep the freshness in. People often use these for cereals, rice, and pasta. There’s no reason you can’t use them for your Kisses. Just make sure the container truly does seal out any moisture or air that wants to sneak in to destroy your chocolate.
Dark and dry:
The kitchen pantry is a great place for most items you want to store long-term. This is because the pantry is usually shaded from direct sunlight and designed to remain dry.
Should I store them in the fridge or freezer?
This really depends on where you live. If your area has a high rate of humidity, and you worry that the food in the pantry is going to be exposed to moisture, you may be able to extend the life of your chocolate by keeping it in the fridge or freezer.
However, there are a couple of reasons you might not want to do this.
First, chocolate tends to absorb the flavors of things near it. If you store your Kisses next to, say, last night’s egg salad, you might not enjoy what happens next.
Next, while everything may remain dry in the fridge and freezer, items tend to attract moisture or “sweat” as soon as they come out to thaw. That means you’d better eat everything right away when you take it out, or you’ll just have introduced the very problem you tried to avoid.
What about dark chocolate?
If you enjoy dark chocolate, you’re in luck. The taste of these Kisses will outlast milk chocolate pieces every time. They aren’t going to be safe forever, of course, but if you’re hoping for chocolate that will keep its flavor the longest, go for dark.
Why do Europeans not like American chocolate?
There is an interesting debate about American chocolate, Kisses included. While Americans love the taste, Europeans in particular tend to think it tastes bad. In fact, some have gone so far as to say it tastes like actual vomit.
They aren’t eating gone-off Kisses when they say this. The interesting fact is that different ingredients and styles of preparing chocolate around the world lead to dramatically different flavors.
For many people who are used to European chocolates, American favorites like Hershey’s Kisses have a tangy, unpleasant taste. Too bad for them.