MRE chocolate

Discussions about US MREs and other US rations
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Chara
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MRE chocolate

Post by Chara » Fri Mar 23, 2018 10:46 pm

* Greetings

I love chocolate, bitter, high calorie, relatively healthy fats with incredible shelf life

Often I've seen stuff like stevie's MRE reviews where chocolate from world war 2 is still edible. sometimes packed in little more than a tin and some paper foil or wrapper.

A lot of prepping sites recommend chocolate goes bad after a few years, but this just doesn't match what I've seen, so how long does chocolate really last for? the conditions and other variable factors will count of course, but we're talking an unopened sugarless baking bar. how long can I expect them to last as is? does coacoa butter (without the chocolate liquer) have a similar shelf life? vegetable fats seem like an incredible shelf stable commodoty in chocolate. For a lot of people, this represents a source of a vaguely unhealthy treat, but for people who can stomach chocolate without added sugar, it has some very cool advantages as a ration that your basic military mre just doesn't have.

So If you don't mind, I'd love to pick the brains of the mre info people here, what chocolates have you had? how old where they, what conditions do you imagine they where in packing wise to help preserve them? and most importantly, do you think sugar content affects the long term shelf life of chocolate?

These are all questions I ask around on, but most people will simply respond that you should replace it a few years after it expires or such.

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Tedster
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Re: MRE chocolate

Post by Tedster » Sat Mar 24, 2018 12:09 am

Cocoa and other items oxidize and lose flavor and nutrients or worse, turn rancid. It looks to me that while the earlier rations weren't as fancy there was more of eye towards durability and long term shelf life. If the packaging is not compromised and the items not subject to wide temperature swings they may taste reasonably good. Cocoa powder seems to keep well but loses zip.

Also the oils used are often the most important factor. Rapeseed aka "Canola" is a food industry favorite but seems to turn rancid (Strong Paint & Varnish odor) in a relatively short period of time. One would think Peanut Butter for example, might have Peanut Oil. One would be wrong. So far the MRE peanut butter doesn't have a shelf life problem, because they don't use Canola, I expect. Good quality chocolate does not handle high temperatures. So called "Tropical" chocolate is a poor substitute. The cocoa beverage powder is relatively poor quality and seems to be mostly powdered creamer.

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RockyRaab
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Re: MRE chocolate

Post by RockyRaab » Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:25 am

I wonder if it is the milk in milk chocolate that actually goes bad, and not the cocoa. The purer the cocoa, or the higher the percentage of cocoa, the better and longer it seems to last. The exception might be cocoa drink mix powder, which does seem to outlast a lot of other things, despite having a lot of milk powder. Perhaps it is the powdering that preserves both in that mix. I really don't know.
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Chara
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Re: MRE chocolate

Post by Chara » Sat Mar 24, 2018 1:05 pm

Tedster wrote:Cocoa and other items oxidize and lose flavor and nutrients or worse, turn rancid. It looks to me that while the earlier rations weren't as fancy there was more of eye towards durability and long term shelf life. If the packaging is not compromised and the items not subject to wide temperature swings they may taste reasonably good. Cocoa powder seems to keep well but loses zip.

Also the oils used are often the most important factor. Rapeseed aka "Canola" is a food industry favorite but seems to turn rancid (Strong Paint & Varnish odor) in a relatively short period of time. One would think Peanut Butter for example, might have Peanut Oil. One would be wrong. So far the MRE peanut butter doesn't have a shelf life problem, because they don't use Canola, I expect. Good quality chocolate does not handle high temperatures. So called "Tropical" chocolate is a poor substitute. The cocoa beverage powder is relatively poor quality and seems to be mostly powdered creamer.
proper chocolate is made with coacoa butter, not other seed oils. its certainly possible some cheap chocolates use filler, but they are mostly beyond the scope of this question.
its true that chocolate melts at certain temperatures, though this is an expected problem for higher temperature areas, Ideally everything will be sealed up so melting wont be as major of an issue (it will lose temper and bloom/spoil faster but it's still chocolate)
>I wonder if it is the milk in milk chocolate that actually goes bad, and not the cocoa. The purer the cocoa, or the higher the percentage of cocoa, the better and longer it seems to last.
this is my understanding as well, though I do want to consult experts here who have put themselves on the line by eating decade old chocolates and people who know what if any preserving methods these items underwent.

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Tedster
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Re: MRE chocolate

Post by Tedster » Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:31 pm

RockyRaab wrote:I wonder if it is the milk in milk chocolate that actually goes bad, and not the cocoa. The purer the cocoa, or the higher the percentage of cocoa, the better and longer it seems to last.
I've found cocoa powder (like Hersheys in a can, or Dutch process in bulk) itself lasts reasonably well, if somewhat stale. 10 years is no problem. It loses something over time but is still excellent for cooking and baking. I was a little unclear about Canola in an earlier post, no it's not normally used in chocolate but it illustrates the problem. The use of cheaper, ersatz ingredients and adulterants and ironically even preservatives adversely affects shelf life. Even M &M's will degrade, either eventually turning to a coarse powder, in the case of plain version, or strong mold flavor in the case of Peanut. Allergies and Aflotoxins may be a consideration in this situation.

"What doesn't kill you just makes you stronger"; don't be too sure about that. It just may not kill you right away.

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Chara
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Re: MRE chocolate

Post by Chara » Sat Mar 24, 2018 9:08 pm

Tedster wrote:
RockyRaab wrote:I wonder if it is the milk in milk chocolate that actually goes bad, and not the cocoa. The purer the cocoa, or the higher the percentage of cocoa, the better and longer it seems to last.
I've found cocoa powder (like Hersheys in a can, or Dutch process in bulk) itself lasts reasonably well, if somewhat stale. 10 years is no problem. It loses something over time but is still excellent for cooking and baking. I was a little unclear about Canola in an earlier post, no it's not normally used in chocolate but it illustrates the problem. The use of cheaper, ersatz ingredients and adulterants and ironically even preservatives adversely affects shelf life. Even M &M's will degrade, either eventually turning to a coarse powder, in the case of plain version, or strong mold flavor in the case of Peanut. Allergies and Aflotoxins may be a consideration in this situation.

"What doesn't kill you just makes you stronger"; don't be too sure about that. It just may not kill you right away.
Unfortunately, coa coa powder contains very little caloric content, and isn't worthwhile as a ration, I'm merely examining the shelf life of baking bars and looking for information on mre chocolates for why they last as long as they do, weather packagiong has much to do with it, and weather the sugar content benefits or hinders it.

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Tedster
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Re: MRE chocolate

Post by Tedster » Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:50 am

Chocolate is good for morale, it always tastes good and always gets eaten, and is always included in military rations since time immemorial (and survival kits, polar expeditions and moon shots via Apollo etc etc etc) I think you're not thinking this through :D

I think you'll find unsweetened Baker's chocolate lasts too, the milk solids are what probably degrade in consumer bars. Palm oils used to be common, they are considered "not healthy" by some, but they have a long shelf life. Cocoa was originally consumed unsweetened. Somebody decided to sweeten with sugar or honey, add some milk, and the rest as they say, is history.

I've eaten "vintage" chocolate toffee discs in MCI now that I think about it, and from early MRE, they were palatable if not in the best physical condition. I was hungry, too! That helps. For the most part I think chocolate has an outstanding shelf life if it is kept cool.

Richard w.
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Re: MRE chocolate

Post by Richard w. » Sun Mar 25, 2018 7:59 am

All about the packaging, IMO.

Have had 15 year old chocolate disks out of an MCI that were OK, but chocolate bars out of German EPAs and Brit Yorkie bars that weren't half that old that had gone white and chalky.

The difference was the MCI chocolate was canned.

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housil
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Re: MRE chocolate

Post by housil » Sun Mar 25, 2018 10:30 am

Richard w. wrote: but chocolate bars out of German EPAs and Brit Yorkie bars that weren't half that old that had gone white and chalky.
It´s not a bad sign when chocolate turns white. It´s just the fat what the chocolate "sweat" out.

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DangerousDave
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Re: MRE chocolate

Post by DangerousDave » Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:41 pm

I've ordered a few of those Polish 24hr. Rats from Lech. Every one had a a perfect CHOCOYOCO 100 gram 60% dark chocolate bar. Non were bloomed, but one was melted and liquid chocolate when I got it, cause hot weather. Did not leak. I stuck it in frig. OK in and hour. Those Poles do some decent chocolate.
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