Why It's A Bad Idea To Can Homemade Chocolate Sauces

There is plenty to love about home canning, a certain satisfaction that comes from preserving food that may have otherwise gone to waste. Yet, there is a language to canning that, once learned, means that almost no food is out of your radar for preservation, per Lehman's Simpler Living. Starting with easy recipes like applesauce before moving on to the more complicated process of pickling is key not only for building confidence but knowledge as well. Fear of improperly canning food is a terror that can keep someone from learning to can at all.

For certain, there are home recipes that are not well suited for canning. Homemade chocolate sauce is one of them. The temptation to whip up a large batch of your favorite ice cream topping and can it to save for special occasions is a misguided notion. The process of canning does not lend itself to chocolate in a way that would make the sauce safe to consume. And while this may be disappointing, understanding the rationale against canning your homemade chocolate sauce is important for your health and well-being.

Avoid botulism by freezing your chocolate sauce

Anyone looking to begin their canning journey needs to understand the potential risk of botulism. The Mayo Clinic defines botulism as "a rare but serious condition caused by a toxin that attacks the body's nerves" that can occur as a result of food or wound contamination. Botulism is a life-threatening infection that all home canners should take extremely seriously. Following CDC guidance, as well as that of the National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP), can help in reducing the risk of foodborne botulism.

Homemade chocolate sauce is one canned food that stands at high risk of developing contamination owing. According to Food in Jars, high acid levels in food "[inhibit] the germination of botulism spores into the botulism toxin." As chocolate sauces are low-acid foods, they are higher at risk for botulism than foods with higher acid levels. Canning techniques involving boiling put chocolate sauces, particularly at risk. Instead of canning your chocolate sauce, simply do as the NCHFP suggests. Make your sauce, allow it to cool to room temperature, seal it in a freezer-safe container, and freeze it. It is easy enough to reheat the next time you crave a sundae.