Our first instinct when we get home from the grocery store is to get everything put away so we can finally sit down and relax. Sometimes, depending on how stressful the shopping experience was, this means putting perishables in the fridge before throwing ourselves on the couch for a few minutes. The problem? Some of us are refrigerating foods that don’t belong in the cold.
Not all perishable foods need to be refrigerated. Products like milk, cheese, eggs, butter, and meat should end up in the fridge right away because they will spoil. Some of your other favorites seem like they belong in the fridge, but the cold temperatures will actually alter the taste and alter the texture. Some foods actually stay fresh in room temperature environments whereas putting them in the fridge may cause them to rot faster.
Here’s a quick checklist of 10 foods you should not be storing in the fridge:
- Honey has a very long, stable shelf life. Putting it in the fridge will cause it to thicken and crystalize, making it harder for you to pour when you want to use it. Keep it in a tightly sealed container and it will do just fine in your cupboard.
- Tomatoes don’t ripen in the cold and keeping them in the fridge can change their texture. Keep unripe tomatoes on the counter until they are ripe enough to use.
- Unripe avocados won’t ripen in the fridge. Don’t put them in the fridge until they are ripe and, even then, make sure you use it within a week or it will go bad.
- Melons like cantaloupe or watermelon don’t need to go into the fridge until they are cut. Leaving them on the counter will keep the flavor fresh and might even preserve the antioxidant content.
- Nuts absorb odors from your refrigerator, altering their flavor. The only benefit of storing them in the cold is that the natural oils don’t go rancid as quickly, but you can keep them just as fresh by storing them in an airtight container in your cupboard.
- Garlic heads should be stored in a cool, dry container with a bit of ventilation and the cloves should be used within 10 days of the head being broken. The only garlic you should store in the fridge is the pre-packaged peeled, whole or minced garlic you purchase at the grocery store.
- Apples will stay fresh longer when left out of the fridge — They look really nice out on display, too. Don’t throw them in the fridge unless they’ve been there for a week or two and you simply aren’t using them fast enough.
- Bread can go in the fridge, but it tends to dry out and become stale. If you are really worried about it going bad, put it in the freezer instead and just defrost what you need. Otherwise, leaving it on the counter or in the pantry is just fine.
- Potatoes should always be stored in a cool, dark place. Placing them in the fridge will cause the starch to convert to sugars, making them rot faster.
- Coffee beans need to stay dry. Putting coffee in the refrigerator exposes it to condensation and can alter the flavor. Keep your coffee in a dark, airtight container for best results.
Remember, safety comes first when it comes to food storage and lifespan. No matter how you’ve stored it, be sure to toss anything that doesn’t look or smell right when you go to eat it!
Thank you to our friends at WellnessPursuits.com for contributing this piece.
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