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There are times when the labels on the foods tell us clearly whether we need to keep the food item in the fridge or not. But what happens in other cases when you need to guess what to do? You may be surprised that in many cases you guessed wrong. In fact, storing certain foods in the fridge can change their flavor or texture, or speed up their deterioration and make them moldy.
Many of us actually store some of the foods mentioned below in the fridge, whereas they are really best kept on the kitchen counter or in the pantry.
Here is your guide for storing 20 common foods:
1. Tomatoes – If tomatoes are stored in the fridge, they start to lose their flavor and texture. Keep them on the counter out of the plastic bag in a bowl or a basket. If you want them to ripen faster, keep them on the counter in a paper bag. If they become over-ripe, it’s time to cook them to make a tomato sauce. You can also read my article how to fight cancer and heart disease with tomatoes.
2. Potatoes – Refrigerating potatoes will change their flavor as the starch brakes down, and you will get sweet and gritty potatoes. Store them in a paper bag in a cool dark place like your pantry or a cupboard (plastic bags trap moisture and promote mold).
3. Onions – Storing onions in the fridge can make them moldy and soft because of the humidity in the fridge. It is best to store onions in a paper bag or in mesh bag in a cool dark and well ventilated Don’t keep the onions near the potatoes, because if stored together, the onions will rot faster. Once you cut the onions or slice them, they can be stored in a sealed container in the vegetable drawer in your fridge.
4. Garlic – Storing garlic in the fridge can make it moldy so it deteriorates faster. It can also make it sprout, so it is best to store garlic in a cool, dark and well ventilated. If you love garlic, read my article how to use garlic as a medicine.
5. Winter squashes – winter squashes such as butternut, spaghetti, acorn and delicata are best to be kept at room temperature in the pantry.
6. Bananas – Green bananas should be kept at room temperature, as refrigerating them prevents proper ripening. Ripe bananas should be kept at room temperature in you intend to eat them within a few days. If spots start to develop on the skin and you don’t want the bananas to over-ripe, store them in the produce drawer of your refrigerator after they are fully ripe. The banana skin will continue to turn brown, but the fruit inside will remain firm and perfect to eat. Find here 7 good reasons to eat bananas.
7. Melon & watermelon – Whole melons and watermelons have the best flavor when kept on the counter at room temperature. Once they are cut, store in the fridge. Also read my article about 13 reasons to eat watermelon.
8. Apples – refrigerating fresh whole apples will affect their taste and texture over time, so they can be stored them on the counter if you intend to eat them within a week or two. To keep them longer than that, you will need to refrigerate them.
9. Citrus fruits - Most citrus fruits like oranges and lemons will keep at room temperature in a cool dark place for several days or about a week. After one week store them in the produce drawer in your fridge.
10. Stone fruits – unripe stone fruits such as peaches, nactarines, apricots and plums are best to ripen at room temperature. Once they are ripe, eat them or store in the fruit drawer to increase their longevity.
11. Avocado – Unripe avocados should be left at room temperature. Once they are ripe and you don’t want to eat them right away, keep them in the fridge. Find here 11 healthy reasons to eat avocado and what to do with the pit.
12. Dried fruits – No need to refrigerate them.
13.Oils – Oils don’t need to be refrigerated as it will make them thick, harder and cloudy. They should be kept in a cool dark place. Also read my article about the best cooking oils for healthy heart.
14. Bread – Refrigerating bread will make it dry. If you intend to eat the bread within a few days, store it on the counter and freeze the rest. You may also want to have a look at my previous article about 8 scary ingredients you didn’t know where in your bread.
15. Nuts – Nuts can be stored in a cool, dark place, or if you buy bulk nuts, refrigerate them to increase their life shelf. Read about the amazing health benefits of nuts and seeds here.
Herbs & Spices
16. Fresh herbs – You don’t need to refrigerate fresh herbs as they lose flavor, get dry and absorb smells of the food around them. It’s better to keep them on the counter in a cup of fresh water. If you want however to store them in a fridge, make sure to store them in an air tight container. If you are interested in herbal remedies, you can find more useful information in my e-book the Herbal Remedies Guide. This e-book will teach you how to treat common ailments using herbs.
17. Spices – Ground spices don’t need to be refrigerated. Store them in airtight containers in cool dry places. The airtight containers will protect them from moisture and oxidation.
18. Coffee – Coffee will lose its flavor and absorb odors if kept in the fridge. Store coffee in an air tight container in a cool dark place. Find here how to clean your coffee maker to prevent mold in it.
19.Honey – You don’t need to store honey in the fridge as it can cause it to harden and crystallize. Store in cool, dry area, away from direct sunlight and keep tightly covered. Also read my article about 13 ways to use honey for your health.
20. Peanut butter – you don’t need to refrigerate an opened jar of commercially manufactured peanut butter. Just store it in a dark place at normal room temperature and it will last for about 3 months. Refrigerating it will extend shelf life to additional 3-4 months. As for natural homemade peanut butter, if you plan to consume it within a month or so, you don’t need to refrigerate it, but keep it in cool place.