It may appear as though the best way to make food last longer is to throw it all in the fridge the minute you get back from the supermarket. Cold storage is a necessity for many foods, but the chilly air of the fridge can have a negative effect on some healthy favorites. But, some foods go off more quickly, lose their taste and texture, or simply turn black, if they are refrigerated.
Putting these foods into the fridge won’t cause you any harm; however, it can certainly cause a nuisance for your palate as textures and tastes become ruined. To avoid removing the taste from your food, here are some foods you shouldn’t put into the fridge.
15 Foods You Shouldn’t Refrigerate
Putting tomatoes in the fridge will stop them from ripening and kill their flavor.
The chill of the icebox makes tomatoes dull and mealy. Store on the counter (under-ripe ones can go on the windowsill). If they begin to get too ripe, it’s time to make tomato jam or roasted-tomato sauce.
Keeping your tomatoes at room temperature will ensure they’ll have optimal flavor and juiciness.
Warm temperatures, around 15-20°C (59-68°F), are needed for a banana to ripen correctly, and this process is halted when it’s put in the fridge. The skin may also eventually turn black in the fridge because of the impact the temperature has on the fruit’s cell walls.
Bananas will continue to ripen at room temperature – but when put in the fridge, the ripening process stops. Store unripe bananas on the countertop, out of direct sunlight.
You can put a fully ripe banana in the fridge for a couple of days, but don’t be alarmed when it turns black. The blackening occurs due to the banana skin’s ethylene content, which undergoes a chemical change when subjected to cold temperatures.
Potatoes need to be stored somewhere cool and dry, either in a paper or perforated bag to keep them dry – but not in the fridge. Keeping them refrigerated can change the potato’s starch into sugar, which will affect their texture and cause them to become discolored and taste sweet once cooked.
For the best flavor and texture, store raw potatoes in a well-ventilated basket or drawer, out of direct sunlight.
4. Open Food Cans
Once opened, don’t store a partially filled food can in the refrigerator. While the cold temps will keep the product from spoiling for a little while, the food can develop a metallic taste due to metal acids that leach into the food from the can itself.
The best way to store unused canned food, is to transfer it to a separate airtight plastic food container and then refrigerate.
5. Citrus Fruits
Like many other fruits, citrus fruits don’t need to be stored in the fridge. Makes sense – they do ripen on the vine in the peak of warm, summer weather.
The key to citrus fruit ripeness is preserving its moisture content. The cool temperatures of the fridge actually dry the fruit out. Keep on the counter and make sure get rid of the ones that mold. The mold can quickly spread to the others.
However, that only gives you about a week to get through them before they start to go bad. If you anticipate it will take you longer to get through your citrus supply, you can extend their shelf life by keeping them in the fridge.
Whole onions should ideally be kept in a cool, dark place. They contain starch so they’ll become damp and soggy, and ultimately spoil if left in the fridge for too long.
If the onion has been cut, then the layers begin the process of drying up even if you do wrap it up tightly. Also, cut onions tend to engulf the location it’s currently in with its smell, which is why a lot of wooden chopping boards make everything taste like onion after a while.
Find a 1000 year old jar of honey, and it’ll be as fresh as the day it was put into that jar – honey a naturally preserved food. Putting honey into the fridge will increase the speed of the sugar crystallization which turns it into an almost dough-like form, making for a hard time to scoop out.
Honey will never turn on you no matter where you keep it.
Breads don’t tend to do that well being stored in the fridge. The only time you should refrigerate bread is when it is in sandwich form, as it likes to go incredibly tough and chewy in the cold temperature. The cold temperature also promotes the bread to become stale far more quickly.
Store your bread in a bread box or on a cabinet shelf, but not in the fridge. If you know you won’t use the whole loaf before it goes bad, wrap the excess in freezer paper and store it in the freezer for up to one month.
Unripe and uncut melons can be kept in the cupboard. There’s little impact when it comes to freshness, and leaving such a sizeable fruit out of the fridge is a real space-saver.
Cut melons should be covered and refrigerated.
The fridge is the worst place for your bar or box of chocolates. The temperature and moisture of the fridge can tamper with the taste, color and texture.
Chocolate (specifically the cocoa butter) also absorbs the smell of surrounding food, so it’s best kept away from other, odorous ingredients. Instead, protect your chocolate in a cool, dry place, in an airtight container if you’ve already broken into it.
11. Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread
This beloved condiment is super-spreadable when left out of the fridge. The distinctive chocolate flavor is more intense when not chilled.
Refrigerating your favorite chocolate-hazelnut spread just seizes up the chocolate and makes for a less enjoyable and spreadable experience.
12. Peanut Butter
Processed peanut butter can become hard and stodgy in the fridge, meaning spreading a layer of the stuff on your toast will be an arduous task.
When it comes to natural peanut butter, it’s more of a grey area. The spread may last longer when kept in the fridge, but the oils generally separate and at cooler temperatures, it’s harder to mix the product back to the right consistency. Eat it within six to nine months and it will be safe outside of the fridge.
The creamy goodness of this fruit is best enjoyed at room temp. Many avocados available at the grocery are green and hard, and need a couple days to ripen before they’re ready to eat. They’ll only ripen, though, if you keep them out of the fridge.
The only time you should refrigerate an avocado is when it’s completely ripe but you’re not ready to use it. Then, refrigeration will give you an additional day or two before it goes bad.
14. Olive Oil
Keeping your olive oil in the fridge is a bad idea. Refrigerators are damp and humid places and the condensation can severely affect the flavor of your olive oil. It will also cause your olive oil to become cloudy and solidify over time.
Instead of the fridge, try putting your olive oil in cool, dark cupboard. It should keep for at least a year. Unopened bottles of olive oil can even stay good for up to two years. If you currently have your olive oil in the fridge and it is changing consistency, don’t fret. Just take it out. Once at room temperature the consistency will change back to normal.
Berries can be tricky to store and if you do it the wrong way they will mold and become soggy quickly. It’s actually best not to refrigerate berries, but only if you are planning on using them promptly. They remain juicy and firm at room temperature.
Only rinse the berries right before using them, otherwise, they are likely to mold. When you do rinse them, do it in a colander. Don’t submerge those precious berries in water. You can store them in the fridge for longer-term use but make sure they aren’t in an air-tight container. This applies to all types of berries, including strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.