Kitchen Hack: Foods to Never Keep in the Fridge

Knowing what to store and where to store isn’t as obvious as you think.  Some food items seem like they’d belong in the fridge (especially our friends like fruits and vegetables), but some prefer room temperatures. Photo: @organized_kitchen.

Knowing what to store and where to store isn’t as obvious as you think.  Some food items seem like they’d belong in the fridge (especially our friends like fruits and vegetables), but some prefer room temperatures.

Here’s a quick little tip sheet on some of the most commonly improperly stored foods:

 

Cucumbers:  The saying might be: “stay cool as a cucumber,” but that has more to do with cucumbers helping you feel refreshed than the veggie wanting to be kept cool. In fact, cucumbers don’t like the cold at all!  To help prolong their shelf-life, stick with the counter-top or pantry.

Uncut melons: Not only does chilling whole, uncut melons take up WAY too much room in the fridge, but it also ruins the flavour.  Chilly temperatures also impact the ripening process and reduce the healthy antioxidants.  We recommend keeping them on the countertop until you’re ready to slice and serve. If there are leftovers, make sure you store them in an airtight container (for a maximum of 2-3 days).

Raw potatoes: cold temperatures affect the starchy complex carbohydrates in raw spuds.  That’s what gives them a sweeter taste and grittier feel when cooked.  For optimal flavour and texture, store raw potatoes in a well-ventilated basket or drawer in a pantry (you also want to avoid sunlight).

Honey: when refrigerated, honey cools and hardens which makes it very difficult to use.  Remember, it’s already a natural preservative so there’s no need to keep it in the fridge.  Pantries are the perfect place for a bear’s best friend.

Tomatoes: this comes as a shock to many shoppers, but tomatoes taste super bland once they hit the cold air.  That’s because, once harvested, tomatoes continue to ripen and develop a rich flavour, but only if they’re kept away from the cold.  Instead of the fridge, keep tomatoes on the counter and away from the sun.

Bread: people think storing bread in the fridge will help extend the shelf life, but the freezer is the only place to help with this.  Refrigerating bread might slow mold growth, but it also makes bread tough and stale.  Opt for a bread box or pantry and freeze whatever you can’t use before expiration.

Strawberries: the trick to storing strawberries is actually in the prep.  Don’t WASH them!  The fridge doesn’t help prolong their lives.  It merely reduces their sweet, perky flavour and turns them to mush.  Again, the counter and try to eat them within a few days of picking.  Strawberries don’t have a long shelf life so buy them when you’re ready to eat them.

Whole garlic bulbs: Storing garlic in the fridge can cause it to shoot bitter green stems and result in mold.  The humid conditions of a fridge are not garlic’s friend.  Ideally, you want to find a dark, well-ventilated spot to keep your bulbs bursting with flavour.

Open cans of food: while cold temperatures might keep the actual food inside the can from spoiling, the food can end up with a metallic taste.  Acids tend to leach from the can into the leftover food, which is never good.  Your best bet is to transfer the remaining food to another container and recycle the can.    

Peaches: ideally, store your peaches on the counter until they are ever so soft and fragrant.  You can then place them in the fridge but only for a day or two.  Peaches actually dehydrate when left in the fridge for long periods of time so it’s best to avoid it if you want a juicy snack.

Other items to avoid storing in the fridge:

Chocolate

Basil

Unripened mangoes

Coffee

Green avocados

Unripe bananas

Winter squash

Coconut oil

Apples

Angie Smith

Angie Smith

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