Foods You Should Not Refrigerate…Ever!

Foods You Should Not Refrigerate…Ever!

We’re all aware that everything has a place in the kitchen. However, when you’re fresh back from the grocery store or the local market, you’re tired, and it’s easy to forget the best place for storing some items.

Often if one doesn’t know the best place for a food they opt for the fridge because, what could go wrong?

This kind of thinking may not be ruining your food completely, but it is insuring that you aren’t getting the best flavors and textures out of what you buy.

Sometimes you speed up the process of foods going bad by placing them in the fridge, potentially cost you hundreds of dollars per year in unnecessary food waste.

Here are ten foods that shouldn’t be refrigerated, and better ways in which to save them.

Avocados

Many are not sure on what vegetables should not be refrigerated, and Avocados are on the list.

Avocados are a little finicky about the refrigerator. Whether you store them there depends on their ripeness.

If an avocado is ripe, you can store it in the refrigerator to keep it longer. If it’s not ripe, it will take forever to get that way in the cold! Ripen new avocados in a closed brown paper bag.

The gasses that the avocado emit are what ripen it and trapping it in a bag for a few days with these gasses at room temperature will speed the process. If left on the counter to ripen, it can take up to six days.

If you want to keep an already cut avocado fresh, the good people over at TheKitchn suggest storing it in a small cottage cheese container with a piece of, believe it or not, cut onion.

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To further speed an avocado ripening in a brown paper bag, throw in a banana or two. Bananas emit the same fumes which will speed up ripening by a few days.

Basil

fresh basil leaves

While some people know of most fruits and vegetables that don’t need to be refrigerated, few know about herbs and the devastation you can bring on your herbs with refrigeration.

While storing herbs in the refrigerator may seem to make them last longer, they wilt very fast in cold temperatures. Another downside is that they will absorb all of the smells from foods that share the fridge with them.

A better way to store them is in a glass of fresh water just as you would store cut flowers. This not only lengthens their life but also lightly scents your kitchen with its pleasant aroma, and who doesn’t love the smell of fresh herbs like mint?

Bread

Should bread be refrigerated or frozen? It’s tempting to throw your bread into the fridge for a few extra days sans mold, but you’re sacrificing quality taste and texture when you do so. Bread dries out remarkably fast in the refrigerator. Instead, only keep out what you’ll use in 3 or 4 days and then freeze the rest.

If you don’t have a lot of room in your freezer, keeping bread fresh at room temperature requires a little investment. How long bread stays fresh depends on humidity. I like this bread box by Progressive. The vent should be left open to prevent condensation on the bread in humid climates and left closed to keep bread from going stale in dry climates.

Progressive Bread Box

Coffee

coffee

Everyone knows to store your coffee in the freezer to preserve its taste. But even the freezer is no place for your daily store of coffee to go. While whole beans can safely be stored there for a month (provided the bag is not opened again and again) smaller quantities should be stored in a cool dark place in a sealed airtight container.

When a bag of coffee is removed from the freezer every morning, opened, and then refrozen, it builds up moisture in the bag that spoils the grounds. Instead, store two or three day quantities in the freezer and use them one at a time. Never refreeze an opened bag.

Air, heat, and humidity are the enemies of coffee. And nobody likes stale coffee, right? The Friis Coffee Vault allows CO2 caused by the roasting process to escape from the top; this pushes the oxygen out, as well. The valve on top lets the gasses out, but not back in, resulting in coffee that retains its bright flavor from the beginning to the end.

Friis Coffee Vault

Garlic

Garlic

Garlic will sprout in your fridge (that isn’t appetizing), and they also get rubbery and moldy. Instead store loosely in a cool dark place.

Like other root vegetables, garlic should be stored in a cool, dark place with ventilation. If you cook with it as often as we do, though, it can be inconvenient to store it anywhere but on the counter. The Le Creuset garlic keeper solves the problem quite nicely.

Garlic Keeper

Honey

Bee Honeycomb And Dipper

No reason what so ever to store honey in the refrigerator Honey keeps practically forever so storing honey in the pantry will do just fine. If the honey starts to get grainy or hardens, just submerge closed container in warm water until it returns to it’s original texture.

Honey can be stored indefinitely; it doesn’t spoil. Most people who store it long term, however, recommend that it be kept in air tight containers to keep it from crystalizing. If you use a lot of honey in your home, though, you can keep it in this honey pot by Le Creuset just fine. It’s also heavy enough that you can set it in warm water and it should warm up enough to decrystalize the honey.

Le Creuset Honey Pot

Hot Sauce

hot sauces

There are a few factors to take into account when deciding where to store hot sauce. First and foremost is ingredient content. Vinegar and chilies are both well known preserving agents, so they extend the life of the bottle pretty far. The safe bet is that an opened bottle of hot sauce can be stored in your pantry for up to three years.

Wash the crust that forms around the bottle cap with warm water regularly as it can harbor bacteria that will spoil the bottle.

Keep in mind that if you’ve been storing a bottle of hot sauce for 2 and a half years it’s going to taste a little different. The chilies have had time to sit making them more potent, and the overall flavor may have degraded slightly.

Onions

You don’t want to keep onions in the refrigerator for 2 main reasons:

  • they will soften
  • they will make your other foods taste and smell like onions

Keeping onions in that mesh bag them come in could be the best way to store them. It gives them plenty of air circulation which they need to stay fresh and keep from rotting. Just keep them away from potatoes that emit fumes that rot onions fast.

If you like to keep your onions close at hand while storing them the right way, this wall onion storage bag by Mastrad. It’s stylish and functional; I love mine! They also make them for garlic and small potatoes.

Onion Keeper Sack

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A mesh laundry bag that you can find in almost any goods store is an ideal place to store onions in your pantry.

Potatoes

Potato

The refrigerator affects the flavor and texture of potatoes. It’s a better idea to store them in a paper (not plastic) bag rolled up in a dark corner of the pantry.

Make sure not to use a plastic bag for storage as it can trap moisture and speed the decaying process significantly. Most potato varieties should last about 2 to 3 weeks if stored properly. Stored between 45° and 55°, they can last up to 3 months.

Tomatoes

colorful tomatoes

Many people who grew up storing vegetables in the refrigerator don’t think there’s anything wrong with fridge tomatoes. One bite into a freshly grown tomato would be enough to tell them differently.

Refrigeration is responsible for that mealy texture we associate with grocery store tomatoes in the winter. The fridge slows down the ripening process and damages the cell walls, softening and changes the overall texture of the tomato.

It’s much better to store them at room temperature on the counter. Storing them in a bright place like a window sill can speed the ripening process but only do this if you’ll eat them all in time.

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Store tomatoes stem side down. This means less contact between counter and tomato causing less bruising.

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