Coming home from the market and putting food in the refrigerator seems like the normal thing to do, right? Especially fruits and vegetables.
Naturally, many people think that keeping your food cold preserves it longer. But, keeping certain foods out of the fridge will help them ripen properly and prevent them from spoiling too fast. You may even save others perishables in your fridge from ripening, or even worse, spoiling prematurely.
Before you put those groceries away take a look at this list…
Table of Contents
- Olive Oil
- Sweet Potatoes
- Whole Melons
- Citrus Fruits
- Butternut Squash
- Dried Fruit
- Peanut Butter
- Hot Sauce
- Soy Sauce
- Dried Spices
- Eggs (Europe)
- Beef Jerky
- Canned Tuna
- Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
A reaction that produces the characteristically tart taste of tomatoes is interrupted when stored in cold temperatures ruining their flavor. The cold will also give them a grainy funky texture.
The cold air causes avocados to ripen more slowly. This also prevents the avocado from completely ripening even when removed from the fridge.
Garlic bulbs can become soft and moldy when left in the fridge and contaminate other products with its flavor. They can also sprout and become bitter.
Olive oil gets cloudy and solidifies when placed in the fridge.
Keeping potatoes in the fridge will turn their starches into sugar. Doing this will make potatoes discolored and taste sweet once cooked. Unpack them from plastic bags to let them breathe and keep them in a cool dry place.
Refrigerating sweet potatoes will make them harden and take longer too cook.
As a tropical fruit, the peel of the banana isn’t able to protect it from the cold. The cold will trigger the release of enzymes that will turn the bananas black.
Storing whole melons in cold temperatures can destroy almost 50% of the vital antioxidants (lycopene and beta carotene) naturally created by the melons.
Apples can emit a type of gas that will make other nearby perishables ripen more quickly. The cold also prevents healthy enzymes in apples from developing.
Putting berries in the fridge won’t do anything to prevent spoilage. In fact, the moisture in your fridge will accelerate the growth of mold.
Cold temperatures break down the membranes in peaches and destroy nutrients.
Kept in the cold, kiwis begin to lose their nutrients and turn into mush.
Store plums at room temperature, away from sunlight until they are soft to the touch and have a sweet aroma.
Pears will not be able to ripen properly when placed into the fridge.
Apricots should be stored at room temperature until they give softly to the touch and have a sweet aroma.
Grapes are never kept in the fridge in supermarkets. They benefit most from warm climates so room temperature will keep them alive for longer.
Refrigerating citrus fruits can disrupt the ripening process resulting in chill damage which leads to dull-colored and tasteless fruit.
Papayas won’t ripen properly if kept in the fridge. Keep them on the counter and turn them occasionally instead.
Once they are harvested, pineapples do not continue to ripen.
Pumpkins need to be stored in a cool and well-ventilated area.
Moisture in your fridge can speed up the spoiling process of butternut squash.
Onions have a tendency to go soft in the fridge and make everything around them smell like onions. Also, keep them away from potatoes since onions release a gas that accelerates the potatoes’ aging process.
Coffee absorbs moisture and aromas from the foods around it spoiling its flavor.
Putting dried peaches, cranberries, dates, raisins, etc. in your fridge is pretty pointless. The cold will also make the fruit hard and tough to eat.
Keeping nuts in your fridge will ruin the texture and flavor of the nuts.
Honey can last for thousands of years if left in an airtight jar. Storing honey in the fridge tends to lead to crystalization ruining the texture.
Putting molasses in the refrigerator will make it hard.
Most chocolates will keep their shape and creamy texture at room temperature. If you put chocolate in the fridge it will become hard and brittle.
Bread stored in the refrigerator will harden and become stale much faster.
Frosted cakes and cakes containing cream should be kept in the fridge. But other types can be sealed in an airtight container and kept at room temperature.
Keeping donuts in the fridge will make them hard, slimy, and stale.
The low temperature and moisture will make cereal less crunchy.
Putting crackers in the fridge will allow them to soak up the moisture and make them quickly become soft and stale.
Placing peanut butter in the fridge can eventually turn it hard and dry.
Nutella doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge, doing so will make it hard and difficult to spread. Just keep it in a cool dry place with the lid tight.
Jam is typically made with preservatives making refrigeration unnecessary.
Ketchup is loaded with vinegar and salt which help create bacteria detering acids.
Mustard can last even longer than ketchup outside the fridge because it contains a natural acid that acts as a preservative.
Tabasco does not require refrigeration. Just keep it out of sunlight in a cool place.
Hot sauce is created with vinegar and preservatives that prevent bacteria and mold growth. Storing hot sauce in the fridge will dampen the sharp, spicy taste.
Soy sauce is already fermented so it usually doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge.
Vinegar is self-preserving. The acidic nature of vinegar makes its shelf-life almost indefinite.
Cold temperatures will wilt basil much faster than normal. Basil also easily absorbs aromas from any foods surrounding it altering its flavor.
Like basil, mint doesn’t do well in the cold. Low temperatures plus humidity will accelerate the growth of mold on mint sprigs, quickly making them unusable.
Dried spices can be kept for a long time at room temperature. Putting spices in the fridge has no benefit and is simply a waste of space.
You won’t damage your flour if you leave it in the fridge, just know that this basic ingredient will do just fine in an airtight container in your cupboard or pantry.
Most eggs in European countries are not pasteurized so they won’t need to go in the fridge. Eggs will last up to a couple of weeks in a cool dry place. Doing so will make them retain some of their natural taste and flavor.
Salted butter can last up to a week outside the fridge which also makes it easier to spread. But if your kitchen is over 70F degrees, you should refrigerate and just take it out in advance of meal prep to let it reach room temperature.
Placing cucumbers in the fridge can make them watery and speed up decay.
Carrots start to retain water when left in the fridge after a few days making them more rubbery and less crisp.
Temperatures below 50F degrees can harm the flavor and texture of eggplants.
The vinegar used to brine pickles acts as a preservative. Leaving sealed pickle containers in a cabinet won’t ruin them, but who likes warm pickles? Ewww!!!
Cold temps will reduce the spice factor in peppers and won’t improve its snap.
Placing jerky in the fridge will introduce moisture back into this dried meat, changing its texture and taste.
Tuna is packed with preservatives to make it last years in the pantry without the need for refrigeration.
Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
Most vinaigrette salad dressing’s main ingredients are oil and vinegar, two ingredients that can do fine outside of the fridge.
Any surprises? We had a few when putting this list together. If we missed any foods be sure to ping us and let us know.
*DISCLAIMER: when in doubt, follow manufacturer recommendations on the label of any packaged foods.