Foods that Don’t Belong in the Fridge

14. Peanut butter Spreads are a source of a whole lot of debate in the gastronomical community. Some people say that you should freeze them in… Rina - October 15, 2020
35 Foods That Don’t Belong in The Fridge.
You are risking making it hard and dry. Shutterstock.

14. Peanut butter

Spreads are a source of a whole lot of debate in the gastronomical community. Some people say that you should freeze them in order to preserve them better. Others say that there is no way to possibly alter the expiration date of a spread by keeping it in a cold environment. People tend to do both and it’s seemingly a split decision, something that depends on individual preference. Unfortunately, simple logic and science will break a myth that has been standing for a long period of time. The notion of freezing spreads is completely bogus. A good example of this is peanut butter. This is flawed logic, because most people deem peanut butter to be in the same category as jelly, therefore concluding that it should be put in the fridge like its best friend.

The truth is that peanut butter is a completely different substance, meaning that it doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Not even a little, as that will not alter its taste in a positive way. It will only create further problems for your meal, making it unpleasant. When it comes to putting peanut butter in the fridge, you are risking making it hard and dry. Of course, the process is reversible and no damage will be done.

35 Foods That Don’t Belong in The Fridge.
Pickles are high on preservatives and thus don’t need to be kept in a cold environment. Shutterstock.

15. Pickles

Okay, pickles are vegetables and their bigger cousins, cucumbers, are oftentimes stored in the fridge. What seems to be the problem then? Seemingly, it all seems logical and perfect, but it isn’t. Cucumbers are placed in a cold environment because they are fresh vegetables full of water. In fact, they are 90% water and thus love the cold, dark environment. Although that part seems logical, you can cross pickles off the “keep in the fridge” list. They have their own special properties, preventing them from being stuck in the fridge. It’s highly likely that you’re used to having them inside the fridge, do yourself a favor and clear out some space. The truth is – pickles are high on preservatives and thus don’t need to be kept in a cold environment.

In fact, pickles are good for consumption even 4 years after being put in the marinade. As astonishing as it seems, there is no possible reason for you to clog up your fridge with an extra jar. They literally never change, regardless of the place they’re held in. With an incredible resistance to any kind of external conditions, pickles are a great food for keeping as a stash. The texture, the taste, and the flexibility never change, contrary to popular belief. So, you can rest because pickles are even used to preserve other food. The acidic value of them is high and doesn’t allow any temperature or force to alter their state. Life is too short to worry about pickles spoiling. But you can refrigerate them if you like!

35 Foods That Don’t Belong in The Fridge.
Strawberries are best kept out of direct sunlight and use them within a day or two. Shutterstock.

16. Strawberries

The garden strawberry is a widely grown hybrid species of the genus Fragaria, collectively known as the strawberries, which are cultivated worldwide for their fruit. The fruit is widely appreciated for its characteristic aroma, bright red color, juicy texture, and sweetness. Refrigerating strawberries reduces their sweet flavor and gives them a mushy texture.

For better taste, store fresh strawberries on the countertop, out of direct sunlight, and use them within a day or two of picking or purchasing. And don’t wash them until you’re ready to eat them; strawberries go bad more quickly after they’re washed.  Fresh berries already have a short shelf life, so leave them out of the fridge and eat them within a day or two of purchasing.

Katchup is safe to store at room temperature without spoiling. Shutterstock.

17. Ketchup

Ketchup is a table condiment or sauce. Although original recipes used egg whites, mushrooms, oysters, grapes, mussels, or walnuts, among other ingredients, the unmodified term now typically refers to tomato ketchup.  It’s highly debated whether ketchup should be stored in the cupboard or fridge.

However, bottled ketchup was sold years before refrigerators became commonplace. Ketchup’s high vinegar, salt and sugar content mean it’s safe to store at room temperature without spoiling. If you use ketchup often, just leave it out. Ketchup can be kept unrefrigerated for up to one month.

Can be stored at room temperature for up to six months. Shutterstock.

18. Soy Sauce

Soy sauce or simply “Soy”, is an East Asian liquid condiment of Chinese origin, traditionally made from a fermented paste of soybeans, roasted grain, brine, and Aspergillus oryzae or Aspergillus sojae molds. It is considered to contain a strong umami flavor. The labels on bottles of soy sauce may state it should be refrigerated, but restaurants safely leave the condiment on tables all day. The truth?

The high salt content means it can be stored at room temperature for up to six months. Soy sauce will be just fine without refrigeration, even after it has been opened. As you should know by now, soy sauce can go bad, but it’s very unlikely to happen. If stored properly, it would be safe to consume for many years, but it’s recommended to use within 2 to 3 years because its quality deteriorates over time.

Especially ones that are vinegar or oil-based. Shutterstock.

19. Salad Dressings

Salad dressing is a mixture of oil, vinegar, herbs, and other flavourings, which you pour over a salad. Just like other condiments, most salad dressing, especially ones that are vinegar or oil-based, are just fine stored outside the fridge. Since many dressings are oil-based, and we’ve already established oil’s longevity outside the fridge, they should be fine in a pantry. However, cream, yogurt, or mayo-based dressings should be stored in the fridge.

Here are the “rules” for keeping your salad dressings fresh. 1) Salad dressing (sold unrefrigerated, unopened) Best-by + 1 – 2 months.  2) Salad dressing (sold unrefrigerated, opened) 3 – 6 months. 3) Salad dressing (sold refrigerated) Use-by + 1 – 2 weeks. 4) Homemade salad dressing 3 – 5 days

Keep in a cool spot, away from direct sunlight. Shutterstock.

20. Eggplant

Eggplant, aubergine or brinjal is a plant species in the nightshade family Solanaceae. Solanum melongena is grown worldwide for its edible fruit. Most commonly purple, the spongy, absorbent fruit is used in several cuisines. Typically used as a vegetable in cooking, it is a berry by botanical definition. The best place to store eggplant is not in the refrigerator, but at room temperature, where it’s likely to last longer.

Keep eggplant in a cool spot, away from direct sunlight, and use it as soon as possible after harvesting or buying. Eggplants don’t need to be in the fridge, but be careful not to leave them somewhere too warm, or they’ll shrivel up. It’s important to find a happy medium if you want to get the best from this ingredient: house them in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight.

The best packaging for dried fruits is the vacuum-sealing type. Shutterstock.

21. Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is fruit from which the majority of the original water content has been removed either naturally, through sun drying, or through the use of specialized dryers or dehydrators. It has less moisture than fresh fruit, so it doesn’t spoil as quickly. 

Putting dried fruits in the fridge will only add unwanted moisture. They’re best preserved somewhere, dry and dark, in an airtight container. When kept correctly, they may last for up to six months. The best packaging for dried fruits is the vacuum-sealing type. It gives the best shelf life since it effectively removes air. This sealed packaging keeps mold and moisture away from your fruits.

At fridge temperatures, syrups become stiff. Shutterstock.

22. Syrup

In cooking, a syrup or sirup is a condiment that is a thick, viscous liquid consisting primarily of a solution of sugar in water, containing a large amount of dissolved sugars but showing little tendency to deposit crystals. Its consistency is similar to that of molasses.

If you’re the kind of household that gets through a jar of syrup within a few months, it’s perfectly safe to store it in the cupboard. A low water, high sugar concentration means most syrups, including maple and golden syrup, last perfectly well outside the refrigerator. At fridge temperatures, syrups become stiff, which isn’t ideal if you plan to pour them over your pancakes.

The fridge is the worst place for Chocolates. Shutterstock.

23. Chocolate

Chocolate is a preparation of roasted and ground cacao seeds that is made in the form of a liquid, paste, or in a block, which may also be used as a flavoring ingredient in other foods. 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, colour 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.

Condensation can leave them limp and soggy. Shutterstock.

24. Pastries

Pastry is a dough of flour, water and shortening that may be savoury or sweetened. Sweetened pastries are often described as bakers’ confectionery. The word “pastries” suggests many kinds of baked products made from ingredients such as flour, sugar, milk, butter, shortening, baking powder, and eggs.

To keep them just right, pastries are best wrapped in a paper bag and kept at room temperature. If you place your pastry treats in the fridge, the inevitable condensation can compromise their texture, leaving them limp and soggy.

Unwanted condensation is likely to get in every time. Shutterstock.

25. Spices

A spice is a seed, fruit, root, bark, or other plant substance primarily used for flavoring or coloring food. Spices are distinguished from herbs, which are the leaves, flowers, or stems of plants used for flavoring or as a garnish. The refrigerator is the enemy of dried spices as unwanted condensation is likely to get in every time you remove them.

To maximise shelf life, keep in a dark, dry place, and keep them away from extreme heat too. It’s worth having a regular clear out of spices that have been lurking in your cupboard for more than a year. Don’t know your coriander from your cloves? Read – Buy These 20 Spices and Herbs to Optimize Health.

Can be stored outside the fridge for up to two years. Shutterstock.

26. Jams and Jellies

The term preserves is usually interchangeable with jams even though preserves contain chunks or pieces of the fruit whereas jams in some regions do not. Other names include: chutney, confit, conserve, fruit butter, fruit curd, fruit spread, jelly, and marmalade.

Providing jam is properly sealed inside a sterilised jar, it can be stored outside the fridge for up to two years. Once it’s opened, jam should be kept inside the fridge to prevent mould growing. However, always read the label on individual jam jars if you’re unsure.

Chill a couple of hours before you want to open it. Shutterstock.

27. Champagne

Champagne is a French sparkling wine. Many people use the term Champagne as a generic term for sparkling wine. Strictly speaking, champagne is a sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne region of northeastern France. If it’s a bubbly wine from another region, it’s sparkling wine, not champagne.

If you’re not planning on opening a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine within the next five days, don’t keep it stored in the fridge as the fluctuating temperature of the door opening and closing will wreak havoc on it. Champagne is best stored on its side, away from light, in a room with a consistent temperature. Chill a couple of hours before you want to open it.

Oranges should last about 10 to 14 days at room temperature. Shutterstock.

28. Citrus Fruits

Citrus is a genus of flowering trees and shrubs in the rue family, Rutaceae. Plants in the genus produce citrus fruits, including important crops such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, pomelos, and limes. Citrus fruits are juicier and more flavourful at room temperature. Store lemons, limes, grapefruit and oranges in a cool, dry space and consume them within a couple of weeks.

However, if you want them to keep longer, store them in a plastic bag inside the fridge crisper drawer. Store citrus fruits on the counter. Keep close tabs on them, though, as one moldy fruit will infect the others. Oranges should last about 10 to 14 days at room temperature.

If the eggs have never been refrigerated, they can hang out on the counter. Shutterstock.

29. Eggs

You may be surprised to see eggs on the list, because in the US the fridge is where they should be. Eggs are sterilised after production to kill bacteria (which also weakens the eggshell) and must be kept cool to prevent it returning. But if you’re in Europe, eggs should not be put in the fridge. They are not sterilised and their shell is a good barrier.

And if the eggs have never been refrigerated, they can hang out on the counter, or in another cool place, for about a week. But once refrigerated, eggs have to stay refrigerated… After two hours, you’d be safer to throw those eggs out and get a fresh dozen rather than chance it.

store it in a dark place out of direct sunlight and fluorescent light. Shutterstock.

30. White wines

White wine is a wine that is fermented without skin contact. The colour can be straw-yellow, yellow-green, or yellow-gold. It is produced by the alcoholic fermentation of the non-coloured pulp of grapes, which may have a skin of any colour.  It’s widely accepted that white wines are best served chilled, however, storing bottles in the fridge isn’t the best option for mature white wines such as Chardonnay and Viognier.

The ideal temperature for storing white wine is between 45 to 65 °F (7 to 18 °C). Store your wine in a basement, interior closet, or wine fridge to keep it cool. Because white wine is very sensitive to light, store it in a dark place out of direct sunlight and fluorescent light.  While sparkling wines and lighter white wines should be served at colder temperatures, complex whites are better appreciated at slightly warmer temperatures. If you have one, a wine fridge set at 10-13ºC (50-55.4ºF) 

Becomes hard and virtually impossible to scoop out. Shutterstock.

31. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil, or copra oil, is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of mature coconuts harvested from the coconut palm. The fatty acids in coconut oil can encourage your body to burn fat, and they provide quick energy to your body and brain. They also raise HDL (good) cholesterol in your blood, which may help reduce heart disease risk

Coconut oil is stable at room temperature for up to two years, so there’s no need to store it in the fridge where it becomes hard and virtually impossible to scoop out. Unlike some oils that remain liquid at cool temps, coconut oil contains a high percentage of saturated fats, which causes it to solidify in the refrigerator.

Best stored in a dark, cool (not cold) spot. Shutterstock.

32. Winter Squash

Winter squash is an annual fruit representing several squash species within the genus Cucurbita. It differs from summer squash in that it is harvested and eaten in the mature fruit stage when the seeds within have matured fully and the skin has hardened into a tough rind. Putting butternut squash, acorn squash, pumpkins, or other types of winter squash in the fridge will dull their flavor and give them a mushy texture.

You don’t need a fridge to keep these vegetables fresh. When stored in a dark, cool (not cold) spot, such as an unheated basement, these autumn favorites will remain viable for two months, or longer. Leftover raw winter squash can be chopped into chunks and frozen for an additional two months.

The refrigerator tends to break down their crisp texture. Shutterstock.

33. Apples

You can refrigerate these fruits, but you don’t need to. The cold air inside the refrigerator tends to break down their crisp texture. Leave them out on the counter. But if you prefer your fruit cold, go ahead and refrigerate. Store fresh apples on the countertop for the best flavor.

While apples will remain crisp longer in the fridge, the ethylene content in their skins (a ripening agent) can cause other nearby produce to spoil more quickly. If you really want to refrigerate apples, first place them in an airtight container to keep from spoiling the other foods in your fridge.

cucumbers should be stored at room temperature. Shutterstock.

34. Cucumbers

The cucumber is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family. Other members of the family include squash and different kinds of melon, including bitter melon. Cucumbers provide various nutrients but are low in calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium. The saying might be “cool as a cucumber,” but cukes are actually quite sensitive to the cold. These crisp greens fare best when left at room temperature.

According to a post at Root Simple, you should store cucumbers at room temperature – not in the refrigerator. Root Simple cites the University of California, Davis, which determined that cucumbers are sensitive to temperatures below 50°F. When stored at room temperature, cucumbers thrive and last longer.

They’ll only ripen, though, if you keep them out of the fridge. Shutterstock.

35. Avocados

Avocados that need ripening should be kept well away from the fridge for four to seven days. Chilling them will prolong the process and can cause them to go off more quickly. Once ripened they can stay in the fridge until you want to eat them. Want to try something other than avocado on toast? 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. Store whole avocados on the counter. If they’re very soft, you can get a few extra days by putting them in the fridge, but you’ll pay for it in flavor. It’s better just to enjoy them right away. Don’t buy more than you can use.


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