Food

Foods That Don’t Belong in The Fridge Under Any Circumstances

Before the refrigerator was invented, people had a hard time saving their food. This meant that food would have been either thrown away or stored in… Trista - December 28, 2017

Before the refrigerator was invented, people had a hard time saving their food. This meant that food would have been either thrown away or stored in ice buckets. If you didn’t throw it or store it back then, you would be “enjoying” a nasty bacterial or parasitic infection in your gut. The absence of the fridge meant that many people were starving due to food not being able to hold out for long. When the fridge became available for purchase, it was a life-changing event. No longer was anyone forced to risk an infection or had to throw away food. An additionally important event was the decrease in world hunger, as the food was now available for transport and safe-keeping. Many poor families would also save a lot of money by being able to keep the food at a steady temperature.

Now, although the refrigerator is able to keep some food from going bad, it can accomplish the opposite as well. How is this possible? Some food that isn’t so easily perishable can actually go bad in an instant if found in a fridge. Most people don’t know this, thus risking food poisoning and other unpleasant occurrences. Can you name some foods that are to be kept out of the fridge? If not, we’ve stepped in, in order to help you save your gut from unpleasant reactions. Thus, take a look at the 15 foods for which the fridge is a big no-no. You will be amazed by some, that’s for sure.

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1. Whole watermelons

When it comes to certain foods, keeping them in the fridge would be a death sentence for some of its nutrients. This notion seems more important when you realize that nutrients indeed are the most important part of some foods. Therefore, if you’re suffering from health problems or similar issues, you will only damage your health improvement by putting such foods in the fridge. One such example is whole watermelons.

Watermelons do get stored in the fridge, but only under certain conditions. These conditions are when the melon is already cut or sliced. Only then is it acceptable to store your melons in a cold place, such as your fridge. That way, you protect the opened parts from becoming sour and spoiling. In that case, you should be quick to store them away, because they can go bad really easily and really fast.

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Whole watermelons have no need to be stored in the fridge. A USDA study found that watermelons are far richer in antioxidants when kept at room temperature, in comparison to ones that were stored in a cool fridge. Antioxidants are crucial when it comes to protecting your body from inflammations and various types of cancer. Endangering the stability and content of antioxidants could spell doom for your health.

So, if you’re in possession of a whole watermelon, make sure you store it in the pantry or in the counter. Of course, it shouldn’t be exposed to the sun or other damaging sources, but keeping in the fridge will only to bad things. By placing it in the fridge, you’re risking of losing tons of valuable lycopene and beta-carotene in the process. Avoid such an occurrence.

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2. Tomatoes

Some foods ripen even when they’ve been plucked and prepared for commercial sale. It’s a scientifically proven fact, but it’s not something you would call widespread knowledge, is it? Because people think the ripening process stops early, they are quick to place many fruits and vegetables in the comfort of their own fridge. Such an occurrence can only mean bad news for the ripening fruit and its nutrients.

One such example is tomatoes. In order to understand why tomatoes get spoiled when put in the fridge, you have to understand that they have a delicate build. Refrigerated tomatoes are known to be almost tasteless along with the mandatory mushiness that comes with it. They will be prone to go bad, mostly because the cold air stops the ripening process in its tracks. There is no reason to panic nor put them in the cold.

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Panicking is something pointless in the case of tomatoes, as they can be kept for as much as 10 days. If you’ve only bought them, you can carefully plan the way you’re going to use them and how much time will it take. There is one case where tomatoes have to be stored in the fridge. If you’re handling overripe tomatoes, it’s important to know that they belong in the fridge.

However, overripe tomatoes can only be kept for 2 or 3 days when they go really bad and sour. If you’ve been storing regular tomatoes in the fridge, there is a way you can fix the damage. Simply take them out and store them at room temperature somewhere. They will be as good as new in a matter of a few hours. But avoid refrigerating them.

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3. Potatoes

Although some vegetables indeed belong in the fridge, others should avoid such premises. Not all plants that we classify as veggies are able to withstand the cold the same way as others do. The reason for this is the different build every vegetable has. For example, red bell peppers and carrots do have to be kept in the fridge. They contain no starch, which experiences a tricky chemical reaction when face to face with the inside of your fridge.

This happens with potatoes and is a big reason they often get ready to be thrown out after some time in the fridge. Even though potatoes are full of carbohydrates, it’s a simple type. However, potatoes that are kept in a cold environment experience the starch modification process. This leads to the breakdown of starch and the creation of sugar. You will be left with big chunks of candy, ruining their taste severely.

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Much more than some other members of this list, potatoes are really tricky. Another thing you should watch out for is hot or humid areas. If exposed to such environments, potatoes often have a tendency start going bad or even kick off the sprouting process. In order to preserve potatoes, just relax and make sure to keep them somewhere cool and dark. That way, you can use the same batch for up to a whole year!

Another thing to watch out for is storing them in plastic bags. Such containers are specifically made to stop air circulation. Without oxygen, potatoes are quick to get spoiled. Make sure you buy your potatoes from a natural source and stored in a perforated bag. A little knowledge goes a long way in the kitchen, doesn’t it? 

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4. Onions

Moisture is something that is very much present in your fridge, without you being aware of it. You may not notice the correlation between cold air and moisture, but it’s there all the time. The mechanism of the refrigerator functions by using moisture to cool down foods that need to be cooled down. They may benefit from that mechanism, but some foods are very much prone to going bad under such circumstances.

According to one survey, around 46% of people questioned don’t know that onions aren’t to be kept inside of a fridge. It may seem funny or that someone is pulling your leg, but it’s true. This incredibly healthy and beneficial vegetable is not very prone to withstanding extreme moisture. It will ruin them and cause the taste to resemble more of a sour aroma than the usual pronounced one. You may be in for an unpleasant surprise while digging through your salad.

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Therefore, it would be best that you keep your onions within a cool, but not cold area of your house. They require a fairly low temperature, but lots of air and dryness. Omitting that may just be the doom of your dish that contains onions. Like with potatoes, you have to be careful when putting onions in bags. Plastic, closed containers are a big no-no. They cut off the air supply and accelerate the spoiling process.

One other thing to watch out for the distance between your potatoes and onions, believe it or not. Despite the silly composition of the proposal, it’s something really important. Potatoes emit gasses and onions contain moisture. If kept together, the mixture might prove to be the reason that both onions and potatoes get spoiled quickly.

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5. Honey

When it comes to liquids, some gooey ones can experience a fairly negative reaction to cold and dark environments. Why is this the case? Well, the main reason is the risk of crystallization, a real concern when it comes to some substances. Crystallization can be reversed by placing the liquid in a warmer environment, but the aforementioned process can forever damage the taste and texture. We have one particular food in mind.

Honey is something that we all know and love. However, it is one of the foods that have to be kept as far from the fridge as possible. A crystallized jug of honey may taste entirely different when you put some on your cake or pancakes. Not to mention that cold air can stimulate mold growth on the surface of your honey, possibly causing food poisoning and serious gut infections.  That is something you would want to avoid and reduce the chances of, but any means necessary.

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When we’re talking about honey storage, there is one more important facet of it to be mentioned. That is the fact that you should avoid having honey come in contact with any sort of metal container. Metal and honey together accelerate the oxidization process of the honey. Also, you should steer clear of any sort of sunlight or direct heat source. These two factors are very detrimental when it comes to the risk of spoilage.

If you pay attention to this advice, you honey could last forever. Yes, that’s right! If kept in a cool and dry place, honey can never spoil. There have been instances of archaeologists finding honey in China and Egypt, thousands of years old. It’s still good to use in just about any situation.

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6. Olive oil

Oils can be pretty tricky to keep and take care off. This is because most people aren’t sure about the place which is best for their oil. Keeping it in extremely cold conditions can negatively impact the taste, texture and the entire experience of the oil. This is why refrigeration is something that shouldn’t be bestowed upon any oil possible. A simple mistake of putting oil in a fridge can cause your meal or salad to go bad really fast.

When it comes to oils, virgin olive oils is the one which is the most prone to spoilage in the fridge. You should keep it out of there at all possible costs. A prolonged period in a cold environment allows it to become more condensed and less resembling a liquid. By using a condensed batch of olive oil, you risk a large concentration of fats in one place, which is not good news for your health. Therefore, it’s safe to say that the fridge is your olive oil’s worst nightmare.

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Also worth mentioning is the fact that humidity can make the oil cloudy. This greatly affects the flavor and general quality of the mixture. Some people are known to have nasty reactions to spoiled olive oil, suffering from stomach issues. If you want to pick the ideal spot for safekeeping, store your olive oil in a dark cupboard away from any source of light and heat.

Heat and light can make the oil turn rancid. A common misconception is that rancidity only ensues when you can smell or taste it. The truth is that olive oil can be rancid weeks before you actually feel it. It’s something to definitely watch out for.

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7. Garlic

Many vegetables are only as good as their hardness. Oftentimes, when they become soft, their nutritive value, texture, and taste suffer a lot. Therefore, it would be smart to avoid such occurrences and be smart when it comes to taking care of many veggies. The aforementioned consequences don’t only relate to taste and such elements, but can also affect your health in a negative way.

A perfect example of this notion is garlic. This vegetable is one of the healthiest in existence, but it can’t resist the cold and humidity it would face on the inside of a fridge. Keeping it in a cool, dark place is essential for a good and long shelf life. Nobody in the right mind purchases garlic only to use it up during one day. A period of good care can allow garlic to be fit for use even up to several weeks. A cupboard or your pantry would be ideal choices for such a location.

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Another important thing to know about garlic is that it needs oxygen. It’s not rare for people to keep it out of the fridge but in a plastic bag. This causes it to spoil fast, without any previous indications that the process has already started. Such an occurrence can be prevented by putting the garlic in a perforated bag or in a basket. You will be able to hold it in a safe place, without worrying about it going bad.

However, despite the initial fridge scare, you can keep minced or chopped garlic in a container in the fridge for a short amount of time. This actually saves you a lot of time when it comes to preparing food and getting a certain dish ready. Three days would be the optimal time period when it comes to maintaining garlic freshness and an exquisite taste. Garlic is an extremely tasty and beneficial addition to your diet and thus, it should be treated with respect.

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8. Coffee beans and grounds

You’ve probably seen the term hygroscopic nature somewhere. If you were wondering what it means, it’s basically a property possessed by some foods that allow them to absorb tiny water particles from the vicinity. This directly leads to reactions in the presence of moisture. An excessive time spent in a moist place can lead foods to become spoiled, tasteless and even detrimental to your organism, regardless of the initial form.

Coffee is one such example if you didn’t know before. There is an excellent reason why people keep their beans or grounds on the counter or in the pantry. Due to coffee’s hygroscopic properties, it’s not fit for keeping in a fridge. It will absorb all the tiny water particles in a short amount of time and become soggy. Moisture can also affect the flavor and aroma of ground coffee. But wait, there is more to it. Coffee can also take on the smell and taste of other food in the fridge.

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So, if you don’t want your coffee to taste like cake or some other food, keep it out of the fridge. A good choice would be to keep it in a non-transparent jar or jug, in a cool and dry place. That way, you can keep your coffee for a long, long time, all while retaining freshness and the iconic taste your yearn for so much.

Another good advice would be to get an expensive, airtight container for your coffee. Any presence of oxygen within the jar would cause the ground mix to lose the aroma that keeps you alive on Monday mornings. Also, try to purchase your coffee in small doses, as there is no need to risk all of it getting bad.

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9. Bread

Even though starch is a big unknown to many of us, it’s still a prominent ingredient in many different dishes and foods. Baked goods are full of starch and present a prime candidate for the food that should not be kept in a fridge under any circumstances whatsoever. Starch is prone to be affected by a number of chemical reactions when faced with moisture and cold air, some of them easily able to spoil your lunch and stomach all at once.

Out of all the baked goods, the one that gets put in the fridge most often is bread. Sometimes, people don’t eat the entire load and think that they will save some of it by putting it in the fridge. If you’ve read our potato section, you will remember that starch transforms into sugar, something you want to avoid in such big quantities. Also, starch breaks down pretty quick and causes the food to lose shape. You will be left with a big bunch of crumbles, rendering you unable to make a proper sandwich without a mess.

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Also, cold and moisture are known to accelerate the staling process in bread. Contrary to popular belief, it starts much sooner than we can see it. This ignorance is oftentimes the reason why people get sick without being aware of the reason of their malady. If you really want to keep bread for a long time, you can use the freezer. Extreme cold halts starch retrogradation immediately.

So, how does one keep bread and how long? If you really have to do it, place it in a plastic or aluminum container, thus rendering it safe from any humidity and oxygen. Also, if there’s a state of emergency, partially stale bread is okay to eat only after heating in the oven.

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10. Stone fruits

What are stone fruits, anyway? No, they don’t have the ability to break your head or anything similar. It’s merely a collective name for all the fruits which have seeds that are large compared to their size. You’re probably eating them on a daily basis. This group includes peaches, apricots, plums, and cherries. When it comes to refrigerating them, there is one simple trick to follow.

The aforementioned trick is simply – don’t. There is no need for it, as they can keep their shape and taste pretty easily out at room temperature. Aside from that, there is also the added risk of accidentally eating moldy fruit. Yes, it may be true that some fruits and vegetables require special treatment in terms of being placed in the fridge. However, this doesn’t mean that all fruits respond to a humid and cold environment the same way.

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As we’ve said earlier in the articles, some fruits and veggies contain their ripening process despite being plucked. An overly cool environment only halts this process and accelerates the rotting. The best place to keep these fruits would be in a regular bowl somewhere not directly in the sun. If you need to eat apples or apricots, you can also keep them in a paper bag, in case they need to be kept for a longer time period. Another good strategy for avoiding the spoilage process would be to buy any type of fruit in small or moderate amounts.

If you like very ripe fruits, keep them in the sun on purpose. That will accelerate the process as much as possible and contribute to the sweetness of the fruit. In that case, it is best advised that you eat them as fast as you can.

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11. Bananas

Rotting is something that we have a skewed perception off, it seems. The most obvious association someone has when they hear rotting is being left out of the fridge. For the majority of foods, it seems that this is absolutely and always true. However, for a minority, putting them in the fridge may very well mean a death sentence for the taste, state, and texture. If you want to retain the juiciness you adore and respect, it would be best to steer clear of the refrigerator.

The next candidate for the “never put in the fridge” category is perhaps the most famous and beloved fruit of all. How many times have you run home from the store, only to quickly throw a couple of bananas in the fridge? The answer is probably many times and this isn’t something to be extremely or utterly proud of. For starters, the only outcome of such an action is the acceleration of the rotting process. Bananas react very badly to the cold and moisture you expose them to. What is the reason for this?

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The answer, like always, lies in the mechanism of the ripening process. Cold, as we’ve mentioned before, severely slows down the ripening process and promotes rotting. An interesting fact is that bananas start rotting from the inside out, in the depths of the juicy parts. Therefore, it’s entirely possible for you to eat a rotten banana without knowing it.

Also, unlike many fruits and veggies on this list, bananas need light, even when disconnected from the palm tree. Thus, the ideal place to hold your bananas in would be a bowl with a moderate source of light.

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12. Pumpkin

Smaller fruits generally behave differently when in contact with moisture than bigger ones. However, there are some examples that prove to be exceptions to the rule. This is the case with many heavier sorts of fruit, as their size and core bestow upon them completely different characteristics. A good example of this type of different behavior are pumpkins, the giant piece of deliciousness we all know and adore. What seems to be the issue with them?

A chief characteristic that sets pumpkins apart from most fruit is the fact that they need ventilation. In most cases, when you want to take a natural, but sweet bite, you can be safe, knowing that your snack is protected by a bag. Pumpkins literally need to breathe, as oxygen indeed makes them fresh, sturdy and tasty. It would be a crime to try and ruin this wonderful Halloween treat, something that Charlie Brown loves more than anything in the world.

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Although pumpkins can take a lot of strain when it comes to coming to terms with the extra moisture, you should really keep them in a dry, secluded place. According to most sources, the best way to store them would be to put them in a basement corner. Don’t worry, they can hold on for a longer period of time. The darkness suits them when it comes to picking the ideal location.

Like other types of sliceable foods, pumpkins can be stored in the fridge if they’re sliced or in form of a pie. In that case, they really need the lack of temperature in order to maintain the taste, texture, and quality. A little bit of care goes a long way, especially when it comes to your sources of nutrition.

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13. Basil

Leafy plants are something that we know perishes after a certain period of time. It’s kind of logical when you look at it. They are rooted in the ground every second of their life. It’s their source of nutrition and energy. When we separate them from the ground, it’s normal to expect them to wither. In those situations, with spices and spice plants, we tend to put them in the fridge in order to slow down the rotting and withering process. Something in that action is wrong – can you guess what is it?

The correct answer is the notion of refrigeration, as it only accelerates the wilting process. The plant/spice we refrigerate the most is basil. This can’t be more wrong, as we find that it wilts in a matter of hours and we’re left confused because of the results. Also, basil has one distinct property that contributes to its demise. It smells very strongly, but it also has the ability to absorb every other smell in the vicinity. This can create a lot of chaos in terms of taste for your special dish. So, what’s the key when it comes to keeping basil fresh as long as possible?

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The magic trick is only to put into a cup of tap water. It will provide the plant with a plethora of nutrients and it will be able to stay alive even a few days after you’re finished putting it.

Another excellent solution is to freeze it. Of course, this doesn’t relate to your goal of storing it for a short amount of time. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of always buying new basil, freeze it and relax.

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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 exploration 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. So, what gives?

What gives is that 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 the same 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.

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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. But why lose time and compromise the quality of your peanut butter and jelly sandwich? You deserve better!

Peanut butter is best kept in a cool place, far away from any type of light, moisture or cold temperature. If you prefer a cold spread, you can put the butter in the fridge for around 30 minutes. This will cool it enough to make it more pleasant, all while preventing it from becoming harder.

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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.

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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. Instead of worrying, you can rest easy and grab a bit whenever you want. Life is too short to worry about pickles spoiling. You can refrigerate them if you like.

 

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