Refrigerators are modern marvels that have greatly expanded the life and safety of many different foods. However, our culture has this odd idea that everything should go in the fridge; that it’s this magical box that will keep everything good forever. Well, that’s far from the case!
Here are 20 foods that, while you can put them in the fridge (and even I sometimes do) it’s totally not necessary:
- Bananas – Banana skin will become a really gross color in the fridge (although they will taste just fine). More importantly, though, the banana will not ripen in the fridge. Generally, the counter or freezer is the best bet
- Melons – Melons should be kept on the counter to sweeten and only put in the fridge once cut or to prevent over-ripeness.
- Bread – Only store bread you’ll eat within a few days in the fridge, as it will go stale faster and become harder. Bread does freeze well, though, if you find yourself with an excess.
- Potatoes – Low temperatures like fridges will make potatoes taste sweet and gritty and just generally bad. Put them in the pantry or root cellar instead.
- Onions – The high humidity of refrigerators tends to make onions get soft, musy and mold. They’ll do much better in a cool, dark pantry.
- Honey – Honey is just about the only food that will never go bad. Seriously, archaeologists found 3000 year old honey in an egyptian tomb and it was edible! You don’t need to keep it in the fridge and if you do, it will crystallize. So unless you like crunchy honey, just keep it on the counter.
- Tomatoes – In the fridge, tomatoes become mealy and significantly less tasty. Keep them on the counter for a better flavor!
- Coffee Beans/Grounds – Brewed coffee can be refrigerated, but coffee beans or grounds should never be. Not only will it dull the taste, but coffee has a habit of picking up smells and things, much like baking soda. Believe me, you don’t want to drink a cup of that!
- Garlic – Garlic needs air circulation, and the condensation in refrigerators is bad for them. Not to mention it’ll make everything in your fridge smell like garlic.
- Avocado – refrigerating avocados will stop the ripening process, so unless your avocado is perfect you’re better off to leave it on the counter. Once you’ve cut it, though, the fridge is where it’s at.
- Pastries – Most pastries, like cookies, are actually fine out of the fridge, as long as they’re covered. Refrigerating them makes them last longer but they become stale faster.
- Hot Sauce – because of its natural acidity, hot sauce can stay in the pantry or cupboard for up to three years. Putting it in the fridge will change the taste as well.
- Spices – Storing dried spices in the fridge actually lessens their potency.
- Processed Peanut Butter – (ie Jiffy, Skippy, Peter Pan; all-natural peanut butter DOES need to be in the fridge to stop the nut oil from going rancid
- Butter – you never need to refrigerate butter, although I always do in the summer months or it melts in the cupboard. What a mess!
- Soy Sauce – While the jar does say “Refrigerate after Opening” there is generally enough salt in the soy for it to be totally fine on the counter or pantry.
- Some Condiments – Ketchup, mustard, oil-based dressings… I have heard arguments for keeping all of these on the counter, despite the “Refrigerate after Opening” labels. The catch is that you have to use them within a month. So, personally, it might still be a good idea to keep them in the fridge if you only use it occasionally.
- Farm Eggs – Eggs from the store must be refrigerated, but farm eggs which have never been refrigerated or washed will keep just fine on the counter for a week or two. Once eggs have been refrigerated, though, they should be kept refrigerated.
- Cake – Cake keeps better on the counter, both frosted and unfrosted, although you’ll need to eat or freeze it within about a week. If it has a cream cheese frosting, however, throw it in the fridge so the frosting doesn’t go bad.
- Maple Syrup – properly prepared, maple syrup is just fine in the pantry or cupboard.
There are plenty of things that people commonly refrigerate which I didn’t add; these are just the basics. So, d0 you have anything to add to the list? Tell me in the comments!