Many foods need cold storage so that they don’t spoil or go to waste. (What would milk or fresh mozzarella be without the marvel of modern refrigeration?) But not everything should go in the refrigerator. In fact, some surprising foods don’t have to go in the refrigerator. And others actually should never be refrigerated.
Below, check out the surprising foods that you shouldn’t put in the refrigerator.
There’s no need to put apples in the refrigerator as soon as you get them home from the orchard or the grocery store. The Food Network reports that freshly picked apples will do just fine on your counter. If you haven’t eaten them after a week or two, then you can put them in the refrigerator to help extend their shelf life.
Next: This fruit will taste a lot better at room temperature than chilled.
Surprisingly, you don’t have to store avocados in the refrigerator, either. The Food Network explains that avocados are best enjoyed at room temperature. But if you have a few ripe avocados — and no plans to use them in the next day or two — you can place them in the refrigerator to help them keep a little longer.
Next: These fruits should stay at room temperature — and get eaten quickly.
Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries — they all taste amazing at room temperature. The Food Network reports that if you plan to use them soon, you should just keep them on the counter.
If you need to store them for longer, you can keep them in the fridge. Just remember that you’ll need to wait until just before eating them to rinse them off. Otherwise, you’ll have soggy or moldy berries.
Next: This kitchen staple will dry out in the refrigerator.
If you want your bread to last longer, you might think you should put it in the refrigerator. Think again! Real Simple reports that refrigerating bread will just dry it out. The publication advises that you keep whatever you’ll eat within four days at room temperature. Then, you can freeze — not refrigerate — the rest.
Next: Your favorite morning beverage will lose its flavor in the fridge.
The refrigerator and the freezer are a no-go for that canister of coffee. According to Real Simple, the humidity of the refrigerator creates condensation. In turn, a buildup of condensation affects the flavor of both ground coffee and coffee beans. Store either one in an airtight canister in the pantry instead.
Next: This aromatic root will retain its flavor at room temperature.
There’s no need to put your garlic in the refrigerator. It fact, it will last a lot longer (and retain its powerful flavor better) if stored at room temperature. You should store it loose or in a container that allows for air circulation in the pantry. Also, the Food Network advises that once you have broken up a head of garlic, you should use all the cloves within 10 days.
Next: This natural sweetener may crystallize in the refrigerator.
Even if you don’t use honey frequently, you shouldn’t subject it to storage in the refrigerator. The Food Network notes that the cold temperatures can cause honey to crystallize and seize up. To keep its natural texture intact, just store your bottle at room temperature instead.
Next: You don’t need to refrigerate this popular condiment.
8. Hot sauce
Most of us know that ketchup should go in the refrigerator, if not for food safety then to help it retain its best flavor. But contrary to what you might expect, hot sauce doesn’t need to go in the refrigerator. According to the Food Network, it contains plenty of vinegar to prevent bacterial growth. You can just store it in the pantry, where it should keep for years with no problem.
Next: These delicious fruits will retain their flavor — and antioxidants — at room temperature.
Many of us put melons in the refrigerator out of habit. But the Food Network reports that you should keep whole melons — including watermelons, cantaloupes, and honeydews — on the counter for the best flavor. USDA research indicates that storage at room temperature may even keep melons’ antioxidants intact longer. Once you’ve sliced a melon, you can store it in the refrigerator for three to four days.
Next: This delectable spread will be more spreadable if kept out of the fridge.
Everybody loves this chocolate and hazelnut spread, but nobody knows exactly where they should store it. According to the Food Network, Nutella stays “super spreadable” if you store it in the pantry, not in the refrigerator. The distinctive chocolate flavor also tastes more pronounced when the spread stays at room temperature instead of chilling out in the fridge.
Next: These delicious snacks can absorb weird odors in the refrigerator.
Some people advise storing large quantities of nuts in the refrigerator in order to prevent them from going rancid. But the Food Network reports that the cool temperatures can “stifle the nutty flavor.” Shelled nuts can also absorb other odors from the refrigerator. Ideally, you should store nuts in an airtight container in your pantry. If you have a large amount that you’ve already put in the fridge, just toast them in a dry pan prior to using them.
Next: This flavorful vegetable will get moldy and mushy in the refrigerator.
Don’t put your onions in the refrigerator! The Food Network explains that they’ll get moldy and mushy thanks to the humidity in the refrigerator. They’ll fare much better in the pantry, especially stored in their original mesh bag or in any other bag that lets air continue to circulate.
However, Real Simple reports that you shouldn’t put them near the potatoes — more on those soon — because potatoes emit moisture and gases that can cause onions to rot. Once you’ve cut them, put onions in a resealable bag in the vegetable drawer.
Next: This starchy staple will turn gritty in the refrigerator.
Putting potatoes in the refrigerator saps them of their flavor. According to the Food Network, the cold temperatures break down the starches, which makes the potatoes unpleasantly sweet and gritty.
You’re better off finding a spot for them in the pantry. Real Simple advises placing them in a paper bag, not plastic, which traps moisture and hastens decay. They should last about three weeks in the pantry.
Next: This category of fruits should always ripen at room temperature.
14. Stone fruit
The Food Network reports that stone fruit — including peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums — should always ripen at room temperature. If they’ve ripened and you can’t eat them right away, you can place them in the refrigerator’s fruit bin to get them to last a few extra days.
Next: This vegetable will get mealy if chilled.
Another surprising food that shouldn’t go in the fridge? Tomatoes. They get mealy and lose their flavor when stored cold. Real Simple advises just taking them out of the plastic bag and leaving them on the counter.
If you want them to ripen faster, just put them in a paper bag. Once they’ve ripened, they’ll last for around three days. And if they get too ripe? The Food Network advises making tomato jam or roasted tomato sauce.
Next: These vegetable don’t need refrigeration.
16. Winter squashes
You don’t need to put winter squashes in the refrigerator. Real Simple reports that winter varieties, including acorn, butternut, delicata, and spaghetti will keep a month or more in the pantry. We’d venture to guess that the ones you’ve used to decorate your dinner table or your mantel will probably taste delicious, too.
Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!