We all need one of the best refrigerators to chill our fresh produce and make our foods last longer. And while we often think it’s the most suitable place for all our perishables, did you know there are certain foods you should never put in the fridge?
In fact, keeping such foods at a cold temperature will only make them go bad, reduce their nutritional value and quickly decrease their flavor, which defeats their whole purpose! In reality, these foods are best kept at room temperature, around 64-71 degrees F.
Keeping these food out of the fridge will also save you throwing out spoiled foods, which is wasteful and a hassle, especially if you want to make your food last longer and save money. So, if you’re unsure of what groceries need to be chilled, here are 11 foods that you should never put in the fridge.
This is often a topic of debate, but bread should not be kept in the fridge. The molecules in bread starch recrystallize very quickly at cool temperatures, causing the bread to go stale much faster in the fridge. In addition, this makes the bread tough, chewy and stale-tasting.
Always store bread in a bread box like this Extra Large Bread Box ($29 (opens in new tab), Amazon (opens in new tab)), or freeze any excess for up to one month, wrapped properly in freezer paper. Before storing, shop-bought bread should be kept in an airtight plastic bag, while fresh bread should be wrapped tightly in cling film or a beeswax wrap and kept at room temperature.
2. Raw potatoes
Generally, potatoes and sweet potatoes should be kept in the pantry. If kept in the fridge, cold temperatures can cause their starch to quickly turn into sugar, causing a tougher or sweeter potato. Instead, store your potatoes in a well-ventilated basket or cupboard out of direct sunlight. Keep potatoes in a paper bag, not plastic, as plastic bags prevent airflow and accumulate moisture.
If you’ve mastered how to grow tomatoes, don’t make the mistake of storing your harvest in the fridge. Generally, tomatoes continue to ripen at room temperature, so chilling will essentially stop the ripening process and dull the flavor. In addition, fridge temperatures cause damage to tomatoes’ skin, causing a watery texture. So, if you want to maintain juicy, tasty tomatoes, keep them out on a counter, away from direct sunlight.
Honey is a natural preservative, so it doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge. In addition, cold temperature will cause it to crystalize, making it hard and difficult to spread. If you want runny honey, always store it in a cupboard at room temperature.
Whether you fancy smashed avocado or want to spruce up a salad, remember not to store avocados in the fridge. When you buy them from the grocery store, they are still hard and need a few days to ripen before eating. These can only ripen at room temperature, so are best kept out of the fridge. The only exception is when an avocado is completely ripe and you’re not ready to eat it. Just make sure you eat it within two or three days for maximum flavor.
6. Whole melons
You may think uncut melons will keep longer in the fridge, but they’re actually best kept in your fruit bowl. Refrigeration will alter the taste, texture and color. Whole melon should be left at room temperature until ripe. The only time you can keep it in the fridge is once you’ve cut into it. Be sure to wrap it tightly in a cling film alternative, such as beeswax wraps, or store slices in an airtight container before placing in the fridge. The same rules apply for mangoes and peppers.
7. Garlic bulbs
Garlic will instantly liven up most meals, but it can quickly go off if kept in the fridge. Not only will it have a rubbery texture, but the moist conditions make it prone to mold. Always store garlic in a dry, well-ventilated place for the best results, and don’t store it in plastic bags. These will only trap moisture, and make the garlic spoil quickly. Instead, you can use mesh bags, like these Hanging Mesh Storage Bags ($10 (opens in new tab), Amazon (opens in new tab)), to keep your cloves fresh.
If you enjoy eating juicy strawberries, these are best left out of the fridge. Strawberries will soak up water or moisture from the cold temperatures, making them spoil or lose their sweetness. It’s best to store strawberries on the countertop, away from direct sunlight. Whether you know how to grow strawberries and are eating your own, or if you’re using shop-bought, ensure you consume within a day or two before they start to perish.
While you might think onions belong in the salad crisper, never store them in the fridge. This will add moisture, leaving them with a mushy texture, and making them prone to mold. It’s best to store onions in a well-ventilated basket, and in a cool, dark spot in the pantry.
If you enjoy an aromatic cup of Joe in the morning, don’t store coffee beans in the fridge. An opened pack of beans is prone to condensation from the cold temperatures. This will only ruin the taste and flavor, making your coffee taste off. Instead, store your coffee at room temperature in a dark place, ideally inside a kitchen cupboard. You’ll want to store coffee in an airtight container to preserve its flavor. However, it’s also important that the carbon dioxide, which coffee beans gradually release, is able to escape. This will avoid the container inflating over time and bursting and is why coffee pouches usually have valves. You can use a coffee container with a one way valve to let gasses out but not in, like this Coffee Gator 16oz stainless steel coffee cannister ($25, Amazon (opens in new tab)).
11. Fresh herbs
Similar to aromatic coffee, fresh herbs quickly lose their aroma when put in the fridge. In addition, the cool temperatures will add moisture to the less hardier herbs, causing them to wilt, dry out or lose their flavor. If you want to maintain their full flavor, keep them out at room temperature. If necessary, place herbs in a resealable plastic bag or in plastic wrap and if you really need to only store in the fridge for a short time.
For more tips, tricks, and how-tos, check out our guides on the 14 foods that you should never put in the freezer, 15 things you should never put in a washing machine and 8 bread maker mistakes you never knew you were making.