Have you ever stored a tomato in the fridge, only to find it’s lost its juicy charm? You’re not alone. Many of us unknowingly shorten the lifespan and diminish the flavor of certain foods by refrigerating them. We’re shedding light on common kitchen staples that are better off outside the chilly confines of your fridge, explaining why room temperature can sometimes be the better choice for freshness and taste.
Keeping tomatoes in the fridge results in a loss of their characteristic texture and flavor. The cold air stops the ripening process, leading to a mealy texture and diminished taste. It’s best to store them on the countertop, away from direct sunlight.
The chilly environment of a refrigerator turns the starch in potatoes into sugar more rapidly, which can alter their taste and texture, making them unpleasantly sweet and gritty. Instead, store them in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place like a pantry.
Onions need air circulation to stay fresh, and the dampness in a fridge can make them soft and moldy. Instead, store them in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area. Keep them away from potatoes, as they can make each other spoil faster.
Refrigeration can disrupt the ripening process of bananas. When refrigerated, their skin may darken faster, although the inside remains unaffected. It’s best to keep them at room temperature until they ripen and then refrigerate if desired.
Storing whole melons like watermelons, cantaloupes, and honeydews in the fridge can lead to a reduction in antioxidants and flavor. Room temperature is ideal until they’re cut. After cutting, refrigerate the slices.
Refrigeration can cause honey to crystallize and become almost dough-like in texture, making it difficult to pour or spread. Honey naturally resists spoilage, so it’s best kept at room temperature.
Nuts can absorb odors in the fridge, compromising their flavor. Also, the cool, moist environment can make them soggy. Instead, store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Like onions, garlic prefers a ventilated space and can become rubbery and moldy in the fridge. Store it in a cool, dry place, and it will stay fresh for weeks.
Basil wilts rapidly in the fridge and can absorb other food smells. It thrives at room temperature and can even be kept in a cup of water like fresh-cut flowers.
Most hot sauces contain vinegar and preservatives that keep them stable at room temperature. Refrigeration can dull the flavor and change the sauce’s consistency.
While ketchup can be refrigerated, it’s not necessary due to its natural acidity. Keeping it at room temperature can maintain its flavor better. Restaurants do this all the time!
Refrigeration can cause chocolate to develop a white coating called chocolate bloom, due to sugar crystals forming on the surface. It’s best stored in a cool, dark place.
The fridge can create condensation in coffee containers making it ripe for mold, affecting flavor and freshness. Coffee is best stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Refrigerating molasses can make it thick and sluggish. It’s naturally resistant to spoilage, so storing it at room temperature makes it easier to pour.
Cookies can lose their texture and become stale or soggy in the fridge. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for that perfect bite.
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Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.