Your humble refrigerator makes a major contribution to food storage, safety and convenience in your home, but it’s not right for all foods. With some products, cold storage can degrade flavors, reduce nutrients or even speed up spoilage. Here are 14 favorites that you should consider leaving out of your fridge.
Whole melons such as watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew will taste better and may even be healthier when stored at room temperature. Once they’re cut, keep them in the fridge for three to four days.
Fresh apples should easily last for a week or two on your countertop. If they aren’t consumed by then, you can extend their shelf life a bit by placing them in the fridge.
This creamy fruit keeps well and tastes great at room temperature. To preserve ripe ones for a few more days, you can chill them in the fridge.
Peaches, apricots, nectarines and plums are best left to ripen at room temperature. Once ripe, if they aren’t consumed, the fruit bin in the fridge can extend their life by a few extra days.
What’s dull, mushy and red all over? It might be your tomatoes if you put them in the refrigerator. These veggie-like fruits are best kept on the counter: in the sun if they’re under-ripe and out of the sun if they’re just right.
Chilly temps can turn potatoes unpleasantly sweet and gritty by breaking down their starches. Store them in a cool, dry and dark place instead for tip-top taters.
Refrigeration can turn onions moldy and mushy. Keep them crisp by storing them at room temperature away from sunlight. Once they’re cut, put them in a resealable bag and keep them in your fridge’s vegetable store.
Preserve the powerful flavor of garlic by storing it in a cool, dry and ventilated container. Once the head has been broken open, use the cloves within 10 days.
Storing nuts in the fridge is a bit nutty, but not in a good way. The cold temps can stifle their flavor, and unpleasant fridge odors can be absorbed by shelled nuts. An airtight container in the pantry is the best storage solution.
Keeping your bread in the fridge will dry it out and degrade the flavor. Instead, leave your loaves on the counter. If you can’t finish a loaf before it goes bad, freeze it to use later as toast.
Some claim that honey has no expiration date and can last indefinitely if protected from moisture in a sealed container. The sweet stuff will stay safe and flow better if stored at room temperature.
This nutty “butter” keeps well and spreads easy at room temperature. If you can’t finish the jar within three months, tossing it in the fridge will add another few months of shelf life.
Thanks to vinegar or other preservative ingredients, condiments such as ketchup, mustard, hot sauce and soy sauce typically keep well and are most flavorful at room temperature.
Whether whole beans or ground, coffee doesn’t do well in the fridge. Cold temperatures cause condensation to form, which dulls the flavor. Opt to store your coffee in an airtight container in the pantry instead.
In general, produce that is not refrigerated where it is sold can be stored the same way in your home until it is ripe or reaches the end of its room temperature shelf life. Always follow the refrigeration directions found on packaged goods. For more information on food shelf lives, visit StillTasty.com.