Are you someone who puts everything in the refrigerator the moment you get home from grocery shopping? You may want to consider stopping this practice!
It’s true that a fridge is meant to provide a low temperature environment to prevent bacterial growth and help food stay fresher for longer. But not all foods do well in the cold temperatures. Besides turning stale, there is also risk of uneven ripening that leaves you with food of poor texture and taste.
Some foods simply do better unrefrigerated. Read on to check if you’ve made the mistake of putting any of these fruits, vegetables or other foods into your fridge so you can get them out as soon as possible!
Don’t Refrigerate These Fruits
Yes, a tomato is a fruit! When selecting, you should go for ripe, firm, regularly shaped and uniformly coloured tomatoes, which will last you up to 7 days.
Do not put them in the fridge as the cold air breaks down the cell membranes in the fruit walls, leaving you with a loss of flavour and texture. Place your tomatoes in a room temperature environment and have them rest uncovered.
You may also question
“Do apples need to be refrigerated?”
In short, they do not need to be. While you can chill apples to enjoy them cold, leave them out on the counter for a crisper texture.
If you find mushy bananas unappealing, make sure to leave them out of the fridge. Cold temperatures are not ideal for even ripening and you’ll find that your bananas will begin to turn brown rapidly.
3. Uncut melons
Melons like honeydews, cantaloupes, watermelons and hami melons have hard skins that lock moisture within, so it isn’t really necessary to put them in the fridge.
If you prefer eating your melons chilled, you can put cut melons into the fridge. Once cut, store the melon in the fridge with a reusable food cover. But note that a chilled melon might have harder, less tender and juicy flesh than if it were just left out!
Leave Out Till Ripe, Then Refrigerate
Upset about flavourless avocados from your fridge?
To best enjoy the creaminess and richness of an avocado, let it ripen fully on your countertop before storing in the fridge to extend its shelf life.
Tip: A ripe avocado usually has a nearly black skin and when you press lightly on it, it is soft.
This ensures that it can ripen evenly and achieve full flavour, rather than if its ripening process were to be inhibited by cold fridge air.
Wait till mangos are fully ripe before refrigerating, to enjoy them at their juiciest. They will typically fully ripen within 2 to 5 days at normal room temperature. Once refrigerated, they will then last another 5 to 7 days.
6. Plums, peaches & apricots
These fruits continue to ripen after picking. Store them in a cool and dry place, away from sunlight and heat which could speed up the ripening process.
To avoid staleness and mealiness, allow them to reach their peak on your countertop before you pop them in the fridge to extend their shelf life!
Another fruit that should be left on the countertop to ensure even ripening. Once your papaya’s skin turns from green to yellow, it is ripe and ready to be eaten.
But if you’re not quite ready to dig in, pop it into the fridge to extend its shelf life. A whole papaya will last in the fridge for 6 to 9 days, while cut slices will last 2 to 3 days in the fridge.
Store it in an airtight container for extended shelf life as a cut ripe papaya will turn mushy quickly even in the fridge.
Also check out on StyleMag: Secrets To Keeping Your Fruits and Vegetables Fresh
8. Garlic & onions
Common ingredients in many dishes and found in many households, these alliums do best when left in a cool, dry and well-ventilated place.
When refrigerated, garlic in particular develops a rubbery texture. Plus, the cool air causes sprouts to grow and mold to form. What a waste of a potato!
9. Bell peppers
When choosing bell peppers (or capsicums, as they’re otherwise known), go for ripe and firm ones with uniform colour.
Because bell peppers will not continue to ripen after being placed in the fridge, you should leave them on your counter or in a well-ventilated pantry space. They will last up to 7 days in storage.
10. Potatoes & sweet potatoes
Starchy vegetables like potatoes need a cool, dry and dark place to rest as well. The cool refrigerated air will only cause the starch in the spuds to turn to sugar, leaving you with the unpleasant taste of a sweet and gritty potato.
When selecting brinjals (egg plants), look out for uniformly coloured, firm and well shaped ones.
With a rather short storage life of 2 to 3 days, you may be tempted to put these purple veggies in the fridge, but don’t! When stored at low temperatures, brinjals may develop pitting and soft spots.
To pick a good cucumber, go for light green shades, with firm and smooth bodies.
Cucumbers have a shelf life of 2 to 5 days. Similar to brinjals, do not be tempted to put them into the fridge. Cucumbers have a tendency to soften and form dark spots.
Other Common Food Items
13. Peanut butter
Possibly the most versatile and yummy food that goes well in sandwiches, desserts and more, your peanut butter does best when left at room temperature.
Store it in a cool, dark place as heat may turn it rancid. Refrigerated peanut butter will turn hard and dry, whereas leaving it out ensures it remains spreadable, smooth and creamy any time you consume it!
You probably have these questions in mind to –
“Does mayonnaise/salad dressing need to be refrigerated?”
“Does ketchup need to be refrigerated?”
Mayonnaise and salad dressing need to be placed into the fridge once opened. Ingredients in salad dressing, such as onion and citrus juice, will turn rancid if left unrefrigerated.
Ketchup can be left to sit unrefrigerated for up to a month. This is possible because it contains acidic ingredients (tomatoes and vinegar) that create an environment which bacteria have difficulty growing in. But if you need to keep it for longer, it would be wise to keep your ketchup chilled.
Never refrigerate your honey as it will harden and crystallise, losing many of its natural amino acids and vitamins. To ensure you enjoy all the goodness this sweet treat has to offer, store it in airtight glass containers in a cool spot in your kitchen.
“Does maple syrup/jam need to be refrigerated?”
Similar to honey, maple syrup and jam crystallise when stored in the fridge. Keep them at room temperature, and out of direct sunlight.
While bread may only have a life span of 4 to 5 days, popping it in the fridge will cause it to dry out and harden. Nobody likes the taste of stale bread! Leave your bread out on the counter or in your pantry to ensure it stays fluffy and delicious.
Note: You can freeze bread to preserve it for up to 6 months. But be warned that once past that, the quality of your bread (taste and texture) will begin to decline!
To help you identify if you’ve placed any of these items into the fridge at a glance, here is a summary of all foods in an infographic form. Share it with your family and friends who love cooking at home!
In need of a kitchen rack or basket to store your unrefrigerated food now?
Here’re some suggestions for you to keep them neatly –
Let us know which item on the list was most surprising to you in the comments down below!