refrigerator
Sean Cate
Sean Cate
May 29, 2024 ·  5 min read

Avoid Putting These 15 Foods in the Refrigerator

A common practice in the kitchen is to refrigerate perishable items to extend shelf life and preserve quality. But for some foods, it’s actually best to keep them out of the refrigerator to maintain optimal flavor, texture, and nutritional value. Experts from The Food Network caution and speak against refrigerating the following 15 foods to ensure they stay fresh and delicious:

Bananas

bananas
Credit: Pexels

Bananas should be stored at room temperature until they ripen. “Refrigeration slows down the ripening process and turns the peel black and brown,” says an expert.1 Once they’ve ripened, bananas can be frozen for use in smoothies and other recipes.

Read More: Experts Say These Are The 5 Worst Foods For Your Cholesterol

Certain Cooking Oils

olive oil
Credit: Pixabay

Avocado and olive oils should never be refrigerated. “The cold temperature can solidify or thicken oils, affecting their flavor and texture,” an expert explains. Store these oils in a cool, dark place to keep them in their best condition. Of course, there are exceptions to this; any oil that remains liquid in the refrigerator can be stored there without issue. These are often called ‘delicate oils,’ which are prone to oxidation. Examples of these include walnut, flax, safflower, and sunflower.

Onions

onions
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Onions should also be kept in a dark, dry place. Storing onions in the refrigerator breaks their fibrous structure and promotes mold growth. A dark dry place helps prevent sprouting and preserves their flavor longer.

Chocolate

stacked pieces of chocolate
Credit: Pixabay

Storing chocolate in the refrigerator can create a sugar bloom, which is where a white coating forms on the surface. While it would still be safe to eat, it has a different taste and texture. By keeping chocolate in a dry, cool place away from light, you’ll do much better to maintain its quality and taste.

Melons

honeydew
Credit: Pixabay

Whole, uncut melons – watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe – should be stored outside the refrigerator. If you refrigerate a melon, it can absorb moisture and other flavors in the fridge, affecting its texture. Store melons somewhere dry and away from direct sunlight to let them ripen properly. Once cut, melons can go in the refrigerator.

Avocados

avocado sliced in hafl
Credit: Pixabay

A popular fruit with a creamy texture and rich taste, avocados are no exception to refrigeration. Storing avocados in the refrigerator prevents them from ripening and affects their taste and texture. Let avocados ripen at room temperature, then refrigerate them to slow down the ripening process, but only if necessary.

Read More: 9 Foods You May Have To Stop Eating As You Get Older

Peanut Butter

peanut butter spread on toast
Credit: Pixabay

Store-bought peanut butter usually has preservatives that make it all right at room temperature all the time. “Store it in a cool, dry place like a pantry or a kitchen cabinet,” advises a food safety expert. Natural peanut butter, on the other hand, lacks these preservatives and should be refrigerated after opening to prevent spoilage.

Molasses

Molasses
Credit: Wikipedia

Molasses should also be stored in a cool, dry place to make sure its consistency doesn’t change. Refrigerating molasses can make it harden and become thick, which also changes its texture and taste. Keeping molasses at room temperature ensures it remains pourable and easy to use.

Berries

wet mixed berries
Credit: Pixabay

Contrary to popular belief, berries should not be stored in the refrigerator if you plan to eat them within the first two to three days. Keeping them cooler alters the berry’s flavors and texture. However, if you want to extend their life beyond that and avoid spoiling, you should still refrigerate them. On a separate note, you should avoid washing your berries until ready to consume, as moisture buildup may damage them. That said, if you dry them properly, it shouldn’t be an issue. Store them in a cool place to keep them fresh.

Tomatoes

larger and smaller tomatoes
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Tomatoes are at their best when stored at room temperature. Keeping tomatoes in the refrigerator affects how they taste, so to maintain peak juiciness and flavor, store your tomatoes somewhere cool and dry.

Garlic

garlic
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Refrigerating garlic, like onions, can cause sprouting or premature molding. Be sure to store garlic in a dark and dry before it’s unbroken to keep it fresher for longer. Once a clove is broken, use it quickly to enjoy its full flavor.

Read More: 21 Incredibly Healthy and Affordable Foods

Cucumbers

cucumbers in and around a metal bucket
Credit: Pixabay

Cucumbers are actually quite sensitive to the cold and a refrigerator can rot it faster. The coolness can cause a “chilling injury,” which leads to shriveling, water-swollen spots, and yellowing. If you have to refrigerate them, wrap cucumbers in plastic to reduce moisture exposure, and be sure to use them within a few days.

Potatoes

potatoes in a sac
Credit: Pixabay

Potatoes and a refrigerator aren’t a great mix. The coolness alters their taste and texture, converting the starches into sugars. You’d think sugars would make them taste better, but it actually creates a near-rotten taste. Store your potatoes in a dark, well-ventilated area away from any fruits and onions, as any moisture can cause them to sprout.

Hard Cheese

old white cheddar cheese
Credit: Pixabay

Parmesan and cheddar should be kept at room temperature until they’re opened. Putting them in a refrigerator can prevent mold growth, but at the cost of flavor and texture changes in the cheese. Store your cheese in a cool, dry place to maximize how long you can enjoy it.

Stone Fruits

peaches in a bowl and sliced open
Credit: Pixabay

Fruits like apricots, peaches, and plums should be kept on the counter until they are ripe. Like others on this list, being in the refrigerator affects their taste and texture so wait until these fruits are ripe to extend their freshness in the fridge for a few days.

Conclusion

frog figurine beside a mini fridge
Credit: Pixabay

While for many foods, refrigeration is the way to go, these 15 items are better off at room temperature. Occasionally you can steal a few days in the fridge after ripening but you need to let them thrive and develop on countertop or somewhere cool and dark. By following these tips, you can make sure your food stays as flavorful, nutritious, and fresh for as long as possible.

Read More: 32 Signs You Have a Magnesium Deficiency & The Foods You Need to Start Eating Immediately