35 Foods We Should Never Refrigerate


Have you ever returned from the grocery store and while un-bagging your produce tried to figure out where to store the items? While some items need to be refrigerated to stay fresh, others become ruined and even inedible after being refrigerated.

Your first instinct is probably to refrigerate items so they stay fresher longer, but some foods can lose their flavors, colors, and textures due to the cold temperatures.

Can you guess which items shouldn’t be stored in the fridge? Have you been storing your food the right way?

Avocados

Who doesn’t love avocado toast? It’s a millennial favorite and for a good reason—it’s delicious! If you’ve ever waited for an avocado to ripen, you know how long it can take. But the worst thing you can do is store it in the fridge which slows down the ripening process. Avocados should be kept at room temperature on the counter and if they’re ripe make sure you use them immediately. You don’t want to waste a perfectly good avocado!

A trick to ripening avocados is to store them in brown paper bags with an apple or banana for a few days until they’re ripe enough to enjoy.

Donuts

What’s more delicious that hot, fresh donuts straight out of the oven? Our mouths are watering just thinking about it. But how can you store them if you’ve bought too many? Which honestly, sounds like a problem we would all love to have.

Whatever you do, don’t put them in the fridge as they’ll get soggy and stale. Just make sure to keep them covered at room temperature. Beware that they won’t last long—you’re looking at two days max. We guess that’s all the more reason to enjoy that second donut!

Aged Cheese

All dairy belongs in the fridge, right? Wrong! Cheese lovers may know that hard cheeses should never be put in the fridge; when it’s kept in the fridge it becomes rock hard. Hard cheese goes through a curing process and when it’s cured, it no longer needs to be chilled. So, what’s the best way to store cheese? Your best bet is to store hard cheese in a cool, dark place like your pantry or cupboard.

This only applies to aged cheeses, other cheeses need to be refrigerated.

Potatoes

French fries, mashed potatoes, tater tots, potato wedges—we can’t think of a potato we don’t love. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are supposed to be stored in cool, dry places, so the refrigerator should be the optimal space for them but this actually isn’t the case.

When stored in the fridge, potatoes starches turn into sugars and the texture and taste end up getting all messed up. Gross! The only time you should store potatoes in the fridge is after they’ve been cooked.

Sealed Tuna

There’s so much you can make with canned tuna including the obvious, tuna salad as well as tuna patties, tuna pasta, and tuna casserole. Because tuna’s a fish, many people think it needs to be stored in the refrigerator.

However, canned tuna is a pantry staple as it has a shelf life of between three to five years, and it’s usually still okay to eat after that. Tuna should only be kept in the fridge after you open it and you can store it in a sealed container for up to four days.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread

Do you love Nutella? You may be surprised to learn that the chocolate-hazelnut spread doesn’t need to be refrigerated. In fact, it’s even written on the label! If you’ve ever stored it in the fridge, you may have found out the hard way that when it’s chilled it doesn’t spread as it solidifies. The sugar content in the spread helps preserve it, preventing bacteria from growing.

We have to suggest a Nutella peanut butter sandwich the next time your craving something salty and sweet.

Garlic

Have you been storing garlic in your fridge? If so, you’ve been storing it incorrectly. Fresh, full bulbs of garlic should be kept in a cool, dry place like your pantry. This superfood can stay good for months when stored correctly and once you’ve opened the head of the garlic clove, you should use it within 10 days.

When stored in the fridge, it starts rotting from inside the cloves, which you won’t be able to see. To avoid this disaster all together, just keep it out. If you need to use up extra garlic, try making your own garlic oil.

Citrus Fruits

Berries, melons, apples, and bananas don’t need to be kept in the fridge, but what about citrus fruits? While we get that a nice, cold orange or grapefruit is super refreshing during the summer time, storing citrus fruits in the fridge actually hardens and dries them out.

The tricky part about these clams is that they live one or two meters burrowed into sand or mud, where they’re exposed to all kinds of bacteria. That’s why it’s important for them to be placed into a clean water environment for a certain period of time, and they shouldn’t be eaten otherwise.

Citrus Fruits

Berries, melons, apples, and bananas don’t need to be kept in the fridge, but what about citrus fruits? While we get that a nice, cold orange or grapefruit is super refreshing during the summer time, storing citrus fruits in the fridge actually hardens and dries them out.

Salad Dressing

We’ve talked a ton about vegetables that don’t need to be kept in the fridge, but what about salad dressing? Well, this depends on the salad dressing you’re using. Oil-based dressing like vinaigrettes don’t need to be refrigerated. Storing them in the fridge can cause the oil to solidify, creating chunks of fat. Gross.

American Bullfrog

Frog legs are a very popular delicacy in the French and Chinese cuisines, and the rest of the world is slowly embracing them. Those who had a chance to try them swear they taste just like chicken wings – and who could possibly say no to that!

The American bullfrog became one of the most popular species for consumption because it’s abundant, especially in the south of the US. They also became widely accepted in other parts of the world, and it’s just a matter of time before people stop seeing them as strange food option.

Cassava

Cassava is a major staple food in tropical regions and one of the main sources of carbs, right after rice and maize. Despite its enormous popularity in certain parts of the world, the traces of cyanide in contains make it potentially toxic.

Complications can be easily avoided as long as it’s prepared correctly. After the roots are peeled, they have to be soaked in water and squeezed dry several times, but it’s completely safe to consume cassava once that’s done right.

Casu Marzu

Most cheese lovers agree there isn’t a single type of the dairy product they wouldn’t like to try, but that’s probably because they’ve never heard of casu marzu. This traditional sheep milk cheese from Sardinia owes its signature taste to the live larvae it contains.

The presence of these tiny maggots leads to advanced level of fermentation, that’s making the cheese extremely soft and breaking down its fats.

Seems like a high price to pay to eat some tasty cheese, but to each his own…

Monkey Brains

Asian cuisine is often seen as cruel in the eyes of Western people, because they tend to make dishes using animal species that the rest of the world usually doesn’t. The consumption of monkey brains is the perfect example, but it’s not as common as the media makes it seem.

Don’t expect to find monkey brains on the menu of each restaurant in Japan, China or Thailand because this dish is becoming a thing of the past.

As a matter of fact, it’s actually illegal to serve them in China, and those who do could face ten years in jail.

Tropical Fruits

We wait all year for summer to roll around so we can enjoy tropical fruits like passion fruit, coconut, pineapple, and mango. But when it comes to storing them, is it best to keep them on the counter or in the fridge?

Winter Squash

On a cold winter’s day there’s nothing like a nice, warm bowl of soup and one of our favorites is butternut squash soup.

Opened Cans

How do you store opened tomato sauces, canned tunas, or canned beans? While canned food has a great shelf life, once it’s exposed to air, the iron, aluminum, or tin seep into the foods and not only does it make the food taste metallic or unpleasant, it’s also dangerous to your health.

Corn

Did you know that corn isn’t a vegetable? It’s actually a cereal grain! Regardless of what it is, one thing we can all agree on is no BBQ is complete without corn on the cob.

Jerky/Biltong

Love it or hate it, this salty meat is supposed to be dry. Because jerky is simply dried meat, it doesn’t make sense to keep it in the fridge. Storing jerky in the fridge shortens its lifespan, by taking out the effects of the ingredients used to get it dry. Outside of the fridge in an airtight container in a cupboard or pantry, jerky stays fresh for a long time and you don’t have to worry about it going bad.

Pears

When people name their favorite fruits, strawberries, watermelon, or mangoes usually are up there. It’s rare for someone to say they love pears but that may be because we’ve been eating them wrong all this time.

Carrots

We bet you already know that a great way to stay hydrated is by eating fruits and veggies. And one such vegetable that has a lot of water is carrots. Due to their high water content, carrots like cucumbers, rot quicker when stored in the fridge. When you start to store carrots at room temperature, you’ll notice they’ll last longer.

Papaya

While papaya may not be the most popular fruit in the U.S., it’s amazing in smoothies when paired with other tropical fruit like mango and pineapple. Even though papayas are enjoyed cold in smoothies, like the other tropical fruits, they don’t do well in the fridge.

When stored in cold temperatures, papayas stop ripening and the juices freeze. The texture also causes the fruit to absorb surrounding flavors, so they’re taste will be affected by what they’re next to in the fridge. Can you imagine a papaya that tastes like a cucumber or red pepper? Gross.

Soy Sauce

Sushi and other Asian food aren’t complete without a generous serving of soy sauce. Buy you may be using more soy sauce than you actually need due to the way you’ve been storing it. Soy sauce has a high sodium content, which serves as a natural preservative, keeping it from spoiling. Storing soy sauce in cold temperatures actually makes it less flavorful.

Dried Beans

Did you know that there are 40,000 bean varieties in the world? Wow. Regardless of if you’re eating kidney, fava, pinto, green beans, chickpeas, or black beans, like rice, when uncooked they should be kept in an airtight container in the pantry or cupboard to keep pests and moisture away.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potato pies, sweet potato soup, sweet potato fries—sweet potatoes taste amazing in sweet and savory dishes. Much like potatoes, their cellular structure is affected by cold climates. They often come from tropical climates, and like tropical fruits, they continue ripening when in warm temperatures.

If you’re frying or mashing them, the cold air makes it harder to do so. But not all is lost if you’ve stored them in the fridge. Just remove them and make sure they’re completed warmed up before you use them.

Mint

Whether you’re making a mojito, tea, or mint chocolate chip ice cream, fresh mint is an herb you should always have in your kitchen.

Like basil, it shouldn’t be kept in the fridge because the cold air will cause mold to grow, which poses a significant health risk. Instead, to prolong it shelf life, it should be stored in an airtight jar or box in a cupboard or pantry. After picking mint from the plant, avoid exposing it to sunlight.

Eggs

Many people are split when it comes to if you should refrigerate eggs. What side do you fall on? In Europe, you’ll find eggs left out on the counter and in the United States, you’ll almost always find them in the fridge. In the United States, eggs are sterilized after production to kill the bacteria which also weakens the egg shell and means they need to be stored in a cool place. While in Europe, the shells aren’t sterilized and they shouldn’t be kept in the fridge.

Remember to Think Twice

So, have you been storing your foods the right way? As you probably can see, many of the foods you’ve been storing in the fridge, actually don’t belong there. Instead of keeping them fresh, they may be losing their flavor and texture.

While it may seem obvious which fruits and veggies don’t belong in the fridge, other foods like spreads, condiments, and baked goods aren’t so obvious. If anything, we bet you’ll think twice before unpacking your groceries next time.