There seems to be a big debate on what foods should and shouldn’t be refrigerated. Some might think to refrigerate almost everything but there are tons of foods that actually lose their flavor and their substance when put in the fridge. And a lot of the time it’s a personal preference. For example, I like cold apples so I keep my apples in the fridge. Apples don’t need to be refrigerated but there are some foods that do.
Food that Should be Refrigerated:
– Dairy: Milk, eggs, cream, yogurt, cookie dough, cheese etc. Most dairy foods also come with a sell by date. These dates should be followed. Dairy products do go bad and when they do — it can be really bad for you.
– Meat: Almost all meat needs to be refrigerated. Meat will go bad if not put in the fridge. And opened meat like lunch meat needs to be eaten within 5 days. Ground meat and fish should be eaten within 2 days. The only meat not refrigerated is dried meat like dried sausage or beef jerky.
– Fruit: Most fruit tastes better with a little chill to it. And fruit will last longer if it’s refrigerated.
– Opened cans or containers: The rule of thumb is if something (not everything) is opened, it should be refrigerated. Most foods will say “refrigerate after opening” on the bottle. For example, salsa, jelly, condiments, mayo, salad dressing etc. These can stay on the pantry shelf for quite some time until the seal is broken. Then it needs to go in the fridge.
– Leftovers: Most leftovers will need to be refrigerated so you can enjoy it again!
Foods that can be Refrigerated but Don’t Need to:
– Butter: This is an interesting one. It is recommended by the USDA that you refrigerate butter if you will not use it within 2 days. But butter can stay at room temperature much longer than that. We keep our butter out because we like it soft. This is another personal preference.
– Apples: Again apples will last longer in the fridge but will be fine if left on the counter
– Peanut Butter: Some people put Peanut Butter in the fridge but you don’t need to. I think it tastes much better at room temperature.
– Bread: Bread is the same — sure it could be put in the fridge but why would you. Cold bread doesn’t taste as good.
– Baked Goods: Cupcakes, muffins, other breads are all better at room temperature. But it won’t hurt to put them in the fridge. Now if you have cream or custard in the middle of a doughnut or pie, then yes it needs to go in the fridge.
– Bananas: Sure bananas could go in the fridge but it will only make them turn black. Bananas are best at room temperature.
Foods that Should Not be Refrigerated:
– Onions: You can put onions in the fridge but they will soften and won’t be as crisp. And in the fridge, onions will make your other foods smell like onions. Remember to also keep onions out of plastic containers. Store in glass or the plastic will smell like onions. And keep them away from potatoes or they will go bad faster.
– Tomatoes: Like onions, tomatoes can be stored in the fridge but they won’t be as crisp either. Tomatoes can get mushy when refrigerated.
– Potatoes: Potatoes should be stored at room temperature. The cold temperature will actually turn potatoes’ starch into sugars. This will change the flavor of the potatoes.
– Honey: Honey will thicken up in the fridge and be much harder to pour. Honey never goes bad so keep it in the pantry for easy use.
– Olive Oil: Oils can thicken up in the fridge and it stays better at room temperature.