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By Alison Spiegel at (

Many of us are mistakenly keeping some types of food in the fridge, often depleting it of it’s flavour and nutrients. Read on to see 10 foods you should not be storing in your fridge ….


Tomatoes of all varieties lose their flavor when chilled(i). This is due to the circulation of cold air which stops them from ripening and their flavour developing further . Their texture is also altered. According to Harold McGee’s ‘On Food and Cooking:“the cold temperature breaks down the membranes inside the fruit walls, turning it mealy”. So make sure you keep your tomatoes tasty by keeping them in a bowl on your counter.


When onions are stored in the fridge, they will turn moldy and soft eventually. They need cool and dry conditions to keep well. Many stores sell ‘onion bags’ so they can be kept in a cupboard or drawer.


Bread will dry out very quickly once placed in a refrigerator. An unsliced fresh loaf will last perfectly well for up to four days if stored at room temperature and just sliced when needed. Ready sliced bread can be easily stored in the freezer if wrapped well, and then just take out the amount you need and defrost at room temperature. It should be as soft and fresh tasting as when bought.


Garlic just needs a cool, dry place to be stored. If left in the fridge it will become rubbery, start sprouting and even go mouldy. Popular are ceramic garlic containers that can be left on the counter.


If your avocado needs to ripen further before you plan on using it then they need to be left at room temperature. If already ripe then they are good to store in the fridge for a day or two.


Olive oil should always be stored in a cool, dark place (hence why many bottles are made from dark coloured glass) but never ever in the fridge. It would merely condense and turn to a harder, almost butter-like consistency.


Potatoes are best kept in a paper bag in a cool, but not cold, place. In plastic bags the vegetable cannot breathe easily so they could rot. If kept in a cold place like a fridge the starch will turn into sugar. Domestic guru Martha Stewart suggests you store potatoes “at a temperature as close to 45 degrees as possible” (ii). Incidentally sweet potatoes should be stored in the same way. Please note: keep potatoes separate from onions – if stored together, both will deteriorate faster.


Basil will wilt very quickly if kept in the fridge. Basil will also absorb all the smells of the food stored nearby. Keep in a glass of fresh water instead. If you want to store basil for a long time, Martha Stewart recommends blanching it and then freezing it (iii).


Honey is fine stored at room temperature if tightly sealed. Refrigerating will just cause crystals to form and alter the texture.


Coffee has the ability to absorb other odors from surrounding foodstuffs and if left in the fridge it will also lose its own flavor. Again store in a cool dark place to keep it fresh.

And as for butter ……… that is a whole other article as debate constantly rages as to its’ correct storage with many opinions divided. But have you discovered that you have been storing any of the above incorrectly ?


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