20+ Foods You Should Never Store in the Refrigerator

Foods You Should Never Store in the Refrigerator
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Many of you gleefully make the mistake of keeping foods you should never store in the refrigerator out of habit or ignorance.

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The household refrigerator seems the most likely place to keep foods so that they can remain fresh for a more extended period. However, certain ingredients aren’t just compatible with colder temperatures.

This article contains a list of foods that will fare better if stored elsewhere than your refrigerator. It also discusses certain foods that can only be kept in the refrigerator only under certain conditions.

Table of Contents

Garlic

raw unpeeled garlic on marble surface
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Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Garlic is one food that rots faster when kept in the refrigerator because of the extra moisture, unless when already peeled and prepared. The best storage location for garlic is in a dry place with room temperature, enough air circulation, and distanced away from light.

The garlic bulbs tend to stay longer when left whole until they are ready for use. If you’re looking to use additional garlic bulbs, you could attempt producing your garlic oil.

Olive oil

bowl being poured with yellow liquid
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Olive oil is one of the foods you should never store in the refrigerator. Keeping oils in the refrigerator often makes them cloudy and grainy. If you want these oils to sustain their consistency and color, the recommended storage location is a place with room temperature.

 However, you should also note that olive oil can depreciate in quality rapidly when stored in places with high temperatures or exposed to sunlight. Storing it in a cool, dark place such as the cupboard or shelf in the kitchen is better than leaving it on top of the shelf, drawer, cabinet, or table.

Nuts

variety of brown nuts on brown wooden panel high angle photo
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Although temperatures of a lesser degree may help sustain the natural oils in nuts, the cold can also affect or alter their flavor. If you desire to make use of them soon, it’s best to keep nuts in a container in the pantry where air doesn’t circulate or reach. The location doesn’t have to be too warm as well.

On the other hand, if you want the nuts to last longer and don’t plan to use them until further notice, keep them in the refrigerator.

Mangoes (unripe)

assorted color mangoes
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Like avocados, unripe mangoes should be kept or stored at room temperature because low temperatures slow the ripening process. They can be stored in a plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator once ripened.

Honey

honey on white bowl
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It doesn’t matter where you keep honey since it lasts for long irrespective of storage location. While honey is on this list for a different reason from longevity or duration. Honey shouldn’t be stored in the refrigerator for the simple reason that the low temperatures will cause it to solidify and crystallize.

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So unless you want to struggle with your honey, you should leave it in its gooey, paste-like form.

Coffee

white ceramic mug with coffee
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Coffee, by default, absorbs the smell of the ingredients surrounding it. This means that storing it in the refrigerator can impair its flavor. The coffee will absorb the smells of other food in the fridge. Instead, it should be stored in a closed container and placed in a place that is not prone to sunlight and is at room temperature.

This ensures your coffee sustains its freshness until when you are ready to brew it.

Onions

bowl with fresh onions on marble table
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Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Whole onions that haven’t been peeled or sliced should preferably be stored in a place with room temperature, away from the light. Onions contain starch, so they will likely become damp and soggy and eventually rot if stored in the refrigerator for too long. So if you must store cut onions in your refrigerator, do well to seal them in a moisture-free container.

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Avocados (Unripe)

Types of Avocados
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If you want your avocados to ripen, they should be kept far away from the fridge for a period ranging between four and seven days. Freezing them will only lengthen the ripening process and can trigger them to go off more rapidly. Once they have ripened, they can be stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat them.

Potatoes

photo of potatoes on a fabric
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Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

Potatoes are foods you should never store in the refrigerator. Low temperatures convert the starch in potatoes to sugar. This chemical metamorphosis can make your potato discolored and without taste. Potatoes should be kept, without being washed, in a place that’s not prone to sunlight. If you can lay your hand on a burlap sack, store them in it.

Pumpkin

orange pumpkins on wooden plank
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Pumpkins should preferably be left exposed to sunlight to sustain their freshness or toughen their skin. This process is known as “curing.” Once this has been done and accomplished, they can now be kept in a place away from sunlight.

The location should also be devoid of moisture and have good air circulation, which is no colder than 10°C (50°F).

However, storing them in the refrigerator will trigger them to turn faster. Cured and well-kept pumpkins can last as long as six months.

Cakes

sliced cake on plate
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Your cake tends to have a taste that’s way better when it’s not very cold. If you want to preserve the freshness of your cake, it’s best to keep it in a container that keeps air out for a period ranging from three to seven days. Anyways, if the cake is filled with cream or has cream toppings, refrigerating it should be the best.

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Butternut squash

Butternut squash
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The refrigerator’s moisture can affect the butternut squash’s quality and cause it to go off quickly. If you want to store a whole squash, keep it on a shelf or table at room temperature. Once it’s cut, you can store it in the refrigerator, in form or cubes for not more than four days.

Hot sauce

Hot sauce
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Storing hot sauce in your refrigerator is unnecessary, simply because this sauce is usually rich in vinegar. Vinegar usually inhibits the growth of bacteria. Like other foods, the chili’s hotness will have a more substantial effect if the sauce is stored at room temperature.

Bread

sliced bread on gray surface
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If you intend to consume all your bread within a few days, you shouldn’t store it in the refrigerator. Like potatoes and sweet potatoes, low temperatures alter bread’s structure, giving it a stale taste. You can only resort to freezing your bread if you don’t intend to use it in the near future. If you want to defrost and refresh frozen bread, simply put it in your toaster or oven.

Peanut butter

person holding stainless steel fork on white and blue ceramic plate
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Peanut butter that has been processed can become very firm and stiff in the fridge, which makes spreading it on your toast a bit problematic. It’s more of a middle ground when it comes to organic peanut butter. The peanut spread can last longer when stored in the fridge, but it will be at the cost of its oil separation.

At lower temperatures, it’s less comfortable to stir the product back to its proper consistency. If you intend to eat it within a period of six to nine months, it is safe if stored away from the fridge.

Dried fruits

Dried fruits
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Storing dried fruits in your refrigerator will only give it unwanted moisture. They are best secured in places that are void of moisture, away from sunlight and air.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes
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Similar to potatoes, keeping sweet potatoes in the refrigerator will alter the chemical composition of the vegetable. This will damage or impair its texture and flavor. Sweet potatoes should be kept in a cupboard or pantry, with good air circulation, room temperature, and not prone or exposed to sunlight.

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Aubergines

crop harvester with fresh eggplants in box
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Photo by Zen Chung on Pexels.com

Neither the refrigerator nor a very warm place is the ideal storage location for an aubergine unless you want them to get wrinkled and dry. So somewhere in between is the perfect location for this food. The recommended place will be a place of room temperature, away from direct sunlight.

Chocolate

Chocolate
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The refrigerator is possibly the worst place to store your bar or box of chocolates. The low temperature and moisture of the refrigerator can alter the taste, color, and texture. Chocolate, particularly cocoa butter, also tends to absorb other foods’ aroma nearby.

The best thing is to keep it away from other pungent or aromatic ingredients. Instead, secure your chocolate in a place devoid of moisture and away from the sunlight. Store in an airtight container if you’ve already broken into it.

Melons

Melons
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Unripe melons can be preserved in the cupboard or shelf. There’s just minimal effect pertaining to the freshness, besides leaving such a large fruit out of the refrigerator saves you a lot of space. Sliced melons should be sealed and preserved in the refrigerator.

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Bananas

ripe bananas on green surface
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Banana is the kind of food that requires a temperature within the range of 15 to 20°C (59-68°F), for it to ripen properly. However, the ripening process is stopped or paused when the banana is stored in the refrigerator. Plus, the skin might gradually blacken due to the effect the low temperature has on the fruit’s cell walls.

Pastries

various tasty pastry placed on counter
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To get the best out of pastries, they are best stored in wraps in paper bags and preserved in a place with room temperature. Storing your pastries in the refrigerator will expose them to moisture, alternating their texture and rendering them soggy and limp.

Salad dressing

Salad dressing
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Many salad dressings are either vinegar or oil-based, so it will be just fine if kept in the cupboard for a few days. Only dressings with cream should be kept in the refrigerator.

Peaches

ripe peach with fork on draped fabric
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It’s best to keep peaches away from the refrigerator when they are not ripe or ready to be eaten. It’s not a good idea to keep fresh peaches away from the fridge.

Similar to several other stone fruits, very low temperatures inhibit the ripening process, which means it will take longer before you can eat the peach.

Storing it in the fridge only makes it exposed to a higher risk of rotting. Keep them on the countertop instead and only resort to refrigerating if they’re about ready to be dug into.

Chocolate spread

Chocolate spread
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This delicious and tasty condiment is a delight on toast. Still, when stored at low temperatures, it becomes a lot more difficult to spread. The chocolate flavor tends to come out better when the jar is kept at room temperature. So ensure the lid is airtight and store it in your cupboard or pantry.

Syrup

Maple syrup
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It is convenient to keep your syrup in the cupboard if you spend time, say a few months to consume a jar of it. Because most syrups are made of a low quantity of water and high sugar concentration, including golden and maple syrups, they are best stored away from the refrigerator.

At low temperatures, syrups tend to become solidified, which isn’t recommended if you plan to pour them over pancakes.

Champagne

people toasting wine glasses
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If you don’t intend to open a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine within five days, don’t store it in the refrigerator. This is because the alternating temperature of the door opening and closing will impair its taste. Champagne is best preserved on its side, in a dark place with a constant temperature. You can then keep it in the fridge a few hours before you open it.

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Tomato ketchup

Tomato ketchup
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It’s frequently argued whether ketchup should be kept in the cupboard or refrigerator. Anyways, bottled ketchup has been in the market and stored before the fridge was introduced as a household item. Ketchup has a rich level of vinegar, salt and sugar content. This makes it okay to preserve it at room temperature without it rotting.

Citrus fruits

Citrus-fruits
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If you didn’t know, citrus fruits are more succulent, and they taste better when stored at room temperatures. Keep citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, grapefruit, and oranges in a cool, dry place and ensure you eat them within a few weeks. If you intend to store them for a longer time, preserve them in a plastic bag in the fridge crisper drawer.

Pickled vegetables

Pickled vegetables
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As long as you’ve not tainted the jar with a filthy spoon, the chemicals meant for preservation being used in processed pickles mean they should last well enough in the cupboard or shelf. It frees up much-needed space in the refrigerator. Ensure the lid is airtight, view the use-by date, and any particular instructions on the label.

However, if you are keeping fermented pickles or you’ve pickled your vegetables, these are best stored in the refrigerator.

Soy sauce

Soy sauce
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Although storing bottled soy sauce in the fridge may be stated on the labels. Still, food outlets usually leave the condiment on the tables all day. This shows that it can be kept at room temperature for as long as six months due to the high salt content.

Fresh soft herbs

Coriander
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Soft herbs such as basil, coriander, mint, parsley, and dill should be handled like bunches of flowers. They should be cut and stored in a glass with fresh water. Storing these herbs in the refrigerator will cause the leaves to become soggy and bend over rapidly.

However, hard herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage, and oregano can be wrapped in a paper towel and preserved in an airtight container in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer.

Dried spices

Dried spices
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Dried spices and refrigerators should never even be in the same sentence. Unwanted moisture is sure to be on your “dried” spices each time you store them in your fridge. To prolong shelf life, store your dried spices in a place that’s devoid of moisture and away from direct sunlight. They do not need the heat, and please do not leave it stored away for more than a year, though.

Jam

Jam
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As long as your jam is well sealed inside a sterilized jar, it can be kept away from the refrigerator for as long as two years. Once that jar is open for use, it should be stored inside the refrigerator to avoid mold development. However, always ensure you check the label on individual jam jars if you’re not sure.

Butter

Butter
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Refrigerated butter is almost unspreadable, so you should opt for a covered dish or plate on a worktop for preserving your butter, preferably for a day or two. The butter should be stored in a cooler place if you don’t want it to melt or develop an unpleasant odor.

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Keep away from direct sunlight exposure during the summer season. However, if you don’t plan to use your butter for the next few days, you can store it in the fridge.

Eggs

crop unrecognizable woman beating eggs with mixer
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Photo by Katerina Holmes on Pexels.com

Eggs may seem like a surprising entry on this list because you believe the fridge is the best storage location for your eggs. In the US, the fridge is the ideal place for your eggs because they are sterilized and must be cooled to prevent them from returning to their previous state.

In Europe, your eggs should not be refrigerated. This is because they are not sterilized, and their shell is an effective barrier.

Foods You Should Never Store in the Refrigerator
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Oluwafemi Michael
Oluwafemi Michael is an online Mental Health Therapist, Advocate for Mental Health Awareness, a programmer, and also a content creator from Edo state, Akoko-Edo LG.
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