Out cold: 20 foods you shouldn't refrigerate
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Out cold: 20 foods you shouldn't refrigerate

It’s easy to associate refrigerators with extending the life of foods in most cases, it does! However, some foods don’t require refrigeration (or don’t require it at first) and will just be taking up space. Some foods will have their taste or texture affected by cooler temperatures. And other foods may even spoil quicker in the fridge. Here are 20 foods you shouldn’t refrigerate.

 
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Avocados

Avocados
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Storing your avocados in the refrigerator will prevent them from fully ripening and affect the flavor, so you only want to store them in the fridge if they’re fully ripe and you need an extra day or two. You can also store a cut avocado in the fridge, but otherwise, keep them on the counter.

 
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Bananas

Bananas
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Refrigeration is confusing to bananas; the banana stops ripening in the fridge, but the outside gets darker quicker. Keep bananas ripening properly by keeping them at room temperature. If you want your bananas to ripen slower, wrap the tops in plastic wrap. If you want them to ripen faster, put them inside a loosely folded paper bag.

 
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Bread

Bread
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Yes, bread is less likely to get moldy in the fridge...but at what cost?! Refrigerated bread will dry out and get stale in the fridge, so you’re better off eating it fresh or sticking it in the freezer (in a freezer-safe container).

 
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Butternut squash

Butternut squash
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Butternut squash—but not summer squash—will last around a month in a cool, dark place, so there’s no need to refrigerate them. Once you slice your squash, you should store it in the fridge in an airtight container. Until then, it’s just taking up space.

 
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Cake

Cake
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As dessert-obsessed individuals, we’re protective of our cakes—which is why we implore you to leave your cake out of the fridge, lest it becomes dry and unappetizing. If your cake is of the buttercream, cheesecake, fresh fruit, or mousse varieties, you won’t want to leave it at room temperature for more than a day, but most cakes can be safely stored unrefrigerated for several days or up to a week. Even if you initially need to pop your cake in the fridge for its frosting or icing to harden, you should only chill it for about 15 minutes.

 
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Chocolate

Chocolate
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Do you know how chocolate can turn grey? That’s called “chocolate bloom,” and it happens due to temperature changes that cause sugar crystals to form on the bar’s surface. It’s safe to eat, but can nevertheless adversely affect the taste and texture. Instead, simply keep chocolate cool in a pantry away from sunlight.

 
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Coffee

Coffee
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Although it may seem like a good idea to keep coffee beans or ground coffee in the fridge, it is not advisable for either. The cold won’t help prolong the coffee’s life, the temperature change is not good for the taste, and neither is the fact that the beans/grounds will absorb the other flavors in the fridge. Instead, keep coffee in an airtight, opaque container in a cool, dark place for up to two weeks, and then freeze it.

 
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Cucumber

Cucumber
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Once you cut your cucumber, it needs to go in the fridge (ideally wrapped in a damp paper towel). But until that point, you should leave it out. Cucumbers will last two to three weeks on your counter or in your pantry, but only a week if you immediately put them in the fridge.

 
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Garlic

Garlic
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You buy garlic unrefrigerated, so you’ll want to store it that way, too. Keep the whole bulb at room temperature in your pantry until you’re ready to use some. Then, mince or chop whatever you don’t use, and store that in the fridge in an airtight container.

 
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Hazelnut-cocoa spreads

Hazelnut-cocoa spreads
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You store chocolate pudding, chocolate sauce, and chocolate syrup in the fridge, so why not a chocolate hazelnut spread like Nutella? Because it will harden when chilled, and become frustratingly un-spreadable. If you’ve already refrigerated your Nutella, just put the container in a warm water bath to reverse the damage.

 
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Herbs

Herbs
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Like bread, fresh herbs will also dry out if you store them in the fridge. In fact, the best way to keep them fresh is in a glass of water (stem-side down), on your counter, away from sunlight. Then simply use what you can for about a week, and freeze the rest.

 
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Honey

Honey
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Honey lasts remarkably long—in fact, if properly sealed, it never goes bad. Honey can crystallize, but even that can be remedied by placing the bottle in a bowl of warm water. Refrigeration speeds up the crystallization process, so leave your honey in the pantry.

 
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Hot sauce

Hot sauce
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Take a tip from restaurants and store your hot sauce at room temperature. Vinegar and capsaicin—ingredients in most hot sauces—are inhospitable to bacterial growth, and most sauces are specifically designed for fridgeless storage. If you rarely reach for the hot stuff, keeping it in the fridge will prolong its life, but if you’re a regular user, hot sauce will last at room temp for months or even years.

 
14 of 20

Melon

Melon
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Do you know how grocery stores usually just store melons—cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon—in big piles on the counter? Do that! (But not the big pile part, unless you eat a ton of melon.) Whole melons thrive at room temp in terms of both flavor and keeping antioxidants intact. Once you cut them, they can be safely stored in the fridge.

 
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Oils

Oils
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Avocado, truffle, and sesame oils are all fine in the fridge, but peanut, coconut, canola, and vegetable oils should be kept in the pantry at room temperature. As for olive oil: it’s fine in the pantry as long as your kitchen isn’t especially humid. If it is, store olive oil in the fridge.

 
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Onions

Onions
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Once you dice, mince, or otherwise cut your onion—all types—you’ll want to store it in the fridge. Until then, leave them out! The cooler conditions actually encourage the uncut onion to get moldy, moist, and mushy, ruining it before you even use it!

 
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Peanut butter

Peanut butter
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Doug Heffernan (Kevin James) once admonished Arthur Spooner (Jerry Stiller) for putting peanut butter in the fridge in a 1998 “King of Queens” episode. His reasoning? “Because then it gets hard and I can't spread it without tearing the bread.” Be like Doug, and keep your peanut butter in the pantry, people!

 
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Potatoes

Potatoes
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If you have a hot home, storing potatoes—including sweet potatoes—can present a pickle. (No, not an actual pickle; that would just be weird.) Heat isn’t good for storage, but refrigerating or freezing potatoes isn’t advisable, as the starch will turn into sugar and acrylamide. Your best bet is a slightly cool basement or a pantry at room temp. Just don’t store them near your onions, as these two foods will accelerate each other’s spoilage. Potatoes are pretty picky, eh?

 
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Stone fruit

Stone fruit
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The flesh of stone fruit like cherries, nectarines, peaches, and plums will get mealy and lose its juiciness if put in the fridge too early. Leave them out at room temperature until they’re soft and perfectly ripe—then you have the option to eat or store them in the fridge for a few days.

 
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Tomatoes

Tomatoes
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Until you slice into that juicy tomato, keep it out of the fridge. Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature in order to preserve both the taste and texture, which are adversely impacted by cooler temperatures. If you want them to last longer, simply trim off any excess vines and flip them upside down for storage!

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