Buying groceries is only half of pantry-keeping. Any person who buys their own groceries knows that storage is just as important as procuring them. We’ve found ourselves asking, “How far off the floor should food be stored?” or, “Do apples go in the fridge?” And these are all valid questions among the others that confused us at first. You may also be wondering about fruit and vegetable storage.
Storing fruit and vegetables without refrigeration or other kinds of food is the knowledge that all of us should possess. So here is a list of the most common foodstuff and how to shelf them.
Vegetable storage is tricky. Although putting these guys in the fridge may also be tempting, potatoes are another thing that does better in the pantry.
While it is best to keep them in a cool, dark place (preferably in a paper rather than a plastic bag), the more extreme cold in a refrigerator turns the starches in a potato into sugar more quickly.
This will ruin their taste and texture, resulting in a bad experience all the way around.
Garlic Vegetable Storage
Just like onions, garlic does not respond all that well to being in the fridge (after all, onions and garlic are in the same family of alliums).
If you store garlic in the fridge, the colder temperatures will encourage it to sprout—and as anyone who frequently cooks with garlic knows, sprouted garlic is no good for seasoning your meals. To keep it fresher for longer, keep it in a cool and dry place.
This one is one of the more shocking items on the list. After all, it seems natural that the cooler temperatures would stop your bread from decomposing more quickly, right? Although there may be some truth to that, the fridge will also dry your bread out more quickly, making it way less delicious than it should be.
Unless you plan on using all of the bread in a few days, keep it out on the counter or in the freezer for longer-term storage.
Although it seems like common sense to put tomatoes in the fridge, the truth is that they would do better out on the counter!
Although they don’t respond to extreme temperatures of any kind, the cold in the fridge is particularly bad for breaking the fruit down and slowing the ripening process.
As it turns out, letting your tomatoes get riper and riper is what ends up giving them all their flavor.
How to Store Coffee Beans
Do you know how to store coffee beans? Clue, definitely not in the fridge or freezer.
As it turns out, sometimes it’s better to keep it tightly sealed in the pantry to maintain its flavor and strength.
While the freezer may be acceptable when it comes to keeping your coffee fresh long-term, keeping it out may be a better choice in some cases.
Alright, so most of us who use olive oil a lot in our cooking know that it’s not best to keep our bottles in the fridge.
For the rest of you, consider this a warning! Olive oil is a more delicate substance than many people may know, as it turns out.
For ideal storage, keep it in a cool, dry, and dark place. For bonus points, try to keep the actual liquid itself away from too much contact with sunlight, which will turn it rancid more quickly (dark glass bottles are always beneficial).
Mangoes and Kiwis
Mangoes and kiwis are both tropical fruits that are used too much in warmer climates. Despite knowing this, our instinct tends to be to throw them in the fridge with all the other fruits and veggies that may be in there.
Like the above, mangoes and kiwis are relatively delicate and can be damaged by extreme cold. Once again, skip the fridge and keep them in a cool and dry place instead.
Does honey need to be refrigerated? Similar to olive oil, the texture of honey makes it a bad candidate for the refrigerator.
When stored in the cupboard or the pantry, honey will keep a nice, flowy texture that we all know in love.
If it’s stored in the fridge, it will become thicker and almost dough-like, rendering it virtually useless. Finally, honey is a naturally self-preserving food—just make sure to keep it tightly sealed and you can use it almost forever.
Blueberries and strawberries are delicious and healthy additions to any meal.
Still, keeping them in your fruit drawer is not the right move. As it turns out, the extreme cold of the fridge will make your berries grow mold and rot more quickly than if they were kept in a dry, clean place on your counter. Who knew?
This is another one where it doesn’t necessarily harm the peanut butter to put it in the fridge, but it’s also not a particularly good idea. Because of its overall composition, peanut butter does a pretty good job at preserving itself when it’s kept in a cool and dry place with a tightly sealed container.
In the fridge, it takes up extra room and gets thicker and harder to spread. Over time, the fridge may even dry out your peanut butter, making it unusable—so it’s best to avoid it altogether.
Do Apples Go in the Fridge
Apples are another common one that people tend to fill the fridge with. Fortunately, these All-American fruits do not need to be kept there at all.
Although they may last a little longer in the fridge than at room temperature, they should still be fine for up to two weeks without being refrigerated.
Just make sure you’re eating your fruit in a timely manner and you should be good to go.
Oranges, Limes, and Lemons
Seems like a good idea to keep these kinds of fruits in the fridge, right? As it turns out, cold is not the best environment for citrus fruits. Because they need a natural temperature for ripening, keeping them in the fridge slows and prevents this process—and the chill can even damage the inside of the fruit as well.
To best preserve these fruits and their flavors, keep them in a bowl somewhere at room temperature.
Although this one seems like another one that would do well with cold temperatures, it may be unnecessary.
Like some of the other vegetables we’ve listed here, keeping peppers in the fridge can actually dull their color, damage their nutrients, and affect their taste overall. Instead of doing all that, just be sure to keep them in a cool and dry place. That’s how you do pepper vegetable storage right.
Jelly and Jam
Although this one seems like it could be ripe for spoilage, jelly and jam are actually mostly self-preserving.
After all, people have been preserving their own jellies for a long time! Put them in the pantry to save room in your fridge. But make sure you’re being careful with the jam once it’s out!
Be sure never to double-dip in the jam to avoid adding germs to it. If you accidentally contaminate your jelly or jam, it’ll go bad whether it’s in the fridge or not!
How many of these tips debunked your first ideas of vegetable storage? Luckily, with this knowledge, you can now store your food and give them a better shelf life while keeping them fresh and safe to eat.