Foods That Should Never Be Put in the Refrigerator

The natural next step to buying groceries and other food products is putting them in the fridge. And why not? Putting food items in the refrigerator is one of the best ways to keep food from spoiling. However, there are certain foods that don’t belong in cold places since extreme temperatures either discolor the food or accelerate spoilage. This list will show you which food items should be stored outside of the refrigerator and why.

1. Whole Melons

Refrigerators can stunt the growth of naturally forming antioxidants in certain foods. For example, in melons, a USDA study found that refrigerated melons had less than half the antioxidant levels than their non-refrigerated counterparts. The cold air in a refrigerator prevents antioxidants from developing after harvesting.

2. Bananas

It’s commonly known that cold temperatures can slow down the ripening process of fruits. Bananas should be bought before they’re completely ripe and left to mature on your countertop and not in the fridge. In fact, refrigerators can accelerate rotting in bananas.

3. Basil

This tropical plant should be stored in places in your home that are at least 40 degrees F. Anywhere below this sweet spot will blacken the beautiful green leaves of your basil. Keep the stems of your basil submerged in a little bit of water and left to sit in a shady part of your kitchen.

4. Potatoes

The cold climate in your refrigerator will convert the potato’s starch into sugar much quicker than you’d like. After purchasing potatoes, it’s recommended that you remove them immediately from their sack or plastic bag then store them in a cool, dark place in your kitchen.

5. Onions

Onions require proper air circulation to retain their freshness. Store them in paper bags with enough holes in them to let your onions breathe. In addition, keep them away from potatoes since onions release a gas that accelerates the potatoes’ aging process.

6. Tomatoes

This can be quite tricky since some people like cold tomatoes on their sandwiches. If you do store tomatoes in the fridge, be sure to increase your refrigerator’s internal temperature. This will prevent the formation of crystals within the tomato which gives it a grainy, nasty texture.

7. Avocados

It’s always best to buy an avocado just before it’s completely ripe. However, don’t let it ripen in the fridge since the cold temperature will impede the ripening process. Leave it on your kitchen counter to ripen, and only put it in the fridge when it’s completely ripe.

8. Coffee

Coffee should never EVER be stored in the fridge, whether it’s in bean form or already pulverized into a fine powder. Coffee needs circulation and dry air to remain fresh for longer. Keep your coffee in an airtight container away from sunlight and moisture.

9. Garlic

Surprisingly, if you place garlic in a refrigerator, it’ll sprout. Mold will also develop on the skin and inner layers of the garlic bulb. Furthermore, cold temperatures will keep visible signs of rotting within the casing, so it’ll be practically near impossible to know whether the garlic is rotten just by looks alone.

10. Hot Sauce

Hot sauce is made with vinegar and preservatives that prevent bacteria and mold growth. Putting it in the fridge won’t accelerate the spoiling process, but it’ll dampen the sharp, spicy taste of your favorite hot sauce. Keep a bottle of hot sauce in a pantry or on your kitchen counter away from direct sunlight.

11. Bread

Refrigerators can make your bread look and feel older than it is. Cold air causes bread to become stale. The only time you should put bread in the fridge is when it’s in sandwich form, but even then it should be sealed in plastic or a container to stop it from becoming stale.

12. Oils

Oil, a fat, will solidify when left in the fridge. This is common with coconut and olive oils, though essentially any oil will turn hard when left in an extremely cold place. If you ever make the mistake of leaving an oil in the fridge, simply plop some of it out and microwave for a few seconds to return it to its liquid consistency.

13. Honey

Honey is a magical super-food that can last for thousands of years if left in an airtight jar. However, putting a jar of this natural sweetener in the fridge will cause crystallization, giving it a dough-like texture that’s hard to scoop.

14. Pumpkin

Never leave fresh, raw pumpkin in the fridge unless you plan on using it within the next two to three days. Canned pumpkin puree can be placed in the fridge, but it’s more common to put it in a shelf away from cold air and sunlight.

15. Apricots, Kiwi, Peaches, and Mangoes

Just like melons and tomatoes, if these fruits are left in the fridge, they’ll begin to lose their nutrients and develop crystals that turn the fruit into mush. Leave these fruits on your countertop away from moisture and sunlight.

16. Peanut Butter

Unless you like hard-to-scoop peanut butter that tears through toast, feel free to leave a jar of this good stuff in your fridge. It would be better to place this sweet and salty spread in a cabinet or on your countertop.

17. Flour

There won’t be any damage to your flour if left in the fridge, though you can rest assured that this basic ingredient will do just fine anywhere else. Save some space in your fridge by taking your flour out and putting it in an airtight container on your counter.

18. Pickles

Like hot sauce, the vinegar used to brine pickles act as a preservative that prolongs the life of the jar’s contents. Leaving pickles in a cabinet won’t ruin the texture, but if you like cold pickles on your sandwich, leave them in the fridge for a couple minutes before serving.

19. Soy Sauce

Unless you have low sodium soy sauce, it doesn’t belong in the refrigerator. The ingredients used to make soy sauce have natural antibacterial properties which extend the shelf life of your sauce.

20. Eggs

Whether you should put your eggs in the fridge is still debatable. On one hand, leaving it in a room temperature area of your home will preserve its flavor and texture, whereas keeping it in the fridge will significantly grant it a longer life before spoilage.

21. Beef Jerky

Jerky is only jerky because most of the moisture content has been removed. Placing this salty snack in the fridge will only introduce moisture back into the meat, changing its texture and taste. If opened, beef jerky will retain its chewiness and flavor for about a week in room temperature.

22. Salad

Your salad can do fine in room temperature for a couple of hours before wilting. It’s not advised to make salads too far in advance and only portion it out depending on how much you and your guests can eat. If salad is already dressed, there’s no hope for extending its life beyond the wilting point.

23. Peppers

Legend says that keeping peppers in the fridge will give it an extra crispiness and enhance its spiciness, but in fact, the cold will tone down its spice factor and does nothing to improve its snap. Keep peppers in a plastic or paper bag and place it in a dry place.

24. Ketchup

One of the most active ingredients in ketchup is vinegar which helps in the fight against spoilage-inducing bacteria. Your ketchup will last for several weeks without cold air. In addition, the cold air will reduce the risk of your ketchup developing that gross runny ketchup water that everybody hates.

25. Pears

Though most people love their fruits cold, you’re not doing yourself any favors by putting pears in the fridge. The cold air will destroy the fruit’s crispiness, turning it into a mushy mess that you’d end up throwing away.


26. Canned Tuna

An unopened can of tuna won’t rot if left outside of your fridge. The juices that coat and saturate the flaky meat keep it well-preserved and able to provide flavor for many years. If you open your can of tuna, if left undressed (e.g. not in a salad or smothered in mayonnaise) it should last for a couple of days outside of the fridge.

27. Spices

Most ground spices will last for several years without being stored in your fridge. The flavor of spices such as cinnamon and cayenne powder will lose its edge the longer it’s left in your fridge. In addition, their aromas will disappear as they slowly absorb the smells of whatever leftover meals you keep in the fridge.

28. Cucumber

Some like it cold, some like it at room temperature. Whatever the case, never store cucumbers in the fridge for long periods. Cold air will trigger the decaying process, and the cucumber’s skin will be the first to go. Keep cucumbers in a cool, dry place and you should be good for several days.

29. Apples

Keeping apples in a room temperature area will be fine for one to two weeks. Placing them in your fridge will ruin the texture, flavor, and smell of the red delicious.

30. Carrots

Like cucumbers, cold air will accelerate the rotting process of carrots. The water content in carrots will begin to go bad, reducing its shelf life from weeks at room temperature to only days in the fridge.

31. Cereal

Whether you’re eating healthy cereals or the junky variety, you shouldn’t put them in the fridge. After opening a cereal box, simply roll up the plastic casing to prevent air from causing the contents to lose their crunch. In addition to cereal absorbing the moisture in your fridge, they’ll also absorb any smells of everything in the refrigerator.

32. Butternut Squash

The humidity in your fridge can accelerate the spoiling process of butternut squash, even if it’s whole. The squash should be placed in dry areas, away from direct sunlight, and at room temperature. Anything too cold or too hot will destroy the vegetable.

33. Tropical Fruits

Tropical fruits like mangos, passion fruit, and coconut all have one thing in common: they are grown in places with warm climates. These fruits will retain their moisture and texture when left on your countertop but putting them in the fridge can ruin it all. Keep them wrapped in plastic or paper bags to prevent fruit flies from attacking your fruits.

34. Butter

Unless a recipe calls for chilled or frozen butter, it’s best to leave it out at room temperature. Butter can absorb moisture and odors floating around in your fridge, causing it to change in flavor become waxy. If you need to keep it chilled in the fridge, be sure that it’s properly covered. The casing that it comes in – aluminum or parchment paper – will be fine in preserving its smell and taste.

35. Yogurt

Yogurt admittedly tastes significantly better when its ice cold than lukewarm yogurt but keeping it in the fridge won’t do anything to extend its life. The yogurt we’re talking about is the healthy variety – full-fat Greek yogurt – which comes with beneficial bacteria that not only helps your digestion but the yogurt from spoiling.

36. Cheese


By cheese we mean the real deal, not that sliced atrocity that can’t legally be called “cheese.” Cheese should be kept as dry as possible to prevent premature spoilage. As you already know, refrigerators produce a ton of moisture, and an improperly wrapped block or wedge of cheese will soon grow its own spore colony if left in the fridge for too long.

37. Citrus

Even though orange juice tastes great ice cold, fresh citrus fruits should be kept away from your refrigerator at all times. Citrus fruits are grown in warm climates, and the heat of your kitchen will help with the ripening process. Putting them in the fridge can cause them to become hard and bitter.

38. Chocolate

Next time you go shopping, pay attention to the placement of chocolate candies. Are they in refrigerated areas or not? They’re most likely not, and the reason is that cold temperatures can alter the flavor and texture of the sweet delight. Making chocolate involves a heating and cooling process, and overcooling the candy can ruin its crystals and sheen.

39. Jam

Store-bought jelly and jam are packed with preservatives, making the cold within your refrigerator redundant in preventing them from spoiling. Cold jelly might be a nice addition to warm toast, but the moisture in your fridge will seep through the jam jar’s lid, creating a runny liquid on the surface of the jam.

40. Salad Dressing and Vinaigrette

Salad dressing’s and vinaigrette’s main ingredients are oil and vinegar, two ingredients that can sustain outside of the fridge. Not only will salad dressing take up space in your fridge, but the cold can cause the oil content so solidify, creating chunks of fat that taste terrible.

41. Eggplant

Eggplant is a temperature-sensitive vegetable whose texture and flavor can be altered by minor changes in temperature. When placed in storage spaces below 50°F, their crunchy texture will begin to wilt, making them practically undesirable. Eggplant should be stored in dark spaces and at room temperature.

42. Pineapple

Pineapple is unique in the sense that it will not continue to ripen after being harvested. This makes keeping them in the fridge just a big waste of space. However, there are times when keeping pineapple in the fridge are appropriate, such as if you don’t plan on using the fruit within three days after purchase. Before the three-day mark, store the fruit in a sun-free space in your kitchen.

43. Papaya

Like many other fruits grown exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere, keeping papaya in the fridge will prolong its ripening process. In fact, the sensitive texture of papaya is easily ruined by cold temps, so be sure to leave it on your kitchen counter and away from direct sunlight.

45. Nuts

Keeping nuts in cold temperatures will cause them to lose their nuttiness. In fact, extreme cold and heat can ruin the texture and flavor of nuts. Keep them out of direct sunlight and in air-proof jars or bags in your pantry.

47. Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

When you hear chocolate hazelnut spread, one brand comes to mind: Nutella. The choco-hazelnut spread doesn’t need to be left in the fridge. In fact, if you plan on spreading it on toast, cold Nutella might cause you to tear through the crispy toast. Leaving Nutella on your countertop and away from sunlight will be just fine.

47. Cake

Cake must be kept in an airtight container at room temperature to prevent it from going bad and stale. This means it doesn’t belong in the fridge. However, there’s an exception: if the cake is frosted, it absolutely needs to be chilled in a fridge since warm temperatures can cause the frosting to go sour.

48. Berries

Like so many fruits, the countdown of a berry’s expiration date begins as soon as it’s plucked from the field. Putting it in the fridge won’t do anything to prevent spoilage. In fact, the humidity in your fridge will accelerate the growth of mold.


49. Dried Fruit

Dehydrating fruit is done not just to intensify its natural flavor but to also keep it from going bad. There’s absolutely no point in putting dried peaches, cranberries, dates, raisins, etc. in your fridge. Plus, the cold will make the fruit hard, requiring jaws of steel to tear through.

50. Mint

Like basil, mint doesn’t fare well in the cold. Low temperatures plus moisture will help the growth of mold on mint sprigs, making them unusable in a fairly short amount of time. Instead, place them in airtight containers or jars and store them in dark, room temperature places.



Kubumedia Magazine | South Africa | International News online magazine

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