Your refrigerator is a great place to store items that will go bad when they reach room temperature for an extended period of time. Milk, cheese, meat, leftovers, and juices will spoil quickly if you forget to put them back in the chilled environment, but there are some items that you should be leaving on the counter instead! Keep your items fresher for longer just by paying attention to where you are storing them!
Keeping tomatoes in the fridge will cause them to lose that delicious flavor in just a day or two. If you keep them in long enough, even their texture will begin to change! Keep them fresh and ripe by tossing them (gently!) into a basket or container on your counter. Keep them out of direct sunlight, but don’t seal them in a container!
Onions will absorb the flavors and smells around them – it’s just something they do. If you have strange odors in your fridge that even a good scrubbing won’t get rid of, place half an onion facing up on one of the shelves. If you’re planning to eat those onions, store them in a cool and dry place instead of the crisper. Onions kept in the fridge will actually spoil faster and become soft and moldy over time. DO NOT store your onions with your potatoes!
Potatoes should also be kept in a cool and dry place, but they should ALWAYS be separated from your onions! The gasses produced by both of these vegetables will cause the other to spoil twice as fast. Keep them in separate containers or separate storage areas. The temperature in your refrigerator will turn all of that potato starch into sugar. You can store these in a paper bag, just make sure they don’t receive any sunlight!
When you keep garlic in the fridge for a while, the cloves can become rubbery and might even start to mold. As long as they are out of direct sunlight and away from any moisture (don’t store them near your sink!) you can keep them on the counter on in a dark cabinet. You can tell if they are getting moisture if they start sprouting little green stems. If this happens, choose another location!
Unlike most herbs and spices, basil should be kept out of your fridge. The basil will absorb the smells in your fridge and cause it to wilt faster. Have you ever wondered why your basil was turning black only a day or two after storing it in the fridge? That’s why! There are two ways you can store basil to keep that freshness lasting much longer.
First, you can blanch it, dry it, and store it in the freezer. I prefer the second way, personally. Get out a nice vase and fill it about 1/3 with water. Store your basil upright like you would store a bouquet of flowers! The basil will stay fresh for a long time, your kitchen will smell amazing, and it will look cute on your counter! You can keep the bunch covered with a plastic bag if you would like, but keep the bunch out of direct sunlight.
Chilled olive oil will harden and turn into a strange buttery substance that absorbs the smells and tastes of your fridge. It won’t spoil – just keep it on the counter! I use a glass container that has a detachable pour spout – just refill it when it gets empty! Super easy.
If your avocado is not ripe (bright green and firm) do not store it on the counter! Place your avocados in a paper bag and put them under the counter to ripen faster. Leaving them in the fridge will cause them to dry out instead of ripening.
You can store large amounts of coffee in your freezer if you’ve bought it in bulk, but storing coffee in the fridge will cause it to turn bland and lose its delicious aroma! Keep it in a container in a cool and dark place. Usually just a cabinet will do – just not the fridge!
Keeping your honey in a chilly refrigerator will cause it to crystallize and form unbreakable chunks! It’s easier (and tastier!) to store your honey in a jar on the counter! As long as it is tightly sealed, it will stay fresh and pure!
Any bread that you put in your fridge will dry out almost overnight. You can store it in the freezer for months, but for some reason it turns hard and gains a strange died-out taste. If you store your sandwiches in the fridge at work, wrap them in a paper towel before putting them in a plastic baggie. The paper towel will absorb any stray moisture and help your bread to stay fresh for those few hours before you eat it.
This one will depend on the type of hot sauce you buy, but most hot sauces are made with different chilies that will degrade in flavor if they are kept in the fridge. I have several hot sauces that I keep on the counter and only one that belongs in the fridge – but I don’t think that one counts because it is home-made and will start to mold if left on the counter.
Check your refrigerator to see if there are any ingredients that you could be saving money on by keeping them fresher for longer! This list might fluctuate depending on where you live, but generally this is great advice! My favorite tip is the storage for basil – it’s pretty, it smells awesome, and best of all…no more black, soggy leaves!
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