Here Are 20 Food Items That You Should Never Put In The Refrigerator


Ketchup is cool to be kept in the refrigerator, right? And everybody knows that garlic and onions stay fresher for longer if they are allowed to chill, don’t they? Well, in actual fact, it turns out that many of us have been stacking the shelves of our fridges with all the wrong ingredients. After you finish and reflect on this article about refrigerator management, you will never look at your groceries in quite the same way again.

Image: Sarah Shaffer

20. Bananas lose their appeal

While it may seem like a good idea to place your fresh bunch of bananas straight in the chiller – think twice before you do. If the fruit is still a bit green then refrigerating the bananas will not allow them to yellow and ripen. Instead, they will turn black and go mushy. However, once they are a healthy yellow, racking them in the refrigerator is fine.

Image: Amelia Bartlett

19. Honey is not so sweet

Most of us are sweet on a bit of honey spread onto a warm piece of toast, or perhaps a generous dollop on top of a hearty bowl of porridge. But there are few things more calamitous in the kitchen than honey which has turned granular and gritty. To avoid this horrible fate, keep your honey away from the refrigerator and things should run smoothly.

Image: Jennifer Pallian

18. Bar chocolate

Want to ruin a perfectly good piece of chocolate? Try sticking your favorite bar on a shelf in the fridge. Leave it long enough, and the confectionary could develop a strange coating once it is exposed to room temperature again. This change in atmosphere may even cause the candy to be adversely altered in texture and taste.

Image: Roberta Sorge

17. Olive oil under a cloud


Foodies should face a dressing down for even thinking about putting olive oil in the fridge. At chilled temperatures, the foodstuff becomes cloudy and its texture turns thicker – almost butter-like in fact. Instead, the best way to store olive oil is in a cool and dark area, otherwise known as a cupboard. It’s like a refrigerator, but you don’t have to plug it in.

Image: Lars Blankers

16. Potatoes are no-nos

The refrigerated storage solution for the humble spud is a real no-no. In fact, shelving them in the icebox could make you seriously sick. It turns out that the starch in potatoes turns to sugar when the vegetables are kept in a fridge climate. And when these cooler-stored taters are cooked by being baked, roasted or fried, a worrying chemical reaction occurs. The refrigerator-generated sugar mixes with an acid to create the chemical acrylamide – a substance considered harmful to humans by the World Health Organization.

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15. Spread the word about peanut butter


This nuttily enjoyable spreadable treat is another food that needs to be kept in the kitchen cupboard. Put peanut butter anywhere near the fridge and it will turn hard and very difficult to spread. However, it should be borne in mind that some totally organic peanut butters tend to separate if not kept cool enough.

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14. Coffee to go

If you keep your coffee container in the refrigerator, you are probably in the minority to start with. Nevertheless, there is a serious reason why you should avoid housing your joe in the cooler. Coffee beans may taste great but they are also great at absorbing the aromas of whatever is close to them. So to avoid the beans becoming too much like any other strong flavor in the fridge, they need to be stored in an airtight jar in a convenient cupboard.

Image: Heather Seymour

13. Hold the garlic


A little garlic goes a long way when it comes to shelf life. Indeed, it may seem like a good idea to keep your cloves in the fridge for freshness, but it is actually not necessary. All you really need to do is keep your garlic bulbs somewhere well ventilated and dry.

Image: Thomas Martinsen

12. Know your onions

And the same goes for garlic’s big brother, the ever-dependable onion. Ideally, you should keep these vegetables in the dark, so that they do not begin to sprout. And, if you have had onions in the fridge for any length of time, there is the danger that they could make all the other chilled contents taste a little funky.

Image: AI Feng Hsiung

11. Melons are cool enough


Before you first cut your juicy melon open, there is actually no need for the fruit to take up valuable space in the fridge. After all, Mother Nature is best when it comes to food packaging. Nevertheless, once the melon has been sliced, it is a good idea to keep it refrigerated, and preferably wrapped in cling film for extra freshness.

Image: Mike Kenneally

10. Bin the bread

There are few worse starts to the day than reaching for the bread in the morning and realizing that it is too stale to eat. But while you may think that keeping the daily staple in the refrigerator will make the bread last longer, the reality is different. In fact, the cool temperature of the fridge interior dries the loaf out far quicker than if it had been stored in a bread bin.

Image: Rob Pumphrey

9. Banish the basil


Just like coffee beans, basil also takes on smells from surrounding foodstuffs and has its own flavor compromised. With that in mind, it is best to keep the sensitive herb away from the strong aromas which are often accommodated in the cooler. The chill of a refrigerator will also make the basil leaves droop.

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8. Exit the eggplant

Strangely enough, scientific research shows that keeping eggplants at cooler temperatures can have adverse affects on the vegetable’s taste and texture. So, in order to keep your eggplants deliciously excellent, make sure to store the purple produce at room temperature only.

Image: Jonathan Forage

7. Soy sauce code


Next time you consider packing your soy sauce bottle into your over-crowded fridge, think again. There is absolutely no reason for the condiment to occupy premium space inside your chiller. Soy sauce only needs to be kept somewhere relatively cool – but not in direct sunlight which can dilute the flavor.

Image: Charisse Kenion

6. Ketchup controversy

Introducing perhaps the most divisive culinary question of them all. Ketchup – to fridge or not to fridge? Well, technically, confining the condiment to the cooler is by no means essential. It turns out that there are plenty of preservatives packed inside ketchup to keep the red stuff from going rank when outside the refrigerator.

Image: Naomi Koelemans

5. Squeeze out the orange


Another item which segments foodie debaters on whether or not the refrigerator is a friendly environment is the orange. Some insist that since oranges are rich in acidity, it is not a good idea to fridge the fruit. They argue that the cold climes tend to damage the citrus crop, and point to the thick skin of oranges as being proof that they can cope with warm temperatures.

Image: Chinh Le Duc

4. Tasteless tomatoes

This one may come as a surprise, but tomatoes are far better off out of the refrigerator. Leave the salad fruits on the kitchen counter, and they will retain all their delicious flavor and mouth feel. Cast them into the icebox, and the poor tomatoes will wind up all watery and tasteless.

Image: Charles Deluvio

3. Avocado ripe for change


If you want your avocado to ripen, then forsaking it to the fridge won’t do you any favors. The cool interior of the refrigerator actually retards the ripening of the fruit. Instead, you should bag up the avocado in brown paper to speed up the process. Better still, leave it next to a bunch of bananas and watch Mother Nature work her magic.

Image: Jonathan Pielmayer

2. In a pickle – out the fridge

The clue is in the name with this one as far as successful storage goes. Pickles simply do not need to be kept in the fridge because the very nature of the process they have been through. Indeed, pickling produce was one of mankind’s earliest methods of preserving foodstuffs. The amount of salt in the jar alone, means that pickles will be perfectly fine at room temperature.

Image: Harshal S. Hirve

1. Cool as a cucumber


You may think that refrigerating cucumbers will help retain their coolness and make them refreshing to eat. However, food experts say that excessively cold temperatures can damage the outer layer of the vegetable. In any case, when kept out of direct sunlight, cucumbers can last about a week in the kitchen.