To Refrigerate or Not to Refrigerate…that is the question…of any kitchen savvy cook. I like most food cold as opposed to room temperature, but there is scientific reasoning as to the best place to store your food.
Need to Refrigerate:
- Meat, seafood, cheese, and dairy – ALWAYS should be refrigerated to keep it from spoiling.
- Eggs – at least in the United States, eggs should be kept refrigerated as our eggs are processed differently than in Europe.
- Corn – the cold helps the corn keep its natural sweetness prior to cooking.
Better to Not:
- Honey – the cold from the fridge can turn the honey into crystals. It keeps its consistency better at room temperature.
- Avocado, Melon – these can stay room temp to help ripen them. If you’re not going to eat them once they hit their peak ripeness, stick them in the fridge to help slow down that process. Once they are cut they should also be refrigerated.
- Tomatoes – tomatoes in the fridge can develop a soft, mealy texture. The cold also breaks down the tomato and can effect its flavor.
- Coffee – condensation from the fridge can effect the flavor of the beans. It’s better kept in an airtight container.
- Bananas – bananas will not ripen well in the fridge and instead turn brown prematurely.
- Potatoes (and sweet potatoes) – the cold and moisture from the fridge can effect the starches in the potato and change the taste! The will stay firmer at room temperature.
- Onions (shallots and garlic) – the fridge conditions can turn these rubbery. Like potatoes, they’ll stay firmer in a dark, dry place.
- Vinegar based condiments (mustard, ketchup, hot sauce) – the vinegar technically allows them to not be refrigerated. But they do last longer in the fridge, and I personally like these condiments cold.
- High salt based condiments (soy sauce) – the high salt keeps these condiments fresh even outside of the fridge.
- Butter – this tends to be a personal preference. Butter will not last as long at room temperature, but can be easy to use in certain cooking situations. Many keep some in both locations.
- Other fruits (apples, oranges, peaches, etc) – some can ripen faster at room temperature, but neither storing preference effects the consistency or taste of the fruit.
May these tips help keep your food fresh and delicious!
Until next time!