Standard practice today is to keep almost all foods in the refrigerator. Most of the time we don't even think about it, we just put things in the refrigerator, but did you know that many of those things really don't need to go in the refrigerator? Many items are good out on the counter in a bowl, or in the cupboard. Find out which ones!
There are many cases where this is just not necessary, and can even be bad for some things. This applies only to whole and uncut items.
- Tomatoes – You can leave tomatoes out for up to a week with no ill effects, but if you plan to keep them longer than that, you should put them in the fridge. Plan for them to lose some flavor once refrigerated and to get more mushy.
- Peppers – Can be left out in a bowl on the counter for up to a week. Refrigerating actually makes them wrinkle and get soft faster.
- Winter Squash – Will stay good unrefrigerated for weeks or even months, it stored in a cool dry place
- Bread – Refrigerating bread will actually make it go stale faster than putting it in an uncooled bread box. It will, however, get moldly faster, if your house is hot, or if you leave it by the stove or toaster.
- Apples – Uncut apples can be left in a bowl on your counter and will stay good for about a week without refrigeration.
- Melons – This means whole melons only. Putting whole melons in the fridge is unnecessary and does not keep them from going bad any faster than leaving them out
- Butter – if you use butter on a daily basis then leaving it out in a butter dish is perfectly ok. It is pasteurized and salted, so it will not go bad. However if you only use it once a week or so, I would keep it in the fridge.
- Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes – Do not need refrigeration but should be kept in a cool place, keeping them in a spot that is too hot will make them sprout.
- Garlic – Cured after picking, you can keep garlic on the shelf indefinitely, but it will start to dry if you don’t use it for weeks or months.
- Dry Beans – Homegrown beans that you pick and shell, or bags of beans you buy at the grocery store, neither need refrigeration
- Honey - Honey is one of the only foods that never spoils. With time, it crystallizes, but it is still perfectly good to use. Keeping it in the fridge actually speeds up the crystallization process, so keeping it in the cupboard is preferable.
- Avocado - An unripe avocado will never ripen in the refridgerator, put it on the counter and it will ripen quickly.
- Eggplant - Stays good for at least a week in a bowl on your counter
- Peanut Butter - the only peanut butter than needs refrigeration is pure organic.
- Hot Sauce - Even after opening, hot sauce will not spoil for at least three years.
I found that my refrigerator was much less crowded when I “weeded out” the items that did not need to be in there. Give it a try!
Have a great week,