Have you ever thought about which foods should not be refrigerated?
If you buy a refrigerator or fridge, then you must know which food items are better suited for storage and which ones you should avoid refrigerating.
Many people make the mistake of storing the wrong foods in a refrigerator that does not require cold temperatures to maintain their freshness and quality.
So, in today’s article, I’m going to provide you with a comprehensive list of foods that should not be refrigerated. This will not only help you keep your food safe but also allow your refrigerator to operate more efficiently.
Let’s dive straight into it…
Foods That Should Not Be Stored In The Refrigerator:
To enhance the readability of the list, I have categorized it into four sections: Fruits, Vegetables, Regular Foods, and Cooked Foods. We will discuss each category individually, and I will also provide explanations for why these foods do not require refrigeration.
Fruits that should not be refrigerant:
Apples: Apples can be stored at room temperature for a short period, typically a week or two before they start to soften and lose their quality. However, if you want to extend the shelf life of apples, especially during warmer months, or if you won’t be consuming them right away, placing them in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer is a good idea.
Bananas: Well, it has been found that refrigeration can turn the skins of bananas brown, but the fruit inside will still be okay. It’s best to keep bananas at room temperature unless they are very ripe and you want to slow down the ripening process. However, if you prefer to extend the lifespan of your bananas or slow down the ripening process, refrigeration can be a useful option.
Melons: Whole melons which may include your watermelon, musk melon, or cantaloupe should be stored at room temperature to allow them to ripen fully. Once cut, you can refrigerate the slices or, if you prefer your melons cold and crisp, refrigeration is a good option.
Avocados: While avocados can be refrigerated, it’s best to allow them to ripen at room temperature first. Refrigerating unripe avocados can slow down the ripening process. Once ripe, you can store them in the fridge, but it’s best to consume them within a few days.
Peaches: Similarly to other avocados, peaches or apricots can be refrigerated, especially once they are fully ripe, to extend their shelf life. However, for the best eating experience, it’s recommended to allow them to ripen at room temperature and then consume them relatively quickly. If you have a balance of ripe and unripe peaches, you can store some at room temperature for immediate consumption and place the ripe ones in the refrigerator to enjoy later.
Plums: Plums are also one of the stone fruits that you can ripen at room temperature and then transfer to the refrigerator once they’re ripe to prolong their freshness. Or, If you have a batch of plums that are already ripe and you know you won’t be able to eat them all within a few days, refrigerating them can be a good way to preserve their quality.
Berries: Berries can develop moisture and mold in the fridge, shortening their shelf life. Refrigeration can also affect their texture and flavor. Instead, It is always advisable to store them in their original packaging or a breathable container in a cool, dry place, and wash them just before eating to maintain their freshness.
Citrus Fruits (Limes, Lemons, and Oranges): Citrus fruits can better maintain their natural freshness, and juiciness and last longer when stored at room temperature. If you don’t plan to consume them within a week or two, you can transfer them to the fridge. But remember, the cold environment can lead to pitting, dullness, and an overall less appealing taste.
Cucumber: You might not believe but Cold temperatures can cause cucumbers to develop water-soaked areas and lose their crunch and flavor. The best way their maintain their taste and Store them at room temperature or in a cool pantry.
Fresh-fruit juices: Fresh fruit juices should not be stored in the fridge for extended periods because refrigeration can lead to flavor loss and vitamin degradation. Exposure to cold temperatures may also cause separation and texture changes. Ideally, consume freshly prepared juices promptly to enjoy their full taste and nutritional benefits.
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Vegetables that should not be refrigerant:
Onions: Onions shouldn’t be stored in the fridge due to cold and moisture, which can cause them to become soft, moldy, or sprout. The cool temperature alters their texture and taste. Instead, keep them in a dry, well-ventilated area outside the fridge to preserve their quality and flavor.
Tomatoes: It’s generally recommended to store tomatoes at room temperature, ideally in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. If you have ripe tomatoes that you’re not planning to eat immediately, it’s better to keep them on the counter. In case, tomatoes are very ripe and you need to slow down their ripening, placing them in the refrigerator for a short period might be a viable option, but it’s still best to consume them as soon as possible for optimal flavor and texture.
Potatoes: Similar to Tomatoes, potatoes can be stored properly in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place. Potatoes should not be stored in the fridge for a few reasons: Potatoes contain starch, which converts to sugar when exposed to cold temperatures. This can lead to a change in texture and taste. Further, As starch converts to sugar, refrigerated potatoes can develop an off-putting sweet taste when cooked.
Brinjals: Brinjal, also known as eggplant or aubergine in other countries, is a vegetable that is often recommended to be stored outside the refrigerator due to its sensitivity to cold temperatures. These vegetables are best stored at room temperature, ideally in a cool and well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight. If you plan to use them within a few days, they can be kept on the kitchen counter.
Pumpkins: For better results, it’s always advisable to store pumpkins in a cool, dry place with good ventilation, such as a basement or pantry. Make sure they are not exposed to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. If you’ve cut a pumpkin, wrap the cut portions in plastic wrap or store them in an airtight container in the fridge, but it’s generally better to use cut pumpkins within a few days for optimal quality.
Butternut Squash: Similar to Pumpkins, to store butternut squash properly, keep it in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area, such as a pantry or a cellar, where temperatures are between 50-55°F (10-13°C). If you’re concerned about the squash’s shelf life, it’s better to use it within a reasonable time frame rather than storing it in the refrigerator.
Dry Beans: As you know, refrigerators are designed to maintain a cool and humid environment, which can create moisture inside. On the other hand, dry beans are very sensitive to moisture and can absorb it easily. When dry beans absorb moisture, they can become damp and may even start to sprout, leading to mold growth and spoilage.
Bell Peppers: If you plan to use whole bell peppers within a week, they can be stored at room temperature. However, if you don’t plan to use bell peppers immediately, refrigeration is a commonly recommended method for storing them. Storing bell peppers in the refrigerator can slow down the ripening process and prevent them from becoming overripe or spoiling quickly.
Fresh herbs (Basils and Mints): Fresh herbs, particularly delicate ones like basil, cilantro, parsley, and mint, can often be adversely affected by the cold and moist environment of a refrigerator. You might not know but cold temperatures can cause basil leaves to turn black. The best idea is to store them in a glass of water or wrap them in a damp paper towel at room temperature.
Sweet Potatoes: Sweet Potatoes should not be stored in the refrigerator primarily because of the cold temperature and moisture present in the fridge. Cold storage can have several negative effects on sweet potatoes. The most common effect is it can lead to a hard center and an unpleasant taste in the food.
Regular foods that should not be refrigerant:
Bread: Many people store bread in the refrigerator but I must tell you storing bread in the fridge can cause it to dry out faster. Instead of the fridge, it’s better to store bread at room temperature in a cool, dry place. If you’re concerned about bread going stale, consider freezing it. Sliced bread can be frozen and then toasted directly from the freezer when needed. This helps preserve the texture and flavor of the bread while extending its shelf life.
Honey: Honey is also always recommended to keep at room temperature as it can crystallize and become thick in the refrigerator. Further, Honey is a natural sweetener that has been used for centuries, and it has unique properties that make refrigeration unnecessary and potentially detrimental.
Chocolates: Chocolate can develop a whitish coating known as “bloom” when exposed to moisture and temperature changes in the refrigerator. Further, it affects its tastes as well. If you do decide to store chocolate in the fridge due to warm weather or other reasons, it’s important to take precautions to minimize the effects of moisture and temperature fluctuations. Place the chocolate in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap to protect it from condensation and odors.
Coffee (or, Coffee beans): Similarly, Storing coffee in the fridge is generally not recommended for a few reasons. Cold temperatures and moisture can cause coffee beans to absorb odors and lose flavor. In worst cases, If coffee is stored in the freezer section of the fridge, there’s a risk of freezer burn. Freezer burn occurs when moisture in the coffee beans evaporates, leaving the beans dry and flavorless.
Pickles: Pickles are traditionally stored outside the refrigerator because the process of pickling involves preserving food using vinegar, salt, and sometimes sugar. This preservation process creates an environment that is hostile to the growth of spoilage microorganisms, making refrigeration less necessary. However, pickles that use a low-acid brine or fermentation, may recommend refrigeration to maintain the quality and safety of the product.
Cereal: Cereal is typically not recommended to be stored in the refrigerator. Refrigerators can be humid environments, and cereal is prone to absorbing moisture. This moisture can cause the cereal to become soft, lose its crispness, and even become stale more quickly.
Peanut Butter: While it might seem logical to store peanut butter in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life, it’s generally recommended not to store peanut butter in the fridge. As it becomes harder and less spreadable in the fridge.
Soy Sauce: Refrigerating soy sauce can cause it to thicken and develop a cloudy appearance. While this doesn’t necessarily indicate spoilage, the change in consistency might not be desirable. The point is soy sauce can be stored in the refrigerator, but it is not necessary and may not be the ideal storage location.
Vinegar: You might be surprised to know that vinegar can actually be stored in the refrigerator if you prefer it to be cold, and doing so won’t necessarily harm its quality. However, it’s important to note that storing vinegar in the refrigerator is not a requirement. If you prefer your vinegar at room temperature and are comfortable with the potential changes in appearance, there’s no harm in storing it in a cool, dark pantry or cupboard instead.
Nuts: Cold temperatures can also affect nuts badly. Nuts contain oils that can solidify and become rancid faster when exposed to cold temperatures. However, some nuts, such as walnuts, can be stored in the refrigerator for a short period of time if they are first wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container.
Cookies: Similar to Nuts, Cookies can’t be kept in cold temperatures. In the refrigerator, the cold temperature can cause them to lose their moisture and become dry and hard. Further, it can make them taste bland. The starch in the cookies can also crystallize in the cold, which makes them tough and tasteless.
Dried Fruits: I have already mentioned, why nuts should not be refrigerated. Similarly, most dried fruits including raisins do not need to be refrigerated, and in fact, storing them in the refrigerator can actually make them spoil faster.
Cake and Pastries: Cake should also not be stored in the refrigerator in most cases because the cold, dry air will cause it to dry out and become stale more quickly. The humidity of the refrigerator also causes the moisture in the cake to condense on the surface, which can make the cake soggy and lose its trademark softness.
Read also: 7 Best Filterless Chimneys in India (2023)
Indian cooked foods that should not be refrigerant:
Cooked Chicken: Cooked Chicken is one of those foods that are advised not to be stored in the refrigerator. In fact, eating refrigerated cooked chicken may result in food poisoning or other digestive problems. In addition to this, the taste of your chicken may also change once you refrigerate them.
Poori: Pooris are deep-fried breads commonly enjoyed in Indian cuisine. It is found that pooris can become soggy and lose their crispness if stored in the refrigerator. In the case of roti and chapati, they tend to lose their texture and become chewy when stored in the refrigerator.
Samosas: Samosas are also deep-fried pastries filled with savory fillings. They can also lose their crispness and become soggy if refrigerated. In general, samosas are best enjoyed shortly after they’re cooked to fully savor their delicious and crispy texture.
Gulab Jamun: This popular Indian dessert made from deep-fried dough balls soaked in sugar syrup can become overly saturated and lose its texture if stored in the refrigerator for too long. In case, you want to store Gulab Jamun in a refrigerator, use an airtight container to prevent moisture from affecting the dessert, and consume the refrigerated Gulab Jamun within a few days to ensure they remain relatively fresh.
Raita: Raita is a popular yogurt-based side dish in Indian cuisine that often includes ingredients like yogurt, vegetables, herbs, and spices. While it’s not necessarily that raita should never be stored in the refrigerator the point to remember is dishes containing yogurt, such as raita, can sometimes separate or change in texture when refrigerated for too long.
Pakoras: Pakoras are a popular Indian snack made by deep-frying vegetables, meat, or other ingredients coated in a spiced gram flour (chickpea flour) batter. Pakoras can turn soft and lose their crunchiness when refrigerated. it’s not that you absolutely cannot store pakoras in the refrigerator but I must tell you their quality might be compromised when refrigerated for an extended period.
Bhature: Bhature is a common North Indian cuisine. Similar to pooris, bhature is a deep-fried bread that’s often served with chole (chickpea curry). They are best consumed fresh due to their texture. Refrigerating bhature might only extend their shelf life by a short duration, and the trade-off in terms of texture and taste might not be worth it.
Idlis: Idlis are a traditional South Indian food made from fermented rice and lentil batter. Idlis are steamed rice cakes that can become dry and hard when stored in the refrigerator. It’s recommended to consume them fresh or reheat them using gentle methods.
Dosa: Dosa is again a popular South Indian food made from fermented rice and urad dal (black gram lentil) batter. Dosas are thin, crispy pancakes storing them in the refrigerator can cause them to become tough and lose their texture. If you have leftover dosas, it’s better to reheat them gently on a dry skillet (tawa) to regain some crispness.
Rice-based Foods (Biryani and Pulao): Foods like biryani, pulao, and fried rice that contain cooked rice can become hard and lose their flavor when refrigerated for an extended period. If you have leftover rice-based dishes, it’s best to reheat them gently. While it’s not that rice-based dishes cannot be stored in the refrigerator, they may lose their texture and flavor.
Certain Curries: Certain curry foods might not be ideal for prolonged storage in the refrigerator. Some curries that are meant to be consumed immediately, such as curry leaves-based preparations or foods with crispy components, can lose their intended textures and flavors in the refrigerator.
Some other things that do not require to be refrigerant:
Garlic: Garlic is generally not recommended to store in the refrigerator as it can sprout or become moldy inside it and it won’t last long. The best way to store garlic is in a dry, cool place with good ventilation.
Dried Spices: Dried spices can technically be stored in the refrigerator, but it’s generally not necessary and might not be the optimal choice for some reasons. Spices are highly aromatic and can easily absorb odors from other foods in the refrigerator. In addition to this, exposing dried spices to moisture can lead to clumping and loss of flavor.
Olive Oil: Olive oil doesn’t require refrigeration for preservation. Refrigerated olive oil may become thicker and harder to pour, which can be inconvenient for cooking or drizzling. If you do choose to refrigerate olive oil, it’s recommended to allow the oil to come to room temperature before using it to restore its normal consistency and flavor.
Now It’s Your Turn:
After purchasing a refrigerator, it’s essential to have an understanding of the types of foods that are suitable for storage inside, as well as those that should not be stored in the refrigerator.
In this article, I have compiled a list of over 50 foods that should not be refrigerated.
Now, I’d love to hear your thoughts:
Did you find the article enjoyable and helpful? If you happen to know of any foods that should not be refrigerated and notice that I’ve inadvertently omitted them, please feel free to share your insights in the comments.