Modern technology allows us to conserve our food supply for far longer than our ancestors did. Something as simple as a refrigerator can help keep something that might spoil by nightfall good to eat for days. But, did you know that refrigeration can actually cause certain foods to spoil faster? Did you know that your refrigerator could be changing the flavor of your food? This is a started list of foods you should keep out of your refrigerator next time you bring home fresh groceries:
1. Bananas – Refrigeration actually disrupts the ripening process of bananas. Even worse, once refrigerated, a banana may never be able to resume the ripening process, even if returned to room temperature.
2. Potatoes – When exposed to cold temperatures, the starches found in potatoes go through a chemical reaction that turns those starches into sugar. This affects their flavor and texture, not to mention making them less healthy to eat because of their increased sugar content. Instead, store your potatoes in a paper bag in dark place like your pantry. The paper bag will allow the potatoes to receive more air, which will slow the deterioration process.
3. Tomatoes – The best tomatoes you’ve ever had probably didn’t come out of your veggie drawer in the refrigerator. That’s because tomatoes lose their flavor and become mushy when refrigerated. In the same way bananas are affected by refrigeration, so are tomatoes. The cold air stops their ripening process. It also affects the texture of tomatoes as it breaks down the membranes inside the tomatoes and turns them mealy. Instead, keep them in a basket or a glass bowl on the kitchen counter.
4. Apples – Similar to tomatoes, apples lose their texture and flavor in the fridge. If you prefer your apples cold, place it in the fridge about 30 minutes before eating.
5. Onions – Onions not only get soggy, they cause the rest of your food to taste and smell like onions. Try storing them in a paper bag (within a cool, dark cabinet) for maximum shelf-life. However, make sure to keep your potatoes and onions separate; when stored together, they speed up each others deterioration processes.
6. Avocados – This one isn’t a hard and fast rule. Like bananas, refrigeration shuts down an avocado’s ripening enzymes. Sometimes that’s a good thing, and sometimes that’s bad. If the avocado is as ripe as you want it, and you’re not planning on using it right away, go ahead and keep it in the fridge. If it’s still a bit hard when you squeeze it, you’re going to want to let it ripen outside of the refrigerator for a few days.
7. Coffee – This one might surprise you, but coffee is best stored at room temperature, otherwise not only is it going to lose its natural scent, but it will absorb odors from other foods in your fridge (remember those onions we were talking about? Gross.)
8. Basil – Basil absorb all the smells surrounding food very easily. To store properly, keep it on the counter in a cup of fresh water.
There’s a lot we could cover about proper storage of your fresh foods, but for now, this is a great place to start. Head over to your fridge, pull out anything you now know shouldn’t be kept there, and make sure your next round of groceries gets properly sorted. If you do, you’ll notice your ingredients, and your meals, will start tasting a heck of a lot fresher. If you want to learn more nutrition tips, be sure to follow the official Josh Bezoni Twitter.