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Foods You Should Refrigerate & Those Better Left At Room Temperature

How do you preserve your groceries? There are 3 options here namely; at room temperature, in the fridge or in the freezer. Find out which grocery is best preserved in one of these places.

Surprisingly, most fruits and vegetables are better off out of the fridge at first, with many of them only needing refrigeration once fully ripe.

DailyMail’s Laura House asked nutrition expert, Aloysa Hourigan, how these 10 common foods are best preserved:

1. BREAD 

Each household stores their loaves of bread differently – some prefer to freeze it, some refrigerate it and others like to keep it out on the bench ready to go.

‘Storing bread out of the fridge in a bread bin type of arrangement is fine, however it does go stale quickly and if it’s humid weather it might go mouldy,’ Ms Hourigan said.

‘Putting it in the fridge will dry it out so if you are not going to eat it fast, then the better option is to freeze it and get slices out as you need them.’

2. TOMATOES 

Tomatoes are commonly refrigerated after purchase, but there is a reason they are kept at room temperature at the supermarket.

‘In terms of becoming ripe enough to eat, tomatoes do better when they are out of the fridge,’ Ms Hourigan said.

‘Once they reach their ripeness they can go in the fridge otherwise they start to spoil…but tomatoes won’t ripen in the fridge by themselves.’

3. ORANGES

‘To get the maximum out of an orange it needs to be ready to eat before it is placed in the fridge as the levels of antioxidants and vitamins increase as oranges ripen,’ Ms Hourigan said.

‘That said, if you leave them out of the fridge for too long they will gradually lose their Vitamin C content over time and the fridge will keep those levels higher for longer.’

4. POTATOES 

Those storing their potatoes right, are keeping them far away from the fridge.

‘Potatoes should never be stored in the fridge, the best way to store them, as well as onions, is in a cool dark place like the bottom of the pantry,’ Ms Hourigan said.

‘If they are in the light they go green on the skin and spoil and if they are in the fridge they become moist which is not ideal.’

5. BERRIES 

Punnets of berries are often found in refrigerator drawers, but it turns out they shouldn’t be placed in there straight away.

‘Berries – especially strawberries – ripen up much better out of the fridge, however they will spoil fairly quickly so you need to pick the perfect time,’ Ms Hourigan said.

‘With strawberries you can smell whether they are sweet, nice and ready to be refrigerated…if you can’t smell a strawberry it’s not a good one.’

6. HONEY 

‘Honey is better in the cupboard than in the fridge as it crystallises…it doesn’t go off in the cupboard,’ Ms Hourigan said.

‘With that said, it doesn’t go off in the fridge either and many people choose to put it in there due to problems with ants.’

7. GARLIC 

Garlic is in the same category as onions and potatoes in that it is better off in a cool dark place…but only until it is peeled.

‘If they are whole bulbs they can just sit in a dish or container near where food is prepared,’ Ms Hourigan said.

‘Once you’ve peeled it however, it is better off in the fridge as it won’t retain it’s flavour otherwise.’

8. OILS

‘It’s not common to put oils in the fridge but they go rancid and putting them in the fridge helps to increase shelf life,’ Ms Hourigan said.

‘When it comes to olive oil however, it’s best stored in a dark place in the pantry as light decreases the antioxidant activity in it.’

9. WATERMELON

‘You can’t have melon sitting out of the fridge once it’s cut (even if it’s wrapped in plastic) as once you have that open surface you are at risk of contamination and fermentation which happens at room temperature,’ Ms Hourigan said.

‘When a melon is whole it doesn’t need to be in the fridge.’

10. SPREADS

‘It’s very important to check the label for refrigeration instructions when it comes to these,’ Ms Hourigan said.

‘If it’s high in salt like Vegemite and peanut butter, refrigeration isn’t necessary. With things like jams, the high sugar content means you don’t have to store it in the fridge but it’s wise to as they are prone to mould development over time.’

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