15 Food Storage Guidelines You Didn’t Know
To fridge or not to fridge? Discover what foods you should take out of your refrigerator and what unexpected items you should store there now.
Better at room temp: Avocados
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Perhaps the most irritating food in terms of ripening, avocados should be kept out of the fridge until they’re at their optimal freshness (which lasts, if you’ve ever bought one, about 5 minutes). Once they’re ripe, you can place them in the fridge for 5-10 days. Tip: Keep the pit in the half of the avocado that you’re not going to eat; it keeps it fresher, longer.
Keep it cold: Nuts
This may come as a surprise, but your favorite healthy midday snack actually does better in the fridge. The oils in nuts can become rancid after a few months if they’re left at room temperature. Fun fact: They can also be frozen, since they have such a small water content.
Better at room temp: Uncut Watermelon
Stop letting your huge watermelons hog all of the room in the fridge! This fruit is good left on the counter until it’s cut. Once you slice it, wrap it up and place it in the fridge for optimal freshness. Check out 11 more food storage tricks to make your favorite foods last longer.
Keep it cold: Opened salami or pepperoni
Meats that you’ll typically find on a cheese board, like salami, cured ham, and pepperoni, should be put in the fridge once you open them. The cut end becomes seriously susceptible to bacteria growth if it’s left out on the counter or in the pantry. Make sure you know exactly how long every kind of meat lasts in the fridge.
Keep it cold: Pure maple syrup
The real stuff has no preservatives and can become moldy after opening if it’s not chilled within a few weeks or months. But if you’re using commercial, processed maple syrup, it’s good to stay in the pantry. If you’re not looking forward to pancakes with cold maple syrup, pour out a serving size and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds––it’ll take your flapjacks to the next level.
Keep it cold: Ripe bananas
Ripe bananas stay at their perfect peak for another week if you toss them in the refrigerator—but wait until they’re soft with plenty of spots. If you put still-green or not-quite-ripe bananas in the fridge, it’ll halt the ripening process and you’ll never get the perfect banana…unless you like ’em green (Tip: There is less sugar in them that way!).
Better at room temp: Garlic
Entire bulbs of garlic can be left on the counter for up to 3-4 months, while individual cloves will last up to 10 days. And if you’re afraid you won’t use it quickly enough, you can store whole, unpeeled garlic in the freezer and remove cloves as you need them. But who doesn’t use garlic quickly? Here are 10 more foods you didn’t know you could freeze.
Better at room temp: Potatoes
Moisture makes spuds go blah; store in the pantry or on the counter for up to three weeks. Once you see ’em start to grow sprouts or get soft, that’s a sign to use them quickly (especially in soups and stews!) or ditch them. Also, beware: Potatoes exude (non-scented) fumes when they’re sitting out that can spoil other foods like onions more quickly. Don’t miss these 12 foods that you should never store together.
Keep it cold: Natural peanut butter
The oils in natural peanut butter can go rancid quickly when stored at warm temperatures. Take your PB out of the fridge 15-20 minutes before use and gift it a good stir to soften it up. Commercial, processed peanut butters, which include more than just peanuts as an ingredient, can be left in the pantry for up to a year, since there are added preservatives in the mix.