Consider the layout of your typical grocery store. There’s a section dedicated to fresh produce, another to frozen foods, refrigerated sections for meats, milk, eggs, yogurt, and the like, and center aisles for non-perishables and items that don’t need refrigeration. Maybe if you’re lucky, your neighborhood grocery store also sports a decent bakery section to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Sure, you can extend the shelf life of certain foods by storing them in the fridge or freezer. But if yours is busting at the seams, week after week, you could be refrigerating items that don’t need to be. Here are 10 that may surprise you.
Butter – Most people assume that because butter is dairy-based, it needs to be refrigerated. The truth is, butter can be safely stored in an opaque butter dish placed in a cool place (away from a heat source like an oven or in direct sunlight). This also makes it perfectly spreadable whenever you need it!
Fresh Basil – Many a great dish is only made better with basil. But because this aromatic herb so perfectly blends the tastes and smells of the food around it, refrigerating it may not be the best idea. Keep it fresh by submerging the ends in a little bit of water, as you would a bouquet of flowers. Or grow your own indoors or out.
Onions – Unlike basil, onions lend their aroma to whatever is around them, especially if kept in an enclosed space like a fridge. Store onions away from other produce in a dry area with good ventilation.
Honey – Did you know that honey never spoils? Instead, it crystalizes and stays edible indefinitely. Refrigerating it only speeds up the crystallization process which changes the texture and, ultimately, the meal experience.
Soy, Hot, and Fish Sauces – These sauces contain vinegar which enables them to stay fresh and flavorful for years without the need for refrigeration.
Berries – Berries naturally have a high water content, so if placed too close to a blower in a fridge, they can freeze which, in turn, changes their flavor and texture. Wash berries and move them to a bowl; this not only makes a lovely display but keeps these healthy snacks within reach.
Cake – While some cakes do need to be chilled depending on the ingredients and frosting, most can safely be left out on the counter for a few days. However, if you’re unsure of how quickly your family will consume it, best to cover it completely and move it to the fridge.
Tomatoes – Cold air changes the flavor and texture of a tomato. To truly enjoy this delicious, nutritious fruit, keep it on the counter out of direct sunlight – perhaps next to the fresh basil.
Eggs (Maybe) – Eggs don’t need refrigeration only if they’ve never been refrigerated to begin with. However, if you get yours from a grocery store, you’ll need to keep them cool to help prevent diseases like salmonella.
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