Foods That Should Never Go In The Refrigerator

When you go to a grocery store, you might notice that some items are in large refrigerators or freezers, while others are out on the shelf. Where food is stored in a grocery store is usually a good indication of where it should be stored in your own home.

The thing is, sometimes items are in the fridge in one supermarket, but on a shelf in another. In the UK, they keep eggs in the pantry, but in America, we keep eggs in the fridge. So we’re here to help you unravel this mystery once and for all. Keep reading to find out which items go where.

Keep Your Citrus Fruit Out Of The Fridge

In most grocery stores, fruit such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes are typically kept out of the fridge. That’s because citrus fruit continue to ripen even after they’ve been picked. Keeping citrus fruit int he fridges slows down the ripening process. When a citrus fruit isn’t ripe, it can be rather sour.

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Photo by Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo by Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Store your citrus fruit in a fruit bowl on your counter or your kitchen table for optimal sweetness. If you like your citrus fruit cold, pop them in the fridge an hour before you plan on eating them.

Soy Sauce Doesn’t Go In The Fridge

Soy sauce can live just fine in a pantry for up to a year and a half. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated because it’s fermented. The fermentation process both makes the sauce delicious and allows it to stay fresher for longer.

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Photo by: Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo by: Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Keeping soy sauce for longer than a year and a half might change the flavor of the sauce a little bit, but it should still be good to eat.

Keep Avocados Out Of The Fridge

If you’re trying to ripen some hard, unripe avocados, it’s best to let them ripen on a counter or in a pantry. The cold air in a refrigerator will cause the avocados to ripen more slowly. That being said, if you have some avocados that are about to become over-ripe, stick them in the fridge to help them last longer.

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Photo by Jose CASTANARES / AFP
Photo by Jose CASTANARES / AFP

There are few delicacies in this life better than avocado toast. Knowing when to put your avocados in the fridge can help you get perfect avocado toast every time.

Where To Put The Eggs

If you walked the aisles of a grocery store in the UK, you would notice that eggs aren’t kept in the fridge but on a shelf. So who’s right? The British or the Americans? According to a recent study, it actually makes no difference whether you store your eggs in the fridge or in your pantry.

close up image of carton of eggs
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Although, in America, the FDA recommends that you keep your eggs in the fridge, because they’re usually rinsed of their protective coating. It’s probably just best to do what the FDA says.

Mustard Is A Cupboard Food

Mustard is similar to ketchup in that it can last longer outside of the fridge. In fact, mustard can last even longer than ketchup because it contains a natural acid that acts as a preservative.

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Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Mustard can last way longer than you’d think, in or out of the fridge, but you don’t need to take up fridge space with this condiment. Save room in the fridge for all of those leftover hotdogs.

Apples Do Better Out Of The Fridge

Like all other fruit, apples ripen more quickly at room temperature than they do in the fridge. However, keeping apples in the fridge can cause them to become mealy. Also, if you place apples near other fruit, the apples will emit a natural gas that will cause the other fruit to ripen more quickly. It’s best to keep apples away from other fruit unless you’re actually trying to make your fruit riper.

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Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/NurPhoto via Getty Images

As an added bonus, enzymes within apples become far more active at room temperature, making the apples way more nutritious.

Honey, Don’t Chill The Honey

Honey basically preserves itself, whether it’s in a fridge or not. However, cold air can actually cause honey to crystallize. Crystalized honey still tastes great, but it isn’t very smooth and runny. If your honey does crystallize, just pop the whole jar of honey into a hot water bath. Within a half an hour or so, all of the crystals should dissolve.

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Photo by Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images
Photo by Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images

Keep your honey in a pantry or a cupboard so you don’t have to resort to a water bath, though.

Keep Your Hot Sauce Out Of The Cold

Hot sauce likes it hot. Most hot sauces are full of natural preservatives such as vinegar, so they actually have a pretty long shelf life. It’s best to store hot sauce in a cool, dry place like a pantry or a cupboard unless the jar or bottle tells you to do otherwise.

Tostitos, prepared salsas, snack food
Kevin Schafer / Contributor
Kevin Schafer / Contributor

Always listen to the label. If there aren’t any instructions on the label, just pop that hot sauce in your cupboard (or in your bag if you want to be like Beyoncé).

Leave Garlic On The Counter

It’s best to keep your garlic in a garlic holder with holes in it on your counter. If you leave garlic in the fridge for too long, it can start to get rubbery and it can even start to sprout little green shoots. Sometimes you can’t even see the green shoots until you cut open the garlic cloves.

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Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

If you don’t have a specialized garlic jar, you can store your garlic in a pair of breathable nylon pantyhose.

Leave Bananas On The Counter

Bananas actually become more nutritious when they aren’t exposed to cold refrigerator air. As with all other fruits, the fridge slows down the ripening process, so if you have some bananas that are about to become too ripe, stick them in the fridge until you can turn them into some delicious banana bread.

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Photo by Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images
Photo by Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images

Alternatively, you could chop up an over-ripe banana and store it in the freezer. Frozen bananas go great in delicious fruit smoothies.

Pickles Don’t Need The Fridge

Pickles are full of natural preservatives like vinegar and salt, so you don’t need to store them in the fridge. They can stay out of the fridge for three years even after they’re opened. If you really like cold pickles, you can leave them in the fridge, but you don’t have to store them in the fridge.

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Photo credit should read JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty Images
Photo credit should read JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty Images

Save the fridge space if you need it. What kind of pickles do you like? Sweet or sour?

The Fridge Will Dry Out Your Bread

The fridge is no place for fresh bread. There are few environments that dry out good bread faster than a refrigerator. The spongy texture of bread will soak up whatever odors you have going on in your fridge, which usually isn’t a good thing. Nobody wants bread that tastes slightly like last night’s chicken mixed with tomorrow’s egg salad.

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Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post via Getty Images
Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Always store your bread in a breadbox with a good lid to prevent it from going stale.

Keep The Carrots Calm

Carrots can actually rot and become waterlogged and droopy if they’re left in the fridge for too long. You should store your carrots away from direct sunlight in a place with low moisture.

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Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

If you’re cutting up a bunch of carrots to serve alongside chicken wings or something, you can put them in a container of water and place that in the fridge, but only if you’re going to eat them within a few hours.

Cereal Belongs In The Pantry

I don’t know anybody who stores cereal in the fridge. I shouldn’t need to tell you this, but the fridge is not a place where cereal belongs. The moisture in there will cause the cereal to wilt and become much less crunchy.

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Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Cereal should always be stored in a cool dry place, like a pantry or a cupboard. Nobody likes soggy cereal. Unless you’re one of those people who like to let your cereal get soggy in the milk before you eat it…

Onions Don’t Belong In The Fridge

Just like garlic, onions can actually turn moldy if you leave them in the fridge. Leave onions in a dark, dry area to keep them fresher for longer. You should have a designated onion drawer to keep them separate from your other pantry food items.

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Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

If you have some leftover peeled onion, you can store that in the fridge in an airtight container, but make sure to use it within the next few days.

Potatoes Do Better In A Potato Drawer

Potatoes need to be kept in a cool, dry and dark space at all times. Cold temperatures in your refrigerator will cause the starch in potatoes to turn into sugar more quickly.

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Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Also, make sure to take your potatoes out of the bag they came in as soon as you get them home. They need space to air out. Too much moisture will cause them to rot. Do you say potato or potah-to?

Sorry, Fans Of Cold Chocolate

I know a lot of people absolutely love cold chocolate, but the ideal temperature for chocolate is actually between 65 and 68°F, which is much warmer than the average refrigerator.

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Photo by Mustafa Kamaci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Photo by Mustafa Kamaci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Only store your chocolate in the fridge if you live in a very warm part of the world and your chocolate is at risk of melting completely. If you really love freezing cold chocolate though, I’m not going to stop you from eating it that way.

Get Your Jam Out Of A Jam

Jam is packed with preservatives, both natural and artificial, and it’s literally built to last. Keeping it in the fridge won’t make it last any longer.

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Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

What will make it last longer is taking care not to contaminate your jam jar. If you’re having jam with any kind of cheese (by the way, fig jam, pictured here, goes wonderfully with brie, and basically every cheese on the planet) don’t use the same knife to spread your jam and cut your cheese. If you get any cheese in your jam jar, that will make it spoil faster.

Peppers Taste Better At Room Temperature

Peppers definitely don’t need to be kept in the refrigerator. That is a total myth. Refrigerator air will preserve peppers and make them last longer, but it will also cause the peppers to taste more dull and flavorless.

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Photo by STR / AFP
Photo by STR / AFP

Store pepper is a cool, dry place. Yes, this also applies to chili peppers. If you really love peppers, you can even go swimming with them like the man in the photo above.

Tropical Fruits Like Warm Environments

Tropical fruits come from tropical places where it’s warm and rainy and the sun is always shining. You don’t want to take a tropical fruit and put it in a cool, dry fridge. That’s the opposite of what it needs.

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Photo by Mohamed el-Shahed / AFP
Photo by Mohamed el-Shahed / AFP

Fruit like mangoes, plums, kiwi, apricots, and peaches actually ripen at a slower rate in the fridge and they’ll lose flavor and nutrients more quickly. Just leave tropical fruit in a bowl out on your table or kitchen counter. They’re so pretty to look at, too. Leave them out for everybody to see.

Some Salad Dressings Don’t Need To Be Refrigerated

While salad dressings that contain dairy products like ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing do need to be kept in the fridge, many oil-based vinaigrettes can be kept out of the cold.

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Photo by Dixie D. Vereen/For The Washington Post via Getty Images
Photo by Dixie D. Vereen/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Neither vinegar or oil require refrigeration. As we saw with olive oil, some oils can actually harden when kept at cool temperatures. You can even make your own vinaigrette and store that at room temperature as well. Vinaigrette is known to be healthier for you than dairy-based dressings anyway. Note: if your vinaigrette contains garlic or lemon juice it’s best to store it in the fridge (and used within three days).

Olive Oil Should Stay In The Pantry

You probably have always stored your olive oil in the pantry, which is definitely where it belongs. The fridge is no place for an expensive bottle of olive oil (the king of all oils, by the way. Coconut oil is getting some good press lately, but olive oil is still the king).

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Photo by Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo by Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The cool temperatures in your refrigerator will only cause the oil to harden and form something resembling butter. That’s not what anybody wants.

Keep Tomatoes Away From Cold Air

If you take one thing away from this whole article, please do not store tomatoes in the fridge. These delicious, juicy, red vegetables (or fruit? is tomato a fruit?) thrive in cool, dry, airy environments. Leave them in a bowl on your counter.

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Photo by SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS/AFP/Getty Images
Photo by SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS/AFP/Getty Images

If you store tomatoes in the fridge, they’ll quickly lose all of their delicious flavor, texture, and nutrients. Tomatoes stored in the fridge can have a sort of sour taste.

Ketchup Can Stay In The Cupboard

Contrary to popular belief, ketchup doesn’t actually need to be stored in the fridge, even after the bottle is open. That’s why all of those diners can just leave glass bottles of Heinz ketchup out on the tables for hours at a time.

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Photo by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

This stuff is chock-full of preservatives. As long as you don’t contaminate it, ketchup can last for a really long time. Now you don’t need to worry when you’re slathering it onto your burger.

Flour Belongs In The Pantry

I haven’t met very many people who store wheat flour in the fridge (I don’t think I’ve met any, actually), but just in case you were thinking about putting flour in the fridge, there is absolutely no reason to do so.

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Photo by Artyom GeodakyanTASS via Getty Images
Photo by Artyom GeodakyanTASS via Getty Images

Flour should be stored in a dry place and in an airtight container. You can put it in the fridge if you want, but it’s just going to take up a lot of fridge space.

Not So Cool As A Cucumber

Cucumbers do not do well when they’re left in the fridge. They can quickly become waterlogged and lose a lot of their flavor. Instead, store your cucumber on your counter or in a pantry. Just don’t forget that you left it there. You don’t want to find a rotten cucumber in your pantry later on.

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Photo by Michael Jacobs/Art in All of Us/Corbis via Getty Images
Photo by Michael Jacobs/Art in All of Us/Corbis via Getty Images

If you want your cucumbers to be cool because you want to put them on your eyes or something, then you can leave them in the fridge momentarily or store slices of cucumber in ice water.

Serve Your Coffee Warm

You can actually keep coffee in the fridge as long as it’s in an airtight container. This goes for both coffee beans and leftover brewed coffee. Generally, coffee beans need to be in a cool dry place, and a fridge is cool, but not very dry.

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Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images
Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

Brewed coffee can make everything else in your fridge smell like coffee, and if it’s too hot, it can actually raise the temperature of your whole fridge, which is damaging to all of the meat and dairy you have in there.

When It Comes To Basil, Grow It Yourself

The refrigerator isn’t the best place for fresh herbs. Basil tends to wilt when it’s left in the fridge without any exposure to sunlight. If you want your basil to last a long time, put it in a cup of water and leave it by the windowsill.

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Photo by: Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/UIG via Getty Images
Photo by: Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/UIG via Getty Images

Pretty soon, it will start sprouting roots. Once the roots get to be around two inches long, you can plant the basil in some soil and start your own basil plant.

Melons Can Stay On The Counter

There is nothing better than a cool slice of watermelon on a hot summer day, but you really shouldn’t be storing your watermelon in the fridge. When kept at room temperature, melons will keep their natural antioxidant levels balanced.

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Photo by Valery MatytsinTASS via Getty Images
Photo by Valery MatytsinTASS via Getty Images

If you want that delicious cold melon, store the melons at room temp, slice them up about an hour before you’re ready to eat them, put those slices in the fridge, and enjoy an hour later.

Keep Your Pears Out Of The Crisper Drawere

Pears don’t actually ripen on the tree. They ripen at room temperature on grocery store shelves and in your home. Keep them at room temperature to get that perfect pear taste.

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Photo by Ali Atmaca/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Photo by Ali Atmaca/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Cold air will only delay the ripening process and make the pears taste stale. Once the pears have reached peak ripeness, then you can put them in the fridge to keep them crisp and delicious for longer. Have you tried making poached pears? Poached pears are delicious.

Salad Can Stay Out Of The Fridge

You can also leave full salads out of the fridge for extended periods of time as long as that salad doesn’t contain cheese or other dairy products. Mayonnaise-based dressings should also not be left out of the fridge for long periods of time.

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Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post via Getty Images
Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post via Getty Images

You probably don’t want to put dressing on your salad until right before you’re going to eat it anyway, but if you’ve brought a salad to work for lunch and your work fridge is broken or full or something, it’s safe to eat room temperature salad.

There’s No Reason For Canned Tuna To Be In The Fridge

There is no reason at all to store canned tuna in the fridge. As long as the can is sealed, this fish can last forever outside of a cold environment. These cans are packed with preservatives.

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Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

The same is not true for fresh tuna or even opened cans of tuna though. That fish needs to go in the fridge asap. Basically, anything in a can can stay in the pantry.

Cantaloupe Should Stay Away From The Fridge

Look, we all love a chilled melon. We discussed this already back when we were talking about watermelons. But before you put a melon in the fridge, think about how long it’s going to last.

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Photo by: Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/UIG via Getty Images
Photo by: Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/UIG via Getty Images

Research proves that refrigeration actually lowers the number of anti-oxidants within a sealed melon. Slice up your cantaloupe, place it in a sealed container, and chill it before serving (but not any earlier). Which melon do you think is better, watermelon or cantaloupe?

Pumpkins Do Best In The Basement

Pumpkins are now inseparable from October and Halloween, probably because October is a harvest month and pumpkins are harvested in the fall.

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photo by Mike Kemp/In PIctures via Getty Images
photo by Mike Kemp/In PIctures via Getty Images

Pumpkins also thrive in cool, dark places. Your basement is a good place for them. Or in cold storage. Or in a pantry. Just not in the fridge. Refrigerators are too moist for pumpkins. Magic can turn a pumpkin into a carriage, but I don’t know if it can revive a pumpkin that’s gone bad from being in the fridge for too long.

Peanut Butter Should Stay In The Pantry

While it isn’t horrible to keep peanut butter in the fridge, cold refrigerator temperatures can turn your peanut butter rock solid. It’s best to keep this spreadable nut butter in the cupboard or the pantry. Then you can be sure that it will stay spreadable.

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Photo by Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo by Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

If you’re making some kind of peanut butter chocolate concoction, you might want to put peanut butter in the fridge temporarily, but other than that, keep these jars at room temperature.

Spices Enjoy Their Shelf Life

Dried spices definitely don’t need to be kept in the fridge. If you put powdered spices in the fridge, they can absorb moisture and other odors from your refrigerator.

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Photo by Vladimir GerdoTASS via Getty Images
Photo by Vladimir GerdoTASS via Getty Images

Spices don’t need to be preserved, they’re already dry. Just keep them away from humidity and store them in tightly sealed containers. Don’t all of these spices look lovely in glass jars displayed on a shelf? Don’t hide them away in the fridge.

Eggplant Is Very Particular

Eggplant is very sensitive to sunlight. It’s also very sensitive to temperature. This is a finicky vegetable, but it’s also a delicious vegetable, so it’s worth buying and having around.

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Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Keep eggplant separated from other fruits and vegetables. Also, definitely keep it out the fridge and out of direct sunlight. There are so many ways to cook eggplant. You could grill it, you could bake it, you could make eggplant parmesan…

Pineapple Is Not A Fridge Food

Many tropical fruits ripen long after they’re picked, but once pineapples are harvested, they actually don’t become much riper.

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Photo by Sergei BobylevTASS via Getty Images
Photo by Sergei BobylevTASS via Getty Images

That means that there’s no reason to store your pineapple in the fridge unless you like to eat your pineapple cool. May I suggested chopping up your pineapple and storing it in the freezer so that you can use it to make delicious, frozen piña coladas? You’ll just need some coconut milk, pineapple juice, and rum of your choice.

Papaya Should Stay Out Of The Fridge

Putting papaya in the fridge will slow down the fruit’s ripening process, and it could also give it a watery taste. Nobody likes papaya with a watery taste. This fruit needs all of the flavor it can get, so you’re going to want to keep it out of the refrigerator.

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Photo by PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images
Photo by PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images

When it’s ripe and ready, you can cut it up into small, bite-sized pieces, and enjoy this delicious, though mild, tropical fruit.

Sweet Potato Is Not Meant For The Refrigerator

When you put sweet potatoes in the fridge, the structure of their cell walls changes. The cell walls fortify and become hard— even more rigid than the already are.

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Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images

You really don’t want to be eating hard sweet potato. Store these potatoes in a cool, dark, and dry place where they can receive good airflow. If they get too moist, they can rot or become moldy. You definitely don’t want to keep them in a plastic bag.

The Fridge Will Make Donuts Stale

Just like with bread, storing donuts in the fridge will only dry them out and make them go stale faster. If you like cold donuts, you won’t have long until they will be cold and dry.

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Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Keep donuts on the counter or only buy as many as you know you will eat in a timely manner. Why buy a dozen if you’re working from home and the only one eating them?

Vinegar Preserves Itself

If foods like pickles and salsas don’t need to be kept in the fridge because of how much vinegar they contain, then it’s only logical you also don’t need to store vinegar in the fridge.

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David Silverman/Getty Images
David Silverman/Getty Images

There is so much acid in vinegar that it acts as its own preservative. Once you buy vinegar, you really don’t need to worry too much about it until you need to use it. It’s especially nice for making dressings!

Salami Needs To Breathe

Unless your salami specifically says you need to store it in the fridge, you can save room in it for other things. Salami, by its nature, needs to breathe and doesn’t do well in the cold. This is because it’s a living product, so storing it in your fridge would suffocate it.

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Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

It’s no wonder that hikers love grabbing sticks of salami to snack on while they walk for miles at a time.

Aged Cheese Is Cured

This one might seem counterintuitive, but when it comes to aged cheeses, you don’t need to store them in the fridge. We know, cheese is a dairy product, but because the aged ones have been cured, they are shelf-stable.

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Tim Graham/Getty Images
Tim Graham/Getty Images

The curing process for cheeses like gouda, gruyere, and cheddar can take up to six months, and like salami, turns your cheese into a living product, so please treat it with the respect it deserves.

Keep Olives Out Of The Sun And They’re Okay

Because olives are brined, they don’t need to be kept in the fridge. There’s just one caveat. Unless you bought canned olives, you will want to keep them out of the sun. And even with the canned variety, it’s better safe than sorry.

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Lou GRIVE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Lou GRIVE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

In a jar or can, as long as the olives are sitting in their brine, you can save room in your fridge for other less time friendly products.

Beef Jerky Is Another Cured Wonder Food

Beef jerky isn’t sold in the cold section of your local grocery store, so why would you assume it needs to be stored in the fridge? Right, because it’s still a meat product.

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Tannis Toohey/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Tannis Toohey/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Jerky, like salami, is cured, and can survive outside of the fridge. The tasty product has also had the moisture draw out of it, helping it “survive” at normal temperatures. Fun fact: The art of jerky making traces all the way back to ancient Egypt.

Who Puts Potato Chips In The Fridge?

We can’t imagine any situation where a person would consider storing potato chips in the fridge. It’s one of the most shelf-stable foods you can, so why would you even consider it?

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Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Deep-fried in oil, most chips potato chips have a high enough salt and vinegar content that they are safe to eat, even after you open the bag. Of course, you’ll still want to eat them all before they go stale!

Crackers Will Go Stale Faster In The Fridge

Another product that seems shelf-stable, but some people swear by storing in the fridge, is crackers. Once you open the box and start snacking, you don’t need to keep them chilled.

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Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The reason some people keep crackers in the fridge is that they think it will keep them fresher longer. The truth is that crackers stay fresher long on the counter, not in the cold. They act very similar to bread in this regard.

Nuts Will Lose Their Flavor

There is nothing inherently wrong with keeping nuts in the fridge. The generally shelf-stable will even keep fresh a little longer in a cooler temperature. There’s just one major problem.

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Daniel Karmann/picture alliance via Getty Images
Daniel Karmann/picture alliance via Getty Images

When you store nuts in the fridge, even if your intentions are good, the result won’t be. Storing nuts in colder temperatures will cause them to lose their flavor. Your best bet to keep nuts flavorful as long as possible is to keep them in an airtight container in your pantry.

Strawberries Need To Be Stored A Specific Way

Strawberries are tricky when it comes to storing them for later. If you plan to use them within 48 hours, it’s best to leave them on your countertop. If you plan to use them in a few weeks, it’s best to move them to the freezer.

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Photo Credit: Reddit / Proteon
Photo Credit: Reddit / Proteon

If you do want to put them in the fridge then you should make sure they are in a single layer with the stems on. The stems will prolong their life and by leaving them in one layer, you won’t risk having one bad berry spoil the whole bunch.

Don’t Put Perishable Foods In Doors

Many refrigerator doors have compartments to hold eggs and butter. Do not store these items here. Because the doors constantly open and close, they are the warmest part of the refrigerator. The USDA advises people not to keep perishable foods on the door since they will spoil more quickly.

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Digital Light Source/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Digital Light Source/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Instead, keep long-lasting items in the door. Ketchup, mustard, and hot sauce do not grow bacteria as rapidly as other foods. Also, to make these foods last as long as possible, do not keep the door open for long periods.

One Bottle At A Time

Condiments are the worst clutter culprits. Some people forget that they have certain condiments, buy another bottle, and then quickly crowd their refrigerator door. To prevent this, stick to a “one bottle” rule. Do not buy another condiment bottle until one has run out or gone bad.

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Getty Images
Getty Images

Certain condiments have different shelf lives. According to foodsafety.gov, yellow mustard can last for a year after opening, while brown mustard only keeps for two months after opening. Keep track by writing the spoil date on duct tape and sticking it to the container.

Use Spill-Proof Boxes

The easiest way to have a clean refrigerator is to prevent spills. If you have soda bottles, loose fruits, or tubs of soup, keep them in a basket. Use a cardboard or plastic box to organize all of your spillable containers.

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Getty Images
Getty Images

Line the boxes with a cloth or paper towel to immediately soak up spills. If a package can’t fit in the refrigerator door, use an old egg carton. The carton can effectively organize condiment bottles and prevent them from tipping over when you open the door. If spills occur, clean or replace the box.

How To Organize Your Crisper

Registered dietitian Alena Kharlamenko says that crispers work best when they are almost full. At most, keep your crisper around two-thirds full. But don’t crowd your crisper, either. Organize your crisper to keep fruits and vegetables separate.

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Arno Burgi/picture alliance via Getty Images
Arno Burgi/picture alliance via Getty Images

First, line your crisper with a paper towel to soak up leaks. Then, divide your fruits and vegetables into plastic bags, mesh bags, bins, and boxes. Try not to pile them on top of each other. Keeping them in separate containers will prevent spoiling and make your refrigerator look nice.

Separate Fruits And Vegetables

Place fruits and vegetables in separate crispers. The USDA lists two reasons for this. One is that vegetables tend to spoil more quickly when exposed to fruits and vice-versa. Second, fruits and vegetables survive longer in different atmospheres. Vegetables need more humidity, and fruits require less.

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Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/picture alliance via Getty Images
Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/picture alliance via Getty Images

Some crispers have controls that allow people to set the humidity level in each drawer. If you don’t have this, wrap vegetables in plastic bags to increase humidity. Store fruits in containers that allow some air, such as mesh bags or plastic bins with holes.

Keep Leftovers And Milk On The Top Shelves

The top shelves usually have a consistent, non-fluctuating temperature. State Food Safety recommends putting “ready to eat” foods on the top shelf. These don’t need to be stored as long, and hence, they don’t need the lower shelves’ cooler temperatures.

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@hudsoncrafted/Unsplash
@hudsoncrafted/Unsplash

Stack leftovers, milk, juices, and other foods you frequently take out and put back in. Do not keep eggs on the top shelf; it needs to stay cool on the lower shelves. The same goes for raw meat. Most vegetables and fruits should be in the crispers.

Remove All Food Before Cleaning

Every three to four months, deep clean your refrigerator. While deep cleaning, do not leave food inside the fridge. You could easily splash soap on food or containers that you leave inside. Plus, it’s easier to deep clean when the fridge is empty.

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Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The CDC recommends washing removable components first. Remove all shelves and drawers, and soak them in hot, soapy water. While these are soaking, scrub the walls and door with soapy water. Rinse all of the parts and dry them entirely before putting the fridge back together.

Prevent Raw Meat Contamination

Raw meat packages can easily leak and contaminate other foods. To prevent this, follow the USDA’s advice: wrap raw meat containers in plastic bags or paper bags. Do not keep raw meats on the top shelf. They could drip onto other foods, such as fruits and vegetables.

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Shutterbug75/Pixabay
Shutterbug75/Pixabay

Meat safety experts at the University of Illinois recommend storing all raw meat, seafood, and poultry on the bottom shelf. When thawing raw meat, store it in a container to catch any stray juices. Remember that uncooked meats remain safe for three to five days.

Eliminate Odors With Baking Soda, Not Sprays

Are there any strong smells coming from your fridge? If so, do not use pleasant-smelling cleaning sprays. According to the USDA, these chemicals can leech into your food, even if you wipe them up after spraying the shelves. Only clean your refrigerator with warm water and dish soap.

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Tom Kelley/Getty Images
Tom Kelley/Getty Images

Instead, place an open box of baking soda on a shelf. The McGill Office for Science and Society explains that baking soda neutralizes bacteria that cause odor. Do not open a small corner; keep the box open and leave it in your fridge for one day.

Create A Leftover Calendar

While leftovers can make easy meals, they also quickly crowd your refrigerator. As a general rule, you should throw away leftovers after four days, says the USDA. But how do you keep track of several leftovers throughout the week?

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ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images
ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images

Create a leftover calendar to post on your fridge. Using a whiteboard or sheet of paper, record the date in which you store the leftover. Organization expert Melissa Coghlan recommends stacking leftovers on the top shelf in clear containers. If you can’t make a list, write the date onto the leftover’s container.

Do Not Put Plates, Bowls, Or Cups In The Fridge

Some people cover a plate of leftovers with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge. Food will spoil more quickly this way. When leftovers are not properly sealed, bacteria grow more rapidly. This contaminates the fridge shelves, food, and plates.

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DeAgostini/Getty Images
DeAgostini/Getty Images

To keep your refrigerator uncluttered and clean, follow a “no plates” rule. Do not put plates, bowls, mugs, or other dishes in the fridge. Transfer all leftovers to sealed bags or containers. If the food is hot, store it in a shallow container to cool down rapidly, says the USDA.

Don’t Store Things That Don’t Need Refrigerating

It seems obvious: don’t store foods in the refrigerator that don’t need to be there. But many people don’t know that certain foods can last without refrigeration. Hot sauce, ketchup, honey, apples, peaches, garlic, onions, and other foods can survive outside of the fridge.

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Francis Dean/Corbis via Getty Images
Francis Dean/Corbis via Getty Images

Before tossing potatoes in the crisper, double-check if it actually needs to be refrigerated. You don’t want to over-crowd your fridge with food. Some produce, such as avocados and garlic, can make other foods spoil more quickly while in the fridge.

Label The Shelves And Drawers

Make organization easier by labeling the shelves and drawers of your fridge. Don’t draw directly on the fridge; the ink could leak into your food. Write on duct tape and paste it on the shelves. This will help you remember how to organize your fridge.

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Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Write the foods that you store in certain areas. For example, label the door shelves as “condiments,” one crisper as “fruits,” and another crisper as “vegetables.” If you have leftover containers, label those too. When you glance inside of your fridge, you’ll immediately know what you have and where it is.

Every Week, Sort Through Your Fridge

If you’re tired of an overcrowded fridge, clean it out on the same day every week. Throw away old leftovers, replace shelf linings, and remove moldy produce. Double-check the “best by” dates on containers to see if anything has gone bad. Vacuum any crumbs that have fallen out of packages.

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Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Clean your fridge before you go grocery shopping. It will let you know which foods you need to buy and which ones are still fresh. Although it might seem tedious now, it will save you time while deep cleaning later.

Clean Spills Immediately

If you spot a spill or a leak, do not hesitate to clean it up. The longer you wait, the more bacteria will spread onto other food and shelves. When you spot a spill, remove everything from that shelf or drawer. Wash it with hot, soapy water, as per CDC guidelines. Rinse and dry it before replacing the food.

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DAVID BREWSTER/Star Tribune via Getty Images
DAVID BREWSTER/Star Tribune via Getty Images

If the spill got on other containers, clean those with warm, soapy water. If you can still smell the mess afterward, make a cleaning solution with one part baking soda and seven parts water. Wash the fridge with this solution, and the smell will disappear.

Don’t Wash Produce Before Putting It In

Experts at Texas A&M University warn people not to wash their fruits and vegetables before putting them in the fridge. Why? Because it makes your produce spoil more quickly. Washing adds moisture, and more water will make fruits and vegetables decay faster. Clean them right before you eat them.

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Mohssen Assanimoghaddam/picture alliance via Getty Images
Mohssen Assanimoghaddam/picture alliance via Getty Images

Delicate produce, such as berries, is more prone to spoilage after washing. Some heartier vegetables can handle early washing, including carrots, zucchini, and sweet potatoes. If you wash these vegetables before putting them in the fridge, dry them entirely before storing them.

Line The Refrigerator Shelves

Lining your refrigerator shelves may sound excessive, but it makes cleaning so much easier. Liners catch spillage before they reach the shelves. You can pick up most of the spill with the liner before it drips onto other shelves. Some liners are even machine washable.

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@brett_jordan/Unsplash
@brett_jordan/Unsplash

You can buy liners at many popular chains such as Target and Amazon, or you can make your own. You can buy washable plastic mats at dollar stores in many different designs. Cut plastic placemats to fit inside the shelves or drawers.

Prevent Refrigerated Food From Freezing

Have you ever seen ice crystals develop on food in the freezer? Freezing could alter the taste and texture of food. If this happens, double-check that your refrigerator is between 38-42°F. If it is, you may want to reorganize your fridge.

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Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Search for a cooling vent inside the refrigerator. If your food is directly beneath it, that could be the cause of freezing. Reorganize the contents to make sure that your favorite foods don’t develop ice crystals. Also, filling the refrigerator with more food can prevent freezing.

Use Six-Pack Containers As Storage

If several bottles get knocked around every time you open the refrigerator door, try using old six-pack containers. These cardboard containers keep bottles in place, even condiments such as ketchup. Plus, many of them can fit inside of refrigerator door shelves.

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Stan Badz/PGA TOUR
Stan Badz/PGA TOUR

Six-pack containers could also arrange food on the shelves. Use it for soda or water bottles, sauces, and even ziplock bags. If you don’t have a six-pack, you can create one by dividing a cardboard box in half with another strip of cardboard.

Organize, Hang, And Preserve Food With Binder Clips

Binder clips are the best object to organize your fridge. Many people use them to seal bags of cheese, lettuce, and chopped vegetables. They prevent food from spoiling earlier. However, you can also use clips to organize your refrigerator.

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reddit/u/Roxanne712
reddit/u/Roxanne712

If you have a rack in your fridge, take advantage of it. Place a binder clip on the frame to prevent soda bottles from rolling all over the fridge. You can also hang bags from racks with binder clips. Get creative–a few clips can transform your entire fridge.