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Foods That You Should Never Refrigerate

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Fridges are one of the most important parts of our kitchen. The ability to cool our food can keep them fresher for longer, saving time, money, and reduces the risks of eating spoiled foods. However, not all that glitters eis gold – while your milk may benefit from cooling temperatures, there are a surprising number of items you should not refrigerate.

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We break down some of the foods that are not appropriate to keep cool, due to potential health risks – this list might just save your life.  


Potatoes

Cold climates convert starch into sugar much sooner than warm ones. That’s not very good news for potato lovers! Whether it’s boiled, mashed, or roasted, you can eat them any way you want. Just don’t keep them cold!

Wounds and Cracks

When you buy them, be sure to keep them in a cool (but not cold!) and dry place in your kitchen. That way, they’ll last longer and won’t turn too hard before cooking.

Bananas

It’s safe to say that the banana doesn’t benefit from the cooler climate of a fridge. The cold temperature can actually have the reverse effect by turning them black quicker.

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When buying your bananas, be sure to catch them before they’re ripe so they can mature in room temperature in your kitchen. Another fun fact about bananas: they’re great for your blood pressure, so get chewing.

Whole Melons

Like bananas, the cold temperature can speed up the rotting process. When buying a melon, try to keep them in a cool, but not cold, and dry place. You’ll probably be buying these in the summer time, so we can see how you would want to keep them cold.

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If you’re buying a whole melon you are probably entertaining friends, so make sure to cut it up and eat it quickly before it dries up! This is the perfect summer treat to enjoy in the garden.

Basil

Basil is a great herb to have around the house. Its unique taste makes for the perfect cooking partner to spice up your life kitchen. Just remember: it should be kept at a temperature of at least 40 degrees F (4C).

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Anything less than this can cause black marks to appear on the plant and ruin their taste. Be sure to keep it in a little bit of water and in the shade. That way, the herb will last a lot longer than if it was in the fridge.

Onions

Onions don’t just rely on warmer climates than fridges, they actually depend on clear and open air circulation to keep them fresh. Whether they’re chopped or fried, you need to look after them the same way you would any other food.

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Strangely, you should keep them far away from your potatoes, since they can speed up onions’ aging processes. It’s safe to say these foods don’t get on! Make sure they’re kept in different parts of the kitchen – with neither in the fridge.

Coffee

Some people keep coffee in their fridges – and then some people are normal. It should NEVER be kept in the fridge – coffee needs air circulation and dry air to breathe and remain fresh. A fridge only keeps it in the moist, cold, and trapped air alongside all your other foods.

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Keep it airtight away from sunlight. That way, the taste and brewing process isn’t affected by the cold. You’ll thank us in your mornings when you sip on your boiling hot cup of espresso! 

Garlic

If you want your garlic to sprout early, then fridges will take care of that for you. It will also attract mold on the skin and within the inner layers of each bulb. So really the choice is up to you. But we would recommend keeping it somewhere dry and warm.

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The best thing about accidentally putting your garlic in the fridge is that all the rotting occurs from inside the cloves, so you won’t be able to see it. Unless you’re protecting your friend who happens to be a vampire, you shouldn’t do this. 

Hot Sauces

Most hot sauces contain vinegar and certain preservatives that slow down molding and bacteria from growing. Although keeping your favorite condiments cold won’t speed up the molding process, it might just reduce their strength.

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You might think you have taste buds made of steel, but it’s your fridge helping you. Next time, keep your bottle of Tabasco on the kitchen counter and see how impressive you can be with it. We bet you’ll notice the difference.

Bread

You should never keep bread in your fridge, as it makes it look and feel older than it actually is. Hm… maybe this writer has been keeping himself in a fridge all these years? Anyway… 

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Cold air speeds up the staling process making it last a lot shorter than usual. Next time, it will be better to put your bread in the fridge exclusively in its sandwich form. Once it’s cut and joined with all your favorite sandwich fillings, its components act a little differently.

Oils

Fats solidify when kept in cold temperatures, which is unideal for your favorite Olive Oil. Yes, it might be good for you to have a healthy intake of fats and oils, but what good is oil when you’re ruining it?

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If you’ve made the mistake of putting it in the fridge, you can always zap it in the microwave for a few seconds, so not all is lost! A little bit of warmth should bring it back to some of its original potency, but nothing compared to avoiding the fridge altogether.

Honey

Honey can last for hundreds of years when kept in an airtight jar – you probably have some in your kitchen from 2002, too. This writer bought a jar in the 1990s that is stick looking great. You know why? We didn’t put it in the fridge!

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If you keep this sweet item in your fridge you might see it crystalize and give it a tough texture. It will make scooping nature’s nectar that much harder and your oatmeal or sandwiches a lot less satisfying.

Pumpkin

If you said you only bought and stores pumpkins in the month of October, we wouldn’t blame you. These things apparently are only popular for one month during Halloween and the time when Starbucks makes its Pumpkin Spiced Latte.

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If you’re thinking of actually eating these in the other months, remember that pumpkins will go bad two or three days after putting it in the fridge, so it’s better not to. Next time, keep them nearby in the kitchen and watch them ripen at a normal pace.

Apricots, Kiwi, Peaches, Mangoes

Rounding up all the fruit that bears resemblance to melons and tomatoes, these items develop crystals and can turn fruits rotten quicker when refrigerated.

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It is best to leave them all in your brand-new fruit bowl you will buy after reading this list, where you can keep them alongside fruits that have yet to be mentioned. What are they? Click to find out…

Peanut Butter

Whether you like crunchy or smooth, we can all agree that peanut butter is enjoyed best when you can actually spread the darn thing. There’s nothing worse than going to make a PB&J and having to wait for it to warm up to stick your knife in. 

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Keeping it in the fridge hardens the spread and makes it hard to apply to bread. Next time, keep it in the cupboard and avoid this problem altogether. No longer will the bread have to battle between hard peanut butter and soft jelly!

Flour

This suggestion is based on convenience rather than necessity. Nothing bad will happen to flour if kept in the fridge, but there are also no benefits. So why wouldn’t you keep it in the fridge? Well, let us tell you…

Wikipedia

So save some space in your fridge by omitting this item entirely. Save the space for milk or other items that need it. Since there’s no reason to keep flour in the fridge, it’s better to be more space efficient in other ways.

Pickles

A jar of pickles contains the same vinegar that hot sauces have, so fridges will have the same effect on your favorite cucumbers if you store them there. It can be tempting to keep these things ‘fresh’ in the fridge, but you’re actually doing the opposite.

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It is best to keep these in a cupboard in your kitchen and save refrigeration for only a few minutes if necessary. Maybe just before you cut them for a salad or a snack. To avoid the smell, consider keeping them in an airtight jar.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce has quickly become an essential item in most people’s kitchen. Whether it’s sushi or Chinese food, there’s no denying how popular it is today. Unless you keep to a low-sodium diet (which we all should), then your soy sauce belongs in a cupboard.

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The sauce has natural antibacterial ingredients which extend when kept at room temperature. Keeping it cold reduces the effectiveness of these ingredients and also affects the taste. Do this and see your sushi palette improve.

Avocados

Ask any millennial and they can tell you: the best time to purchase your avocado is just before the time it’s completely ripe. Trust us: they’ve had years of practice ever since reading about them on Buzzfeed in 2015.

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You shouldn’t keep an avocado in your fridge until this process is finished, so it’s better to keep them on your kitchen counter until then. Once you cut them open, be prepared to battle an incredibly short shelf life. You’ll have to eat it quickly.

Jerky/Biltong

This one makes sense – jerky is nothing more than dried meat, so why keep it in a place with moisture? The best jerky is the type that stays dry for a long period of time. Your kitchen cupboard or counter is the perfect place.

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Store your jerky at room temperature and preferably in a dry or airtight container. That way, you can eat it over a longer period of time and not worry about its lifeline. 

Tomatoes

We understand the urge to have a nice, cold tomato in your sandwich or salad, but this can cause the fruit to gain a grainy, weird texture. It might disappoint tomato lovers to learn that these juicy fruits should be kept at room temperature, and not in the fridge.

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The best way to store tomatoes is in a warm and dry area, avoiding the growth of crystals and accelerated rotting. If you want them chilled in a salad, consider putting them in the fridge for a few minutes before you cut them. 

Salad

It may seem like your salad belongs in the fridge to keep it fresh for longer, but this might not be the case. Your salad will survive at room temperature for a few hours, so there’s no need to cool it in your fridge to prevent its wilting. 

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If you’ve already dressed it, then there’s no chance in prolonging its life, so you might as well dig in. The dressing will speed up the moisture of the veggies and make its lifeline considerably shorter. So make sure to time it correctly before digging in. 

Peppers

Here’s a myth about to be debunked for you – fridges don’t add crispness or increase the spiciness of a pepper. We know you’ve probably spent your entire life thinking this, but consider this myth busted!

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In fact, the cold temperature will decrease the spiciness of your favorite peppers. Keep them in a bag in a dry place to keep their taste. This applies to all bell peppers: red, green, orange, or yellow. So no matter your preference, you can use the same advice.

Ketchup

Here’s another debate among condiment owners: where do you keep your ketchup? Most of us probably keep our ketchup in the fridge once it’s open, but the vinegar in the sauce will react badly to cold air over time.

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It is best to keep it in the cupboard where it belongs and it will keep the taste longer. This will also prevent the runny watered residue we all hate and try to avoid. The same can be said for other condiments with a high amount of vinegar, so keep it in mind when you go shopping.

Pears

There are few things as refreshing as a nice cold fruit on a summer’s day. Sadly, if you want your fruit nicely chilled, this is a pleasure you have to reserve for other fruits. Pears won’t benefit from the fridge treatment and should be kept on the kitchen counter or a cupboard.

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The skin of pears is particularly delicate, and cold air ruins their juicy and delicious crispiness. Next time you stock up on this underdog of a fruit, keep them in your fruit bowl and enjoy the tastes for days after purchase.

Canned Tuna

Canned tuna is the quintessential item for people who want to store items in their kitchen for a long time. An unopened tin can last for weeks, months, or even years. Can you think of anyone you know who doesn’t have a can of this stuff in a cupboard somewhere?

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The truth is, the juices that coat and saturate the fish can be preserved in an airtight tin for years. But once it’s opened it’s a different story. While tuna can last a few days outside the fridge, the coldness of a fridge can ruin it. Make sure to keep tuna out the fridge!

Spices

Who doesn’t love a fancy spice rack on display? Normally, we keep them in a nice rack either out for everyone to see or hidden in a cupboard. Whichever way you like to do it, just make sure you don’t keep them in the fridge!

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Most ground spices can last for years when kept at room temperature (everyone has cinnamon from 2009). When they are stored in cold and damp environments, the flavor actually decreases and they’ll quickly lose their edge. After only a few days, the smells will leave.

Cucumbers

This one might seem a little counterintuitive, particularly since so many people like them chilled. Actually, the cool air can speed up the decaying process. With cucumbers, this is some bad news indeed.

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The skin will be the first to go in the cold air, shortening their life from weeks to days. Next time, keep them at room temperature and see how much longer they will last. If you’re making a salad, don’t worry. They can be kept there for a few hours.

Apples

Similar to pears, apples benefit most when they are stored at room temperature. This can be tempting to defy since everyone loves a chilled crunchy apple to bite into, but you must resist! The best place to keep an apple is in a fruit bowl in the kitchen.

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This is because the fridge can speed up the decay process. This, in turn, ruins the texture, smell, and flavor of your favorite Granny Smith. When you buy them, be sure to keep them warm. After all, this is how they come when you buy them in the store.

Carrots

Carrots are similar to cucumbers in their genetic makeup and how they react to the chilling process. Like cucumbers, the cold air of a fridge will speed up the rotting process. This is because of the amount of water naturally found in these vegetables.

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healthline.com

If you keep your carrots at room temperature, you’ll start to see them last longer by storing their water more comfortably. Again, if you want to eat your carrots chilled, there is no harm in cooling them for a few hours first.

Cereal

It doesn’t matter if it’s a healthy cereal or a sugary treat for the kids – you should never store it in the fridge. Once a box is opened, you can simply roll the plastic bag and tie it shut to keep the air out. No need to chill it.

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Cereals will not only absorb the moisture in your fridge, but they will subsequently absorb the smells in it, too. So keeping this in your fridge will actually affect all the other foods, and not just this one. If you want your cereal chilled, simply rely on the milk!

Butternut Squash

The humidity in your fridge can actually speed up the spoiling process of your favorite butternut squash. This is unpreventable – even if it’s whole and hasn’t been cut yet. Generally, you’re going to want to keep this as far away from the fridge as possible!

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Next time, make sure to store your squash in a dry place. That way, the humidity won’t affect the rotting process and speed up its decay. However, also keep in mind that direct sunlight can ruin it, too, so it’s better to keep it indoors.

Tropical Fruits

What’s one thing tropical fruits all have in common? Fruits like mangoes, passion fruits, coconut, and pineapple were all grown in hot climates. These are literally designed to retain their texture and moisture in warm temperatures.

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That’s why it’s not advised to keep them in the fridge – they’re simply not used to it. Next time, store these on a counter in your kitchen – but be sure to wrap them in protective materials to keep the flies at bay!

Butter

Similar to peanut butter, butter has properties that make it undesirable to store in a cool place. This is because the cold temperature can cause it to become hard or give it a wax-like texture. It can also affect the flavor and odor of other foods!

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Next time, keep your butter at room temperature and only cool it if a recipe calls for it. You’ll be happy to see you won’t need to stab at it with a knife due to a hardened surface.

Yogurt

Of course, we all know that yogurt tastes much better when it’s chilled compared to a warm version. In fact, keeping it in a fridge does nothing for the shelf life of any yogurt – it’s purely for taste.

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The yogurt mentioned here is strictly healthy, low-fat Greek yogurt. That’s because it comes with good bacteria which prevents the yogurt from spoiling. Fun fact: it’s also good for your blood pressure and digestion.

Cheese

Like other dairy items on this list, cheese is best kept at room temperature than in the fridge. Of course, by cheese we mean actual good quality cheese and not the rubber that kids like to eat! This is because cheese needs to be kept as dry as possible.

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Meg Baggott

Next time, keep cheese away from places that produce a lot of moisture – like a fridge! The cool and humid parts of the fridge will do everything it can to speed up the rotting process, so keep it warm and comfortable.

Citrus

We know what you’re thinking: orange juice tastes great ice cold and straight from the fridge. However, oranges and other citrus fruits should never be kept in the refrigerator. The reasons for this are similar to our friends – tropical fruits!

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They were grown in hot climates and the warmth of your kitchen actually actively helps the ripening process. Storing them in a fridge can prevent this process and make them hard and bitter.

Chocolate

Have you ever wondered why chocolate is never stored in the fridge at your local supermarket? It’s because the cooling effect has a terrible consequence on the delicious product we all love! Chocolate should definitely not be kept in the fridge.

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The process of making chocolate involves heating and cooling different cocoa beans with powder and milk, This means that any additional cooling can, in fact, ruin the crystals and sheen. Keep it in mind next time you buy chocolate. Except for white chocolate, because we all know that isn’t chocolate.

Jam/Jelly

Jam and jelly that are bought in the store are usually packed with preservatives. This means that a cold fridge is pretty redundant in terms of keeping them fresh for a long time after purchase. Sadly, even though cold jam is a nice addition to warm toast, you won’t want to do it.

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The moisture from the fridge will seep into your toast and dampen it. Next time, spread the jam or jelly warm: this way, it’ll stay moist in all the right places and make sure that it doesn’t sacrifice the bread you’ve just been toasting. Enjoy!

Salad Dressing

Salads should generally not be kept in the fridge, and this is particularly true if you have already dressed in salad dressing and vinaigrette. The largest part of their ingredients are oil and vinegar, which are perfectly capable of living outside a fridge.

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What’s more, the cooling air can actually cause the oil to solidify, creating chunks of fat in and around the salad. That’s basically the opposite effect you want when eating a salad!

Eggplant

Eggplants are incredibly sensitive to the temperatures around them. Their texture and flavor can be altered by minor changes, and so it’s important to store them in places that are consistent. You might think that place is a fridge, but you’d be woefully mistaken.

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Eggplants need room temperature to best get a hold of that famous crunchy texture they’re known for. Keep them in a bowl in the kitchen out of direct sunlight and see how their shelf life will improve.

Pineapple

Pineapple is one of the rare foods that will not continue its ripening process once it’s picked. Since you don’t need to help accelerate (or slow down!) the ripening speed, keeping them in the fridge is simply a waste of space. For the first few days, there’s no need to keep it in the fridge and you can make room for other items.

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After around three days, you’ll want to put it in the fridge. Also, consider keeping it in the fridge once it’s been cut up and is in a salad or Tupperware box. The oxygen will speed up the ripening process.

Papaya

Papaya is like most of the other fruits that are grown in the Southern Hemisphere. This means that the cold temperatures of a fridge actually do little to help the ripening process. Papaya’s age best when they’re stored in a warm and dry place.

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Next time you buy your delicious papaya, consider keeping it in a fruit bowl and not in a chilly refrigerator. That way, it will age the way it was intended – in warm and comfortable climates.

Sweet Potato

Much like its cousin, the potato, sweet potatoes can have their cellular structure affected by cold climates. This will eventually ruin the mashing or frying process when you decide to cook them. If you have already put them in the fridge, not all is lost!

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You can simply remove them from the fridge but make sure they are completely warmed up before you use them. This is because the cold temperatures can negatively impact the cooking process. Make sure the potatoes are completely thawed.

Nuts

The best thing about nuts is their nuttiness. Well, what if we told you that storing nuts in a cold climate removes all semblance of that famous taste? In fact, both extremes – hot and cold – can affect the taste and texture of your favorite nut.

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When you stack up on nuts, keep them in a pantry or cupboard to make sure they last as long as possible. You don’t want to bust your nut too early, so keep them in air-proof bags.

Chocolate Spread

Chocolate spreads, like Nutella, have the same chemical compounds as peanut butter. As previously mentioned, these types of spreads can harden in the fridge and ruin your piece of bread with one swift swipe of a knife.

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Keep your chocolate spread neatly next to your peanut butter in the cupboard to make sure it stays the right texture. In fact, soft Nutella is much better than a hard alternative. You can thank us later! Maybe try these two together? Taste overload.

Cake

In the rare occasions that you have cake actually leftover, you won’t want to put it in the fridge. Cake must be kept in an airtight container at room temperature to make sure it doesn’t go stale or hard over time.

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Photographer: Alison Miksch, Pro

However, every rule has an exception: frosted cake. If you have a delicious coat of frosting on your cake, then you will need to store it at a cool climate to make sure the frost doesn’t go sour. Piece of cake!

Berries

Like many fruits, their countdown clock starts ticking as soon as they’re picked. This means that it’s a rush to keep them cold from basically the moment they are taken off the trees. You’ll notice that the berries you buy aren’t kept cold in the supermarket. Well, this is why.

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Putting them in the fridge will do nothing to prevent spoilage and can actually speed up the molding process. This is because fruit does badly in humidity – so watch out. You can keep your berries in a bowl in a warm and dry place.

Dried Fruit

These fruits have the same properties as dried meat already mentioned above. They will need to avoid all humid climates to help keep them dry for longer. A fridge will actually do the opposite of that and add unwanted moisture to your new dried banana or apricot.

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AlekZotoff

You will want to keep portions of dried fruit in airtight bags at room temperature. Anything less than that will speed up the rotting process and ruin the taste and texture. What’s more, cold temperatures can harden the fruit making it even worse.

Mint

Similar to basil, mint doesn’t have a nice relationship with cold temperatures. If mint is placed in a cold and wet environment, then it is easier for it to become a victim of mold. Like basil, keep it in airtight jars or boxes and preferably from direct sunlight.

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EO Products

Mint is best kept in a cupboard and tight box which can help it last longer over time. Then, when you’re ready you’ll be able to enjoy your mint tea without disruption.

Mustard

Mustard is similar to ketchup in its chemical makeup. Usually, people keep it in the fridge without so much as a second thought, but this can have terrible effects on your condiment over time. This is because of the high levels of acidity.

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Next time, keep your mustard next to your ketchup in a cupboard in the kitchen. This way, you won’t get any of that watery residue (similar to ketchup), and the taste will stay the same for longer.

Kiwi

There are many fruits that shouldn’t be kept in the fridge, and Kiwis are certainly one of them. They have the same chemical compound as apricots which means the cold temperatures can speed up the rotting process.

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medicalnewstoday.com

When you buy your kiwis, keep them in a fruit bowl until you cut them open. That way, they will ripen slower and last for longer in your home. Aside from the practical advantage of a fruit bowl, it also helps you decorate your home.

Peaches

We know that a chilled peach is one of the nicest things to eat on a summer day. However, if you keep this item in a fridge then it may not last the day! Cold temperatures affect peaches in such a way that would cause them to rot quicker.

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Don’t keep your peaches in a compartment in your fridge – they’re much better suited for a warmth similar to their tropical hometown. This is one of the many seasonal foods that don’t benefit from cold chills.

Mangoes

No one likes the idea of a warm and soggy mango, but the alternative is simply rotten! Mangoes need warm climates to reduce the ripening process. If they are kept in cold fridges, then they will turn black much quicker than usual.

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If you still want your cold mango, you can keep it in the fridge for a few hours before you eat it. Just be mindful about how it can affect this delicious tropical fruit – you have been warned!

Canned Coconut Milk

There seems to be a wild craze at the moment about coconut milk and its myriad of benefits. Just one can of coconut milk contains useful fats for people who are exercising and building muscle. It is also low in carbs and sugar.

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The benefit of coconut milk is its ability to last outside of the fridge. Now, you can reserve the space for items that actually need space – like real milk. Your canned coconut milk will be just fine in a cupboard.

Protein Powers

Here’s another piece of advice for all the exercise junkies out there. Your protein powder can last for weeks on your kitchen counter without needing a fridge. When you buy a tub of the magic powder, you can simply store it in the cupboard.

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Getty Images/iStockphoto

Of course, this changes once you transform your protein powder into a shake or cocktail. Once you mix it with milk or ice cream, then you can store it in the fridge for later!

Red Wine

Wine lovers, rejoice! As you probably know, red wine can sit on the shelves for years and is still good to drink decades after it’s been bottled. Does this change once it’s been open? For red wine, the answer is no.

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vincarta.com

White wine may benefit from being chilled in the fridge, but red wine lovers can relax knowing they can simply put it back in the cupboard. That is, if the bottle isn’t finished upon the initial opening!

Grapes

Have you noticed how grapes are never kept in the fridge in supermarkets? The reason for this is clear: they benefit most from warm climates. Once you take them home, feel free to leave them in your fruit bowl – room temperature keeps them alive for longer.

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If you want a cold grape, you can chill them for a few hours before you eat them – but that’s it. Better yet, store a bunch in the freezer and eat them on a hot summer’s day! It’s the best snack you never knew about.

Read More: Superfoods To Consider To Reduce Your Blood Pressure


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