The refrigerator is lauded as one of the greatest inventions of the modern day, and for good reason! Your refrigerator is an amazing tool to keep food fresher longer so it’s still good and not spoiled when you’re ready to use it. However, your fridge is not the best place for everything. We’ve got a list of 6 foods you might be putting in your fridge that actually last longer if you don’t.
1 – Onions
Onions seem to find their way into almost every dish, so it’s vital for the home cook to have a fresh cache of these workhorse veggies on hand. It turns out the refrigerator is not the best storage space for onions, though. To keep their protective papery skin in proper working order, they should be stored in a place that is cool, dry, and has good air flow. They also do best in the dark, so keep them off your sunny countertops!
2 – Potatoes
There’s a reason your grandma kept her potatoes in a root cellar. While these delicious and versatile vegetables do like cool conditions, they don’t want to be refrigerator cold. Keep them somewhere cool and dark, and be sure they aren’t touching anything plastic! Transferring them out of their plastic bags and into natural material saps like burlap is a great idea for storing potatoes, or try a paper bag in a pinch.
3 – Garlic
Oh, garlic, how we love what you do to a pasta sauce. This compact little natural flavor bundle deserves some tender loving care while it’s in your kitchen, and that means keeping it out of the refrigerator. Unpeeled garlic should be kept somewhere cool and out of direct sunlight with good ventilation so its paper skin can stay papery. Yes, your favorite Italian restaurant had those strings of garlic hanging in the corner for a reason! Once you peel your garlic, however, keep it in the fridge because peeled garlic goes bad quickly!
4 – Basil
This powerhouse flavor enhancer does not do well in the refrigerator. Stored in the fridge, it tends to wilt and turn brown fairly quickly. Treat this magnificent herb like you would fresh flowers from the garden. Keep it in water on your countertop to extend its life a few days until you’re ready to add some zest to your favorite tomato sauce!
5 – Sweet Potatoes
Don’t let these beautiful root vegetables languish in your fridge! Much like their less sweet friend the potato, sweet potatoes like a cool, dark home. They also don’t like to be stored in plastic. Each sweet potato needs its space so rather than bagging them up, try to give them a little breathing room so they’re well ventilated, like in a basket.
6 – Bread
Preserving bread can be tricky! What your fridge might do to help slow the growth of mold on your bread at room temperature has to be weighed against the way your fridge contributes to the recrystallization of starch in your bread, called retrogradation. Basically, storing bread in the fridge can make the bread go stale faster. The solution? Believe it or not, bread freezes a lot better than it refrigerates, so if you can’t use it all when it’s fresh, just freeze it and thaw later in the oven when you’re ready to eat it.