Did you know that you can sometimes ruin great food by putting it in the refrigerator? Most of us were brought up to believe that you bring your groceries home and immediately put them in the cooler to keep them fresh, longer. But with some foods, that’s actually the worst thing you can do.
You’re probably already aware that you should store root vegetables and herbs — such as potatoes, garlic, and onions — on the counter, preferably in a dry, cool, dark place. But did you know that many other fresh foods actually taste better, longer when they aren’t refrigerated?
It’s true. And the “crisper” drawer won’t help offset the damage done by putting your produce in the icebox. Your farmers market fruits and veggies won’t necessarily spoil faster, but they’ll taste worse. Here’s a list of what NOT to refrigerate:
Bread: That crusty loaf will get hard, and the texture will get weird. The cold actually speeds up a process called retrogradation — the natural chemical reaction in bread that leads to it eventually getting stale.
Fruit: Berries taste better at room temperature. So do apples, oranges and melons. Avocado will actually spoil faster in the cooler, and so will bananas. In general, if you have to store fruits long-term you can refrigerate. But for best flavor, and to avoid soggy, moldy fruit, keep them on the counter, use within a day or two of buying, and only wash right before you eat them.
Squash: These do fine on a table or windowsill. Refrigeration will cause them to get soft and spoil more quickly.
Tomatoes: The cold damages the membrane of the tomato, which makes it seem watery and ruins the flavor.
Coffee, Nuts, Oils, Syrups, and Honey: Sugars and oils crystallize or harden in the cold. Both keep better in a pantry. Did you know sugar is a natural preservative? You can even keep real, natural maple syrup in a pantry. Again, the foods will all just taste better.
A final word: the best rule to follow is to buy your food fresh, and eat it quickly. Long-term storage is for processed foods, not for whole fresh ingredients. It can take a little more effort to eat fresh foods, but it’s worth it — for the flavor, and for your health.
Do you love eating great meals, made with the freshest ingredients? Or, maybe you choose to eat clean. When you’re a foodie and care about what you put into your body, you naturally want to learn more about how to choose, store, and prepare the best. We do, too! Please visit us in store or online, or give us a call. We want to share our love of food with you!