Updated: Sep 26, 2018 2:33 pm
We all want our food to be tasty, but a lot of what determines how delicious our meals are happens before you even turn on your stove. Knowing how to properly store kitchen staples like onions, garlic, and potatoes can greatly improve your food’s taste — and it all starts with not mindlessly tossing produce in the fridge. Did you know that most of your fresh fruits and veggies don’t actually need to go in the refrigerator?
Dozens of ingredients that you cook with often last longer outside the fridge or freezer. In fact, cold temperatures and moisture inside your appliances can cause your produce to ripen slower and mold faster. To get the most from your farmers market finds, it'd be best to let them sit and do their own thing.
Keep scrolling to discover the kitchen items most people mistakenly put in their fridge.
Instead of storing onions in your crisper drawer, you'll want to leave them somewhere cool and dry. Your fridge is a naturally moist environment, which isn’t ideal for onions. In fact, excess moisture can cause your onions to become mushy and moldy. However, once the onion has been cut and tears have been shed, seal it in a plastic bag and toss it in your fridge.
Coffee Beans and Grounds
Caffeine junkies, listen up: Coffee beans and grounds should not — we repeat, should not — be refrigerated. At first, it makes sense to store beans in the fridge or freezer. Coffee beans need to be somewhere cool, and what's cooler than your fridge? In reality, though, the fridge and freezer are terrible places to store coffee beans and grounds because of one thing: moisture. Constantly opening your appliance's doors creates temperature fluctuations that lead to condensation. In the end, you'll wind up with bad beans and dull-tasting java. Coffee is full of health benefits, but don’t you want to actually enjoy each sip?
Figuring out how to ripen avocados quickly is a science, and step one is to make sure you're not storing it in the fridge. Unripe avocados will take longer to reach peak deliciousness if you put them somewhere cold. Instead, put your avocado in a paper bag with an unripe banana. The banana will release ethylene gas, which will speed up your avocado's ripening.
And once your avocado is ready to be eaten, make sure you're using every part of it — including the nutrition-rich peel. You can even use the pits to cook up a good-for-you broth.
There are so many ways to enjoy a spud, be it baked or fried, but you'll never get to enjoy its soft, fluffy goodness if you store it in the fridge. Potatoes in the fridge will develop a sweet, gritty flavor as the cold temperatures cause the starch to break down — yuck! The proper way to store potatoes is to put them is in a well-ventilated container in a cool, dry part of your home. A paper bag or a cardboard box in the basement should do the trick.
Honey will basically last you forever (archaeologists found a 5,500-year-old jar of honey a few years ago). Over time, though, honey will begin to crystallize. Leaving honey in the fridge can speed up this crystallization process, so while the honey is still technically edible, it doesn't taste, smell, or look the same. And because honey — especially manuka honey — is great for healing wounds, you'll want to keep it from crystallizing so it's slightly runny and easier to use. Trying to spread crystallized honey on cuts sounds painful!
The best-tasting chocolate is a bar that's been left sitting out. Wait, but what if I like cold chocolate? That's all well and good, but leaving chocolate in the fridge is a surefire way to end up with a dull-tasting, grainy, chalky, brown hunk. Room-temperature chocolate is best, and if you have any leftover, make sure you store it somewhere dry and cool (like your desk at the office, maybe).
There's nothing worse than digging into a bowl of fresh berries (add whipped cream and we're in heaven!) and biting down only to feel soggy, squishy mush. You want to feel the skin break and the juices squirt out when you bite into a freshly picked strawberry, blueberry, or raspberry. A crunch is one of the telltale signs that you aren't eating something that's been sitting out for awhile. But you won't get that delightful crunch if you keep berries in the fridge. That's because the moisture inside your machine will soften the berries, leaving you with a big, gooey mess. If you're afraid that storing the berries outside will attract fruit flies, don't worry, because they're easy to prevent.
On the off chance that you have some leftover donuts, the best place to store glazed donuts isn't the fridge. The inside of your refrigerator is full of moisture, which your bready donut will absorb, leading to a sticky, soggy mess — yuck! Instead, store your favorite donuts on the counter in a plastic bag so they don't dry out.
Molasses is a by-product of cane sugar, which makes it hygroscopic. That basically means it's really good at sucking in moisture, which actually reduces the likelihood that molasses will mold and spoil. Essentially, molasses can absorb so much moisture that it suffocates the bacteria. As a result, molasses is one of those foods that will seemingly last forever. However, it becomes thick, gummy, and hard to use if kept in the fridge. And really, no one's going to want gummy molasses on anything.