The weather is getting so cold … do we even need a fridge!?
Many of us have just completed our weekly shop and now we must unpack the bounty we’ve acquired. We recently realised that some of our friends and customers have been refrigerating produce which can spoil when chilled. So we have taken it upon ourselves to lay down the Law of The Refrigerator. Some things definitely should not be refrigerated and they are as follows:
1. Potatoes – The cold temperature causes a break down of the potatoes’ starches into sugar and this results in a grainy textured and excessively sweet tasting potato. It is known that when potatoes are chilled below a certain temperature they actually turn poisonous. While this may not be a huge risk with your domestic refrigerator and the temperature this process requires is exceptionally low, chilling the spuds is still not recommended. Potatoes last longer when they are kept in a cool and dark place and preferably in a brown paper bag as opposed to plastic. If your spuds are dirty – great! keep that mud on. Washing potatoes prior to storing them shortens their shelf life due to excess moisture. These tips apply to sweet potatoes too.
2. Tomatoes – These are a sun fruit and do not adapt well to very cold temperatures. Refrigeration will result in a squashy mushed texture. Not ripe and juicy the way we like ‘em. Keep these guys out of the fridge and you’ll be rewarded with the sweetest succulent tomatoes.
3. Onions – Unless they are peeled (and in an airtight container) onions should be kept out of the fridge. The more air they get – the longer they keep. So ditch the plastic baggies too! The damage done by refrigeration is similar to the effects it has on tomatoes, a mushy texture and also an increased chance of mould. It’s best to store onions separately to your potatoes. The spuds emit certain gases which can also accelerate the onions’ decaying process.
4. Garlic – Keep your bulbs of garlic in a cool dry place or pantry and it will last for quite some time. Refrigeration causes sprouting and can also contribute to moulding as well as resulting in a rubber-like texture.
5. Avocados – Refrigeration significantly hinders the ripening process. Unless you want a rock hard avocado we suggest throwing these in the fruit bowl so they can ripen naturally, resulting in perfect softness and deliciousness. Quick! remember to eat them before they get too ripe though.
6. Bananas – Similar to avocados the fridge acts like a time capsule when it comes to bananas, essentially freezing them in whatever stage they are at. If you want them good and sweet, we say toss them in the fruit bowl too.
7. Melons – Did we ever tell you about all of the antioxidants in melons? Perhaps that’s a story for another day. Trust us though, melons are packed with antioxidants and refrigeration is not going to do them much good. Keep the melons on the counter or in your fruit bowl unless of course they are chopped up or sliced. In that case refrigeration would be necessary for maintaining freshness.
8. Mangoes – Similar to melons, mangoes lose some of their wonderful nutrients upon refrigeration. In fact, this rule applies to kiwis, plums, peaches and apricots too.
9. Oil – refrigeration will turn most oils into a hard or butter-like substance. Difficult enough to actually use. Don’t worry. If you have refrigerated some oil, give it a quick blast of heat in your microwave or what have you to get it back to a more fluid consistency.
10. Honey – Most of us have heard about the wondrous shelf-life of honey. Essentially centuries! This gift from the bees keeps beautifully in your cupboard so there is no need for refrigeration. Refrigeration will simply cause the naturally present sugars to crystallise. It won’t be very easy to spread in this state. Honey is nappiest when it is kept somewhere cool and dry.
11. Bread – Putting your bread in the fridge can cause it to dry out. Keep bread in an air-tight box or well wrapped. The coolness of the fridge also makes bread go stale a bit quicker. Should you wish to save some for a later date, wrap in up well (so as its moisture is kept in tact) when it is within its use-by date and freeze it. Thaw it out well before using and consuming again.
12. Coffee – Both beans and ground should be kept in a nice dry and air-tight environment. The fridge is not the place! Coffee absorbs odours and will simply retain the smells of other produce in your fridge if it’s kept there. Furthermore, the sudden drop in temperature draws moisture from the beans, meaning some of the flavour is lost. Cool, dry, air-tight. These are keywords for maintaining your beloved coffee’s freshness.
13. Herbs – Most herbs, particularly basil react to refrigeration in a manner similar to coffee’s. They have the ability to absorb and retain doors from other produce. Some of their own flavour will be lost through refrigeration as well. Perhaps keep them cut and standing in a small glass of water or simply cool and away from other strong smelling produce if you wish to keep your herbs in optimal condition.
14. Hot Sauce – Ok so for this last one it may not be as imperative to keep it our of the fridge. However refrigeration is still going to do it no favours (or flavours!). Some hot sauces can keep for years in the cupboard so leave it there and everyone’s happy!
Have we left anything out? Please let us know in the comments below. Or indeed perhaps you know someone who keeps things in a funny place? We’ve heard of people refrigerating batteries! Aside from this sounding a bit bizarre, it is also said to be quite a dangerous environment to keep them in.
Remember for anything you want to stock inside or outside your fridge, check out our lovely online shop:
By Hannah Loughlin