The Food You Thought You Should Refrigerate But Actually Shouldn't

A few less things to stuff in there...

PHOTO BY Unsplash/Sidekix Media, Unsplash/Erily Mariel ILLUSTRATION Warren Espejo

( We've all been ordering a lot of food for delivery lately, and it was helpful to rethink the way we store leftovers. But how about what we refrigerate? Many folks think it's a no-brainer: Produce should automatically be refrigerated, while dry ingredients automatically stay out. But that's not always the case. Here, we round up a few common ingredients that are better left outside the fridge.

Keep these types of food outside the refrigerator:


PHOTO BY Unsplash/Markus Winkler

We're surprised, too, but cucumbers are actually best stored at room temperature rather than the refrigerator. According to the University of California, Davis' College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, they can easily develop "chilling injuries" such as water-soaked areas, pitting, and accelerated decay when stored below 10°C.


PHOTO BY Unsplash/Erily Mariel
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In general, refrigerating these fruits (yes, fruits) can cause their flavor-producing enzyme to shut down and a mealy texture to develop when they're refrigerated. Still, if your tomatoes are already perfectly ripe, you can refrigerate them for up to three days to extend their shelf life—just allow them to come to room temperature before serving.


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According to Nidirect, keeping potatoes in the fridge can lead to the development of acrylamide—a chemical that can harm your health—when the spuds are baked, fried, or roasted at high temperatures.

Melons and watermelons

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Uncut ones, that is. Keeping them on the counter not only makes for better flavor, it also better keeps their antioxidants intact. Once cut, you'll have to keep them in the fridge for three to four days.


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According to Huffpost, the cold and humid temperature of the fridge converts the starches in the onions into sugars, rendering them soft and soggy. Your best bet is to keep them in a cool, dry, and ventilated spot in your pantry.


PHOTO BY Unsplash/Matthew Pilachowski

Kept in a cold environment, garlic can begin to sprout, rendering it bitter-tasting. It can also lead to their deterioration and the growth of mold. Better yet, store garlic room temperature in a dry, dark place with ample air circulation.


PHOTO BY Pexels / Monicore

Got some fresh basil from your garden or the market? You might think to store them in the fridge, but author Harold McGee says they're actually susceptible to damage from the cold. Instead, you can snip off the bottoms of the stems, then place them in a jar, or a jar with water, at room temperature.


PHOTO BY Unsplash/Stephen Walker

While some people think refrigeration can slow down mold growth in bread, doing so can actually cause its starch molecules to recrystallize—thus making for a hard, stale loaf. If you must extend its shelf life, a better option is to wrap it in an airtight container or bag, then freeze it.

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