When it comes to food storage, it's easy to accidentally stick something in the wrong place. Certain staples can lose flavor and spoil faster if stored in the cupboard verses the refrigerator, or vice versa. After a big shop at the grocery store, however, it's easy to just throw things in where you think they should go.
You've heard your Aunt tell you that coffee beans are better when stored in the cupboard, but your Uncle tells you he swears by storing them in the fridge. Your Grandma told you to keep onions and garlic in the refrigerator drawer, but your Great-Grandmother told you to always keep them dry in the cupboard. Who to believe?
There is a lot of conflicting advice when it comes to food storage, but these 10 tips should help keep you on the right track, keeping your food fresher for longer. Here are 10 Foods You Might Not Be Storing Correctly.
Apples stay crisp when stored in the refrigerator and will last longer than when stored on the counter. However, it's better to store them in a plastic bag before putting them in the fridge and avoid storing them in the same drawer as delicate vegetables, like lettuce or spinach. Apples produce ethylene, which is a ripening gas that can cause some vegetables to spoil more quickly.
2. Coffee Beans
Storing coffee beans in the refrigerator can introduce moisture and kill the flavor of the bean. It's better to skip the fridge and store the beans or grounds at room temperature in an airtight container. Store the coffee beans in the cupboard, and reserve the freezer for when you want to store beans long term.
3. Maple Syrup
Pure maple syrup should be stored in the refrigerator if you're looking to extend the life of the syrup. Maple syrup can grow mold over time but the cool air of the refrigerator will help prevent this. Although artificial syrups, like "pancake syrup", can happily be stored in the cupboard.
4. Brown Sugar
It's a myth that storing brown sugar in the refrigerator will help keep it soft. Brown sugar is actually best kept in an airtight container at room temperature. Do this, and your brown sugar will stay moist and fluffy.
5. Dried Herbs and Spices
Moisture, heat, and light can compromise the flavorful oils in many different seasonings. This means storing them on top of the refrigerator (the warm motor can heat the spices) or over the stove can dry out and compromise the taste of your spices. Your spices will be happier when stored in a cabinet or drawer instead. Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and a few other spices are the exception. These do better in the fridge.
6. Ground Flax Seeds
Ground flax seed should actually be stored in the freezer to help maintain its healthful properties. Whole flax seeds are better suited in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The quality of ground flax seeds will diminish after about a month, so it's better not to grind too much at once before freezing.
7. Sesame Oil
Sesame seeds should be stored in the refrigerator, and the same goes for toasted or plain sesame oil. Sesame oil goes rancid much faster at room temperature so it's better to keep it chilled in the fridge.
Walnuts, almonds, and pecans all contain healthy oils that can be compromised in only two weeks when stored at room temperature. Store them in the refrigerator for up to a year, or in the freezer for up to two years. This will help them stay fresh for longer.
9. Hot Sauce
Most of us have a refrigerator door simply bursting with hot sauce bottles. Unless specified on the bottle to refrigerate the sauce after opening, your collection of hot sauces should be perfectly fine when stored at room temperature.
10. Onions and Garlic
Onions and garlic like to be stored in a dry place out of the sun, making the damp refrigerator not ideal. For maximum shelf life and flavor, store your onions and garlic in a mesh bag or basket in the dry pantry.
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