The inside of our refrigerators says a lot about who we are. We all know that one friend who keeps cat food and coffee creamer only, and we all know that other friend who keeps more fresh produce stocked than their local farmers market. Despite the contents of our fridge, refrigerator space is precious real estate, and spoiled produce is a frustrating ordeal. Chances are you're probably refrigerating some things you shouldn't.
There are probably some things sitting in your cabinets or pantry that should be refrigerated, despite what your parents told you. It seems like common sense to leave bananas on the counter to ripen, but we all know the frustration when a fresh bunch of bananas accidentally turns to a rotten bunch overnight. And avocados? Avocados are happy to ripen in your fruit bowl but would love to move to the fridge after they reach their peak flavor.
We all know the frustration when expensive produce or (what you thought) was pantry-friendly items go rotten in your refrigerator.
Keep it fresh! Here are 7 Items You Should Store in the Fridge
1.) Nuts & Nut Oils
Although nuts can keep for up to four months when stored at room temperature, you can keep them fresh for up to a year in the refrigerator (and even longer in the freezer) because of their low water content. In fact, many types of nuts are recommended to be refrigerated after opening.
Same goes for most types of nut butter. Natural, unprocessed nut butter (like peanut, cashew, or almond) should be refrigerated if it isn't going to be consumed in a couple weeks. The oils risk separating at room temperature, and the nut butter will spoil a lot faster than if it was stored in the refrigerator.
Refrigeration making the nut butter hard to spread? Try removing the butter about an hour before making your favorite jelly sandwich to soften it.
2.) Whole Wheat Flour
3.) Pure Maple Syrup
Pure maple syrup, the kind so authentic you can taste the tree, will spoil if stored at room temperature. Pure maple syrup contains no preservatives, and can easily develop mold on the surface of the syrup after it's been opened. To avoid this, it's best to put it
4.) Dried Fruit
Dried fruit can last for several months in the pantry due to its water content that is much lower than regular fruit. However, after opening, or if you plan to keep dried fruit for longer than a few months, store it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh for even longer.
Do avocados need to ripen? Storing your avocados in the refrigerator will keep them from ripening, which can be useful if you're not ready to consume them yet. Leave them on the counter at room temperature until ripe, and then place them in the refrigerator to keep from over-ripening. Avocados will last for two times as long (or more!) when stored in the fridge.
Pro tip? If only using half of an avocado, store the other half in the fridge with the pit still intact. The presence of the pit will slow the browning process.
If you place a ripe banana in the fridge, it will keep it from over-ripening. But will it turn black, you ask? The cold breaks down the peel's cell walls, causing compounds to oxidize, which will make the peels turn almost completely black in the refrigerator. However, the fruit itself will still taste like a perfectly ripe and delicious yellow banana. If you can believe it, banana companies actually recommend letting bananas stay out on the counter until they reach the desired ripeness, then transferring them to the fridge to keep them at peak flavor.
Tip? You don't want to store unripe bananas in the refrigerator, as it will disrupt the ripening process and won't resume even if later removed.
7.) Aloe Vera
Fresh aloe vera definitely needs to be stored in the refrigerator to keep it in peak condition. However, even though most of the store-bought variations of aloe don't require refrigeration, it's a good idea to keep all aloe in the fridge. Chilled aloe feels great on sunburns and can provide immediate relief for those suffering from a day filled with too much fun in the sun.
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Got any clever tips about food storage in the refrigerator? Let us know in the comments below!