Fridge or cupboard: where do you keep these foods?

Some foods benefit from refrigeration while some are better off at room temperature. But do you know which?

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When you get back from the food shop, do you chuck everything in the veg drawer of your fridge? Well, don’t. Some fruit and veg should be kept at room temperature until they’re ripe – or never put in the fridge at all!

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Bread

Everyone stores their bread differently – and there’s no wrong way, it just depends on how quickly you’re going to eat it. If bread gets devoured quickly in your house then keep it in a bread bin. If you eat a loaf slowly, then it’s best to freeze it and get slices out as you need them. You can keep bread in the fridge to keep it mould-free for longer than the bread bin, but it will dry out – multigrain is best for this as it doesn’t dry out as easily as white or brown bread

Eggs

Eggs should be stored at a constant temperature below 20°C – and the fridge is the best place, according to British Lion eggs. But try and take them out of the fridge half an hour before you use them for the best results when cooking.

Fruit

  • Bananas go bad very quickly in the fridge – but won’t ripen in the cold. Bananas are best stored at room temperature – and separated from other fruits if you do not want them to ripen quickly, as close proximity can cause bananas to ripen faster.
  • Punnets of strawberries should be kept out of the fridge until they’re ripe. You’ll know when it’s time to refrigerate them because they’ll smell sweet.
  • Oranges also need to be ripe before they’re put in the fridge, as the levels of antioxidants and vitamins increase as oranges ripen.
  • Tomatoes won’t ripen in the fridge by themselves, so it’s best to keep them at room temperature and then refrigerate them once they’re soft and juicy. 

Vegetables

  • Potatoes should never be stored in the fridge – instead keep them in a cool dark place like at the bottom of a cupboard. If kept in the fridge, the starch in uncooked potatoes turns into sugar – making them oddly sweet when cooked. The Food Standards Agency says that when baked or fried, these sugars combine with the amino acid asparagine already present in the potatoes and produce the chemical acrylamide. Acrylamide is a genotoxic carcinogen that’s been linked to an increased risk of cancer.
  • Onions go soft in the fridge so are best stored in a cupboard. They also have a tendency to make everything in the vicinity taste like onions when they are stored in a fridge, which can be unpleasant!
  • Like onions and potatoes, Garlic is better off in a cool dark place.

Spreads and sauces

  • Although ketchup is traditionally a preserve, food manufacturers have cut the amount of salt in recent years reducing its natural preserving powers. So these days it’s best to keep it in the fridge, and eat it within 8 weeks.
  • Honey won’t spoil in a fridge or cupboard, but it’s best kept at room temperature as it crystallises in the fridge. 
  • Olive oil is best stored in a dark place like a pantry as light decreases the antioxidant activity in it.
  • Peanut butter doesn’t need to be refrigerated and will spread easier if left in a cupboard.
  • Jam doesn’t need to be stored in the fridge, but it’s best to as after being open for a few weeks it can go mouldy.

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