August 9, 2018

Skip the fridge: 5 foods that don’t need to chill

By guest contributor Angelica Day, MS, RD, Registered Dietitian with Kaiser Permanente in Southern California

Nobody wants their groceries to spoil, and one way to keep foods fresh is by storing them in the refrigerator. But did you know that many foods don’t need refrigeration, and that some are even best kept at room temperature?

Here are some commonly refrigerated foods that can and should be kept on the counter or in a cupboard. Just think of the beautiful fruit bowl displays you’ve been missing out on!

Melon: Melons, including watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew, should be kept at room temperature until you cut into them to ensure they have the best flavor. Once they’ve been cut into, store them in the refrigerator and be sure to eat within four days. Before cutting and storing, wash the melon’s surface with water using a vegetable brush to remove any excess ground dirt. Melon can also be frozen in containers and blended for smoothies or added to iced desserts.

Honey: Nobody wants hard honey! When chilled, honey solidifies and becomes difficult to add into foods or beverages. It is perfectly safe to store it in the cupboard at room temperature.

Apples and Avocados: Both of these fruits do well when kept on the counter or in a fruit bowl (just make sure they aren’t packed in too tightly for too long, or they may spoil). If you think it will be a while before you eat them and they’re getting too ripe, moving them to the refrigerator may keep them fresh for a few extra days. Any unused avocado will stay fresher with refrigeration if the seed is kept in contact with the flesh of avocado. Store in an airtight container. To prevent cut apples from browning while refrigerated, sprinkle a few drops of lemon juice on the flesh of apples. Store in an airtight container.

Sweet potatoes: Keeping these nutrient-rich tubers in the refrigerator can trigger a reaction that converts their starch to sugar, causing them to become overly sweet. Instead, keep them for up to three weeks in a paper bag stored in a cool, dry place like a pantry or cupboard.

Are there other foods you hesitate to throw in the fridge? Let us know!