10 Things You Don’t Have to Refrigerate (2022)

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10 Things You Don’t Have to Refrigerate (1)margouillat photo/Shutterstock

Butter

Consider this: we build homes to keep us warm from the cold. Then, we add refrigerators—large boxes to keep our food cold in our warm homes. And inside our refrigerators are even smaller boxes to keep our butter slightly warmer than the cold box inside our warm home.

Many people assume that butter has to be refrigerated because it’s dairy-based. While it’s true that butter can go rancid if stored too close to a heat source (such as a too-hot oven) or in direct sunlight, if you store your butter in an opaque butter dish and place it somewhere cool, your butter might outlast the rest of us. In fact, a recent excavation in Ireland uncovered a cache of butter estimated to be almost 3,000 years old.

Butter is also a great compromise item. If you’re not 100% sold on leaving it out, just place one stick in the butter dish, and leave the rest in the fridge. That way you can see how fast you use it, and what the best storage solution is for you.

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10 Things You Don’t Have to Refrigerate (2)Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Basil

A delicious herb that enhances almost any dish, basil is often placed in the fridge by well-meaning home cooks. Unfortunately, one of the best aspects of basil—its tendency to blend the smells and tastes of the items around it—also means that keeping it refrigerated can cause it to pick up the properties of its shelf-mates.

Instead, keep fresh basil in a little bit of water as if it were a bouquet of freshly cut flowers. It will taste better, look great and may even help keep flies at bay.

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10 Things You Don’t Have to Refrigerate (3)EVGENIYA68/Shutterstock

Onions

Onions have the opposite problem from basil. Instead of absorbing the odors of other items on the shelf, they tend to lend their aroma to their surroundings, especially when kept in an enclosed area like a refrigerator. Whether you want to keep onions on hand for mixing into a stew or for an easy-to-assemble BBQ kebab, the best place to store them is in a dry area with good ventilation.

(Video) 21 Foods You Should Not Refrigerate

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10 Things You Don’t Have to Refrigerate (4)Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Honey

Honey is the only food product that never spoils. Instead of going rancid, this golden wonder of nature simply crystallizes into a “crunchier” form. In fact, honey is such an amazing product that not only does it stay edible indefinitely, the beeswax honeycomb from which it’s extracted can be used for chores as varied as furniture polish to candle making.

Storing your honey in the fridge not only isn’t needed, it actually accelerates the crystallization process. That doesn’t ruin it, but it does make for a different experience with your meal. So pull it out of your fridge and move it into the pantry for that classic, slow moving, mellow honey taste.

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10 Things You Don’t Have to Refrigerate (5)Michelle Lee Photography/Shutterstock

Hot Sauce, Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce

Because of their high acid levels, items such as hot sauce, soy sauce and fish sauce can stay fresh for years without getting refrigerated. The secret is in their common ingredient: Vinegar. While you may not be able to make your own household cleaner out of these sauces the way you can with straight vinegar, they do have enough bite in them to last outside the fridge.

(Video) Things You Don't Need to Refrigerate

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10 Things You Don’t Have to Refrigerate (6)Kathryn Roach/Shutterstock

Berries

Berries face a double whammy in the fridge. Refrigerators have a high moisture content, which can shorten their lifespan, and most fridges are set to just above freezing. Berries and fruit have a high water content and fragile structure, meaning that if they get positioned too close to the blower, they can freeze. This lessens their flavor and changes their texture.

After you wash your berries, move them to a bowl and use them as an attractive display piece when you’re not snacking on them. And don’t toss that original container in the recycling bin just yet. The slotted-edge of berry boxes makes them perfect for chores such as seed broadcasting.

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10 Things You Don’t Have to Refrigerate (7) Africa Studios/Shutterstock

Cake

Cakes don’t thrive in the fridge, but some of them do need to be chilled. So how do you know which is which? The answer lies in the frosting. Because of their ingredients, some cake frostings will spoil if left at room temperature. If a cake is unfrosted, or if it has a buttercream or ganache topping and you’re going to eat it within a few days, then it can sit out on the counter. However, if you’re not sure, err on the side of refrigeration. The refrigerator will dry out the cake, so if the frosting requires you to keep it there, make sure you cover it completely, eat it quickly or move it to the freezer.

For an equally beautiful (but definitely not edible) cake-inspired DIY project, check out this Family Handyman article “How to Make Cake Frosting Stepping-Stones“.

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(Video) 10 Everyday Food Items You Don't Have To Refrigerate

10 Things You Don’t Have to Refrigerate (8)Lotus_Studio/Shutterstock

Tomatoes

An all-time classic patio plant, tomatoes are delicious, nutritious and not to be stored in the cold. A fruit that thrives in warm weather, tomatoes lose their flavor in the chill embrace of a refrigerator. Their texture is also changed, making them less pleasant to eat. If you’ve ever had a sandwich in a restaurant and found that the tomato slices seemed a little mushy on the inside and chewy on the outside, it’s probably because they were stored in the fridge.

Keep your tomatoes on the counter, but out of direct sunlight, and they’ll keep their texture and flavor long after they’ve been picked.

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10 Things You Don’t Have to Refrigerate (9)Volodymyr Tverdokhlib/Shutterstock

Select Condiments

Just like hot sauces, ketchup and mustard have enough acid in them that they can live in a cabinet for months without degrading in quality.

You may notice that some ketchup and mustard manufacturers recommend that you store their product in the fridge. This is because over time the flavor of ketchup and mustard may weaken, but only if a single bottle lasts i your home for months and months. If storage in your fridge is a premium, move these two condiments to a cabinet. Or consider a lazy Susan condiment rack to help keep them close at hand.

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10 Things You Don’t Have to Refrigerate (10)nuttakit/Shutterstock

Coffee

At some point in time, it became common wisdom that coffee beans and grounds should be refrigerated. The problem with that plan is (once again) the high humidity of the refrigerator. That humidity can impact the grounds or beans, changing the flavor of your morning java.

(Video) 10 things you never need to refrigerate

Whether you’re brewing up a full pot or running an individual cup through a DIY coffee maker, your best bet is to keep your coffee beans or grounds in an airtight container, tucked away in a cool, dry, dark place. If you have more coffee than you’ll use any time soon, opt for storage in the freezer. Experts still suspect that the flavor will be altered, but it’s safer than the fridge.

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10 Things You Don’t Have to Refrigerate (11)Shulevskyy Volodymyr/Shutterstock

Proceed with Caution: Eggs

Many people have heard that eggs don’t need to be refrigerated. And it’s true that if eggs are never cooled to begin with, then they don’t need to be kept in the cooler. But depending on how your eggs are processed, storing them out of the fridge may be a very bad idea.

Eggs can take damage in surprising ways, and can even be recovered after being frozen solid, but they’re very vulnerable to certain environments. In the U.S. and Canada, almost all eggs are refrigerated immediately after being washed and sanitized. And once they’re been chilled, storing them at room temperature actually increases the danger of diseases like salmonella.

So the somewhat complicated answer is: In North America, keep your eggs in the fridge. If you live pretty much anywhere else in the world, a pantry or countertop is fine.

Originally Published: February 20, 2021

10 Things You Don’t Have to Refrigerate (12)

Dan Stout

(Video) 7 Foods You Don't Need to Refrigerate | WebMD

Ohio-based freelance writer and author Dan Stout is a former residential remodeler, commercial site supervisor and maintenance manager. He’s worked on nearly all aspects of building and DIY including project planning and permitting, plumbing, basic electric, drywall, carpentry, tiling, painting and more. He also publishes noir fantasy thrillers, including The Carter Series, from Penguin imprint DAW Books.

FAQs

10 Things You Don’t Have to Refrigerate? ›

Video: 18 things you don't need to keep in your refrigerator
  • Hot sauce stays fresh up to 3 years without refrigeration, even after opening it.
  • Potatoes should be stored in paper bags in cool, dry pantries. ...
  • Onions do best in dry, ventilated areas. ...
  • Like onions, garlic is just fine in a dry, ventilated area of the pantry.
Oct 17, 2016

What 12 foods should not be refrigerated? ›

  • Bread. Unless you prefer stale, dried-out slices on your favorite sandwich, stash loaves of bread in the pantry.
  • Oil. Much like honey, vegetable, olive, coconut, and other cooking oils will quickly solidify in the fridge. ...
  • Melons. ...
  • Avocado. ...
  • Onions. ...
  • Potatoes. ...
  • Garlic.

What is food that doesn't need to be refrigerated? ›

Root vegetables are great because they can easily last a week or more without refrigeration. These include potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, kale, beets, radishes and onions. Canned vegetables are always available and will last just about forever.

Do you need to refrigerate butter? ›

If you prefer unsalted butter, refrigerate it. Same goes for whipped butter. If it creeps above 70 degrees Fahrenheit in your kitchen, all butter should go into the fridge to avoid going bad — even into the freezer if you want to store it for a few months.

Do eggs need refrigerator? ›

In the United States, fresh, commercially produced eggs need to be refrigerated to minimize your risk of food poisoning. However, in many countries in Europe and around the world, it's fine to keep eggs at room temperature for a few weeks.

Is it bad to refrigerate bread? ›

The reason a refrigerator is bad for bread: When bread is stored in a cold (but above freezing) environment, this recrystallization, and therefore staling, happens much faster than at warmer temperatures. Freezing, however, dramatically slows the process down.

What meats dont need refrigeration? ›

Meats
  • Cured meats like summer sausage, pepperoni or turkey pepperoni, and salami are safe to take camping without a fridge.
  • Canned Chicken or Tuna.
  • Chicken or Tuna Pouches.
  • SPAM.
  • Bacon Bits, Pre-cooked Bacon or Bacon Crumbles.
Mar 15, 2022

Should peanut butter be refrigerated? ›

An open jar of peanut butter stays fresh up to three months in the pantry. After that, it's recommended to store the peanut butter in the fridge (where it can maintain its quality for another 3-4 months). If you don't refrigerate, oil separation can occur. Here's a run-down.

What meats dont need refrigeration? ›

Meats
  • Cured meats like summer sausage, pepperoni or turkey pepperoni, and salami are safe to take camping without a fridge.
  • Canned Chicken or Tuna.
  • Chicken or Tuna Pouches.
  • SPAM.
  • Bacon Bits, Pre-cooked Bacon or Bacon Crumbles.
Mar 15, 2022

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