14 foods you shouldn't keep in the refrigerator

Not all food needs to be stored in the fridge. Here are some examples, plus where to keep them instead

By Jackie Middleton

14 foods you shouldn

Onions
Store unpeeled onions in a cool, dry, well-ventilated location. The National Onion Association in the U.S. says unpeeled onions require air exposure to ensure optimum shelf life, so discard their plastic bags. Exception: Peeled onions should be kept in the fridge in a covered container.

Pumpkin
This requires a well-ventilated location that’s also dry, dark and cool such as the basement, according to the CPMA.

Whole melons
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that watermelons lost some of their antioxidant (lycopene and beta-carotene) content when refrigerated. “Antioxidants in foods, including melons, are prone to degradation if they are not stored properly,” says Desiree Nielsen, a Vancouver-based registered dietitian. She suggests leaving whole melons on the counter at room temperature to maintain these antioxidants. Sliced melon should be covered and put in the fridge.

Garlic
Never store garlic bulbs in the fridge; the CPMA says they can begin to sprout. Instead, store them in a dry, dark place.

Potatoes
Spuds should be given a dark, cool and dry space, according to the Potato Growers of Alberta. Remove potatoes from their plastic or paper bags, and keep them unwashed in a well-ventilated cardboard box. If you wash potatoes before storing them, the moisture can spark decay.

Honey
The Ontario Beekeepers’ Association says that honey should be kept in a tightly closed container at room temperature in a dry place. Honey’s acidic pH and sugar content keeps any spoiling microorganisms at bay. Refrigerating it can cause crystallization, making it hard to spread. Honey will store in your cupboard for an indefinite period of time.

Whole tomatoes
The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers say cold air can turn their flesh into mush.

Apricots, Bananas, Kiwi, Peaches, Plums and Mangoes
These can be kept on the counter until they ripen; they will retain nutrients better, says the Canadian Produce Marketing Association.

Coffee
Ground coffee and beans need airtight containers and a cool, dry and dark spot to retain their flavour and freshness. Freeze large amounts that won’t be used immediately. Wrap it in airtight bags, and store it for up to a month in the freezer.

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Best Health magazine, November/December 2013; Image: Thinkstock

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