No one likes to throw out food that’s gone bad before its time. If your groceries aren’t lasting as long as you’d like, it might be worth checking if they should actually be refrigerated.
Here are a few surprising foods that can stay fresher for longer when you store them in the fridge.
Keep your natural nut butter in the fridge to prevent spoilage.
Organic, natural nut butters are typically filled with healthy unsaturated oils. Sadly, those oils oxidize quickly at room temperature and make nut butters prone to going rancid.
Once nut butter has become rancid, it will smell and taste decidedly unpalatable. Keep your nut butter in the refrigerator to prevent it from quickly spoiling.
Cured meat doesn’t actually have an unlimited shelf life.
The whole point of smoking or curing meat is to preserve it without refrigeration, so why should you stick your bag of jerky in the fridge?
As it turns out, modern smoked meats aren’t actually made to last for that long outside the fridge. Commercially cured meat you might pick up at the grocery store is actually only meant to be kept at room temperature until its package is opened.
After that, it can spoil just like any other meat. Dried smoked meat will generally last longer than wet-cured meat like sausage or fish.
Don’t let your whole-grain flours go bad in the pantry.
Due to the way that whole-grain flour is processed, it is high in natural oils and nutrients. These oils can attract insects and also cause the flour to go rancid relatively quickly. Although all-purpose flour will keep for about two years, whole grain flour stays fresh for just a few months.
According to Kitchn, keeping your whole-grain flours in the fridge or freezer, preferably in an airtight container like a mason jar or plastic bag, will greatly extend the flour’s shelf-life and preserve the flavour of your flours.
Corn won’t stay sweet and tender if you leave it at room temperature for too long.
There’s nothing like biting into a juicy ear of corn fresh off the grill, but leaving your corn on the cob at room temperature for too long can rob it of its characteristic sweetness.
Although corn is best eaten the day it’s purchased, Bon Appetit suggests storing un-husked corn loose in the fridge for up to two days. If the corn is still in its husk, you should place it in a plastic bag before storing.
Stop your avocados from ripening too fast by putting them in the fridge.
Avocados are delicious, but it’s notoriously difficult to catch them at the perfect ripeness. If your avocado is ripe today but you don’t want to eat it until tomorrow, Eat By Date suggests placing it in the fridge to slow the ripening process and extend the life of the fruit from three to four days to seven to 10 days.
It’s especially important to refrigerate homemade guacamole, as this tasty dip will only last between three to four hours at room temperature.
Your tortillas will stay much fresher in the fridge.
You probably wouldn’t think to keep your tortillas in the fridge if you store your other bread products at room temperature, but Livestrong suggests it’s the best way to keep them soft and fresh.
Both corn and flour tortillas should be kept in the fridge inside an airtight storage container or resealable plastic bag.
Store your nuts in the fridge to prevent them from going rancid.
If you want to keep your nuts fresh, don’t leave them to languish in the pantry. Storing them at room temperature encourages insect growth and allows their oils to become rancid more quickly. Rancid nuts aren’t dangerous, but they taste unpleasant.
According to The Regents of University of California’s Agricultural and Natural Resources, if you store your nuts in the refrigerator, they will stay safe to eat for a year or more.
Pure maple syrup can get moldy if it isn’t refrigerated.
If you only lavish your pancakes with the purest of maple syrups, you should probably be keeping the bottle in the fridge.
According to Fine Cooking, it’s because pure maple syrup doesn’t contain artificial preservatives and can develop a layer of mould on its surface if left at room temperature for too long. They suggest keeping your syrup in the fridge to prevent any mould growth.
Put that bottle of champagne in the fridge.
Some connoisseurs might scoff at the idea of storing champagne in the fridge, but it’s actually a great place to keep your bubbly, according to science.
A study performed by Barcelona University found that keeping champagne refrigerated inhibits the development of a browning compound called 5-HMF.
In fact, they found that a bottle of champagne stored in a refrigerator for two years was almost completely without browning, but bottles stored at room temperature and in a cool cellar did exhibit some browning.
Chocolate syrup will actually spoil if it’s not stored properly.
Chocolate syrup is one of those things that you probably just assume will keep forever, but it’s actually best to keep it in the fridge to prevent bacterial contamination and mould growth.
Since many chocolate syrup containers aren’t transparent, you might not be able to spot signs of spoiling before pouring the syrup onto your dessert.
According to Eat By Date, if it’s properly stored in the refrigerator, you can expect your chocolate syrup to last one to two years. Hot fudge, on the other hand, will only last about six months.
Nut-based and seed-based oils can spoil quickly at room temperature.
It turns out that not all cooking oils fare equally well in your pantry. Oils that are nut- or seed-based like flax, sesame, and walnut oil should be kept in the fridge. These oils are high in polyunsaturated fats that can quickly turn rancid if left at room temperature for too long.
You can tell if your nut-based oil has gone off by sniffing it. If you detect a strong or fishy odor, you should toss it.
You should refrigerate any mustard or ketchup you’re not going to use up quickly.
Although keeping your new container of mustard or ketchup in the pantry for a week isn’t going to give you food poisoning, you should pop these condiments in the fridge if you’re not planning on using them up within about a month.
Because mustard and ketchup both have a high acid content, they won’t go bad after a few weeks at room temperature. However, their flavour and texture will begin to break down.
According to Still Tasty, you can likely keep these condiments in peak condition for up to a year if you keep them refrigerated.
Dried fruit lasts longer in the fridge.
You probably keep food items like raisins and dried apricots in your pantry – after all, dried fruit won’t rot like fresh fruit at room temperature.
However, Eat By Date suggests your dried fruit will keep for one to two years if you store it in the fridge. At room temperature, dried fruit should be consumed within six months or so.
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