14 foods you don't need to keep in the fridge

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In case you’ve ever had a debate with your roommate or significant other whether to keep bread in the fridge or leave coffee grounds in the pantry, here’s what you need to know.

If you’re talking about perishable foods like meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and certain kinds of produce, the FDA recommends they should never be kept at room temperature for more than two hours at room temperature, and not more than an hour above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

But when it comes to produce and other kinds of food, here are the ones you should leave out of the fridge:

(Note: This is not intended as a substitute for public-health recommendations.)

Bread

Keeping bread in the fridge will dry it out. If you plan to eat it within four days, keep it on the counter (or in the pantry). Otherwise, wrap it up and stick it in the freezer.

Coffee

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Keep coffee in a cool, dark place, but not in the fridge, because it will lose its flavor and take on the smells of food nearby. You can store large quantities of coffee in the freezer, however.

Tomatoes

If tomatoes are kept in the fridge, they lose their flavour. That's because the cold air stops them from ripening and breaks down their cell membranes, giving the fruit that characteristic mealy taste.

Onions

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Keeping onions in the fridge makes them go soft and eventually turn moldy, due to the moist environment. Store them in a cool, dry place (but separate from potatoes, because storing them together makes them both go bad faster).

Basil

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Basil will wilt and absorb the smells of the food around it if it's kept in the fridge. Better to keep it in a glass of water, like a bunch of flowers. Or you can blanch it and freeze it, according to Martha Stewart.

Avocados

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If you want to ripen an avocado, do not put it in the fridge. Store it in a dry, dark place like a paper bag. If it's already ripe though, you can keep it in the fridge to prevent it from overripening.

Potatoes

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Storing potatoes in the fridge turns their starch into sugar, giving the spuds a sweet but gritty taste. Instead, you should store them in a cool, dark place, like in a paper bag in the pantry.

Garlic

Don't keep garlic in the fridge, because the moisture will make it grow moldy and start to sprout. You should keep it in a cool, dry place.

Honey

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Honey stays good pretty much indefinitely, so there's no need to keep it in the fridge. Besides, the cold will cause it to crystalize.

Olive oil

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Don't keep olive oil in the fridge because it will solidify, like butter. Ideally you should keep it in a cool, dark place outside the fridge.

Bananas

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Most people store bananas at room temperature. You can store them in a paper bag with an apple or tomato to make them ripen faster.

Storing them in the fridge will make them turn brown, but they will still be good.

Soy Milk (sealed)

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Soy milk does not need to be refrigerated before opening, and it will last at least a year on the shelf. (The reason it's in the refrigerator aisle at the supermarket is primarily for marketing!)

Once opened, soy milk should be refrigerated and consumed within five days.

Butter (optional)

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The USDA recommends refrigerating butter, and freezing butter if you're not going to use it within one to two days. But many people keep butter in a covered dish outside the fridge. Since it's made from pasteurised milk, it's less likely to grow bacteria, according to the blog Care2.

Apples (optional)

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Apples keep for about a week at room temperature, or longer if you put them in the fridge.

Some kinds of apples can be stored for much longer (several months) when wrapped individually, kept in an insulated container, and stored in a cool place.

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