WE’RE all guilty of shoving things in the fridge and hoping they’ll maintain enternal life, but there are a few things that should find a home elsewhere in the kitchen.
Kofi Aidoo, professor of food safety and food microbiology at Glasgow Caledonian University, says that low-protein foods such as tomatoes and garlic benefit little from refrigeration.
“All foods require adequate and appropriate storage conditions to prevent or minimise deterioration and/or proliferation of food poisoning bacteria,” he explains.
“[Foods such as garlic, onions and avocados] are all best kept in cool, dry place with minimal light, heat and sun than at chill or refrigeration temperature. Cold or chill temperature helps breakdown of starch in potatoes and garlic which affect quality and shelf life.”
As the cold air in the fridge stops the ripening process – and ripening is what keeps the tomatoes fresh – tomatoes will completely lose their juicy flavour and go watery if kept in the fridge. It’s better to store tomatoes in a bowl on the kitchen counter.
Garlic will eventually sprout if left in the fridge, and also runs to risk of going rubbery and mouldy. To get full use out of your garlic, keep it cool and dry.
“Humidity and dehydration process affect the texture of potato, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and avocado,” says Prof Aidoo.
Moisture in the fridge will eventually turn onions soft and mouldy. Keeping them in a cool, dry place will keep them ripe until you’re ready to use them.
Like tomatoes, avocados need to ripen in order to reach their full potential. Unless the avocado is already ripe and you want to keep it so for another few days, it’s best to store them at room temperature.
Prof Aidoo says: “Avocado starts to ripen as soon as it is picked from the tree and storage at chill temperature impairs the ripening process and therefore affects the texture and aroma. However, an already ripened avocado will benefit from chill storage.”
Since bananas grow in tropical climes, they favour warm environments. Bananas will turn black faster if kept in a fridge, but won’t actually ripen.
Keep bread that you’re intending to eat within four days at room temperature, or if it’s going to be longer, pop it in the freezer and defrost it whenever you like.
P“Bread is best stored at room temperature than in the fridge,” says Prof Aidoo, “for the simple reason that refrigeration promotes staleness.”
Oil can turn hard and condense into a buttery substance if stored in a fridge. Store it in a cool, dry cupboard.
“Olive oil may solidify and turn cloudy when stored in the fridge; condensation may also occur that could affect the taste of the oil,” says Prof Aidoo.
If coffee is stored in the fridge, the granules lose their coveted flavour and absorb any smells lingering around the dark corners of your fridge. It’s best to keep coffee in a cool, dark place so it can maintain its taste.
Prof Aidoo says: “Coffee is hygroscopic [attracts and holds moisture/water], therefore storage in a fridge will affect aroma and taste by imbibing water unless stored in a hermetically sealed container.”