What to Read Next

5 Fresh Foods You Shouldn’t Keep in Your Refrigerator

Hilary Meyer
March 26, 2012
5 Fresh Foods You Shouldn't Keep in Your Refrigerator
5 Fresh Foods You Shouldn't Keep in Your Refrigerator

Now that spring has sprung, I'm loading up on more fresh veggies, and that has me thinking about the best way to store them to keep them at their freshest. I only go to the grocery store once a week, which means I have to keep my produce stored properly to avoid ending up with a giant pile of bad veggies ready for the compost pile at the end of the week.

Related: How to Break 4 Supermarket Habits That Make You Spend Too Much Money
How to Get All Your Fruits and Vegetables for $2.25 a Day

And as it turns out, the refrigerator is not the go-to storage unit for all your produce. Below are 5 types of produce you shouldn't keep in your fridge.

Recipes to Try: Quick Weeknight Meals Packed with Produce

Tomatoes: OK, a tomato is technically a fruit, but taste-wise, it's closer to a vegetable. If you've ever grown tomatoes, then you know that they love the heat and hate the cold. Turns out even after they're plucked from the vine, they still hold their aversion to cold. The fridge is not the ideal place to store tomatoes. Store them there and your perfect tomatoes turn into a mealy disappointment. They'll still be good for cooking, but not the best for eating fresh. Instead store them on your counter (not in direct sunlight) and enjoy them when they're ripe.

Basil: Tomatoes and basil go well together on your plate and it turns out they have similar needs in the storage department too. Like tomatoes, basil loves the heat, so extended periods of time in a cold environment like a refrigerator causes it to wilt prematurely. Basil will do best if it's stored on your counter and treated as you would fresh cut-flowers. A fresh bunch of basil can be stored for in a cup of water (change it every day or two) away from direct sunlight. Covering it loosely with a plastic bag will help keep it moist (but make sure the bag has an opening to allow for some fresh air to seep in).

Potatoes: Potatoes like cool, not cold temperatures. They do best at around 45 degrees F, which is about 10 degrees warmer than the average refrigerator. Most of us don't have a root cellar (a cool, dark place to store root vegetables like potatoes), so keeping them in a paper bag in a coolish spot (like a pantry) is best. Why paper? It's more breathable then plastic so potatoes won't succumb to rot as easily. And why not the fridge? Storing potatoes at cold temperatures converts their starch to sugar more quickly, which can affect the flavor, texture and the way they cook.

Don't Miss: 5 Tricks for Making Perfect Potatoes

Onions: Onions don't come out of the ground with that protective papery skin. To develop and keep that dry outer layer, they need to be "cured" and kept in a dry environment like a pantry, which is not as damp as the refrigerator. Also, lack of air circulation will cause onions to spoil, as will storing them near potatoes, which give off moisture and gas that can cause onions to spoil quickly. Store onions in a cool, dry, dark, well-ventilated place. (Light can cause the onions to become bitter.) Scallions and chives, however, have a higher water content, bruise more easily and have a shorter shelf life, so store these alliums in the fridge.

Avocados: Avocados don't start to ripen until after they're picked from the tree. If you're buying a rock-hard avocado, don't store it in your refrigerator, as it slows the ripening process. On the other hand, if you have a perfectly ripe avocado that you're not ready to use, storing it in the refrigerator may work to your advantage by prolonging your window of opportunity to use it before it becomes overripe. So the bottom line on storing avocados is store hard, unripe avocados on your counter and store ripe avocados in your refrigerator if you're not going to eat them right away.

Don't Miss: How to Cook 20 Vegetables

What are your best tips for storing vegetables so they stay fresh?

Hilary Meyer
Hilary Meyer

EatingWell Associate Food Editor Hilary Meyer spends much of her time in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, testing and developing healthy recipes. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute.


Related Links from EatingWell:

How Older Men Tighten Their Skin

Men, reduce the look of wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines with this affordable and effective skin tightening treatment without leaving your home.

Help your customers on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's customers are social, so you should be too. Read this e-book to learn six things to consider as you plan your support strategy.

9 Cards for People Who Have Great Credit

What card offers up to 5% cash back? And which one offers 24/7 concierge service? See the best credit cards of 2016. Apply online, quickly & easily.

How To Make Sagging Skin Look Tight and Lifted

[Watch] The easy and effective way consumers across the country are improving the look of their wrinkled and sagging skin without cosmetic procedures.

Are You Putting Off Buying New Tires For Your Car?

Goodyear® will help you find the right tires for your vehicle. Browse our tire catalog, view offers, find a store, or use our tire selector.

Ever Googled Someone? Do A "Deep Search" Instead

Entering a Name and State on this site could reveal info you thought wasn't available. Have you searched yourself or someone you know yet?

How to Choose the Best Student Loans

The fun of summer vacation is often dampened by thoughts of student loan debts. See which loan is the best for you.

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!

Join Disney Movie Club Today

Get 4 Disney Movies For $1 With Membership. See Details. Plus, Free Shipping On Your Initial Order!

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.

Powerful Tactical Flashlight Flying Off Shelves!

This new tactical flashlight was just released to the public and is flying off shelves in the United States. Limited supplies left, act quick!

Buying Medigap Plan F? Read This First

Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.