Besides making meal preparation easier, a properly organised refrigerator also ensures that all the food items you’re using are fresh and haven’t passed their expiration dates. Together with regular cleaning, proper kitchen storage will also allow you to significantly reduce your food waste and grocery costs.
However, many people rely on well-intentioned but outdated knowledge about what they should and shouldn’t store in their fridges. In reality, there are quite a few food items that people usually don’t think about keeping in this appliance, but house cleaning and organisation experts highly recommend you consider doing it.
Even though many people consider this controversial, keeping bread in the fridge can help significantly extend its lifespan by preventing it from getting mouldy too quickly.
However, it should also be noted that the downside of doing this is it can cause it to dry out faster. To store bread in the fridge properly, it’s recommended to keep it in an airtight container or a sealed plastic bag.
Because nuts are high in healthy fats, also known as unsaturated fats, they can spoil if they’re left at room temperature for too long. If that happens, you’ll notice the nuts aren’t crunchy and flavourful but are instead chewy and smell unpleasant. Besides that, storing them outside the refrigerator also makes them lose their health benefits, one of which is their ability to lower bad cholesterol and increase the good one. That’s why, after a certain point, it’s best to keep them in it to make them stay fresh for longer.
In addition to nuts, it’s also advisable to do the same with ground flax seeds, hemp hearts, almond meal and natural peanut butter, especially if you plan to keep them for longer than a week or two. Even though storing these food items in an airtight container in your pantry should usually be fine, putting them in the fridge will preserve their volatile oils and prevent decay.
When you store them in the refrigerator, don’t forget to wrap them in foil or bag them to preserve their flavour.
#3 Hot Sauce
Experts recommend storing hot sauce in the fridge because it will help preserve its flavour and prevent it from spoiling too quickly compared to when it stays on the kitchen countertops or pantry shelving. In addition to that, consider placing it in an airtight container to extend its shelf life even more.
#4 Soy Sauce
Even though soy sauce can be left out of the fridge without a problem because of its high sodium content, it will begin to change its flavour and lose its freshness. Similar to hot sauce, this food item is also best stored in a cool environment because it can help prevent the growth of bacteria, which will extend its shelf life by 1 to 2 months.
#5 Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is a popular ingredient in vegan and vegetarian cuisine, and it’s also a great source of different vitamins and minerals. However, most people tend to keep it in one of their kitchen cupboards instead of in the refrigerator. Storing it in a cold space can actually help prevent it from clumping and losing its nutritional value.
Very few people know that dates are actually best when they’re stored in the fridge because these decadent dried fruits aren’t dehydrated to the extent that other dried fruits are. They have a bit more moisture than dried cranberries and apricots, for example, and keeping them in a cool environment will preserve their flavour better. In fact, if you enter almost any grocery store, you’ll likely find them in the section with chilled food.
Additionally, dates’ average shelf life at room temperature is around 45 days, and after this point, they’ll progressively become drier and lose their unique flavour.
#7 Maple Syrop
Once a bottle of maple syrup is opened, the kitchen cabinets are no longer a suitable place to store it because it has a surprisingly short shelf life. Unlike honey, this food item can accumulate mould if it’s left at room temperature, especially if it’s pure maple syrup that doesn’t contain preservatives. If you’re keeping a bottle of maple syrup in your pantry, consider moving it to the fridge so it can stay fresh and last up to 1 year longer.
Regardless if they’re white or whole-wheat tortillas, it’s highly recommended to keep these food items in the fridge even if they aren’t close to their expiration date. This will help them last twice as long as they normally would at room temperature and prevent mould from settling on them.
Many grocery stores actually keep tortillas next to the cool yoghurt and packaged cheese isles because it doubles their shelf life, and their labels also recommend refrigeration after opening.
#9 Red wine
Because wine oxidises quickly, it becomes stale if it’s stored at room temperature. Keeping it in the fridge will extend its shelf life by 3 to 5 more days, especially if you have a bottle stopper on.
#10 Chocolate Syrup
Chocolate syrup is another food item that’s better stored in the fridge. Otherwise, it loses its flavour if it’s not chilled. It’s safe to store this item in your pantry for 2 to 3 years, but only if you haven’t opened it. Once that’s done, keeping it in the fridge can actually make it last for up to 6 more months.
Even if you’ve previously thought that the above-mentioned food items are virtually very hard to spoil at room temperature, it has now been proven otherwise, and the refrigerator is a trusted household appliance that can help you prevent that by using it smartly. This advice applies specifically if you can’t use the food right away and will be keeping it in your kitchen for more than a week or two.
Lastly, many experts also recommend practising careful planning in combination with proper fridge organisation and regular cleaning so you’ll be able to enjoy your meals and, overall, reduce your household waste and grocery costs.