The whole purpose of the refrigerator is to keep our food fresh longer, but there are some foods that many of us are putting in the refrigerator that do worse in there rather than out.
Onions, for example, are a food that fare poorly in the refrigerator. The moisture in your refrigerator will actually turn your onions soft and moldy — not a very appetizing thought. Instead, store onions in a cool, dry place. Just make sure that the cool, dry place you put your onions in is nowhere near the cool, dry place you keep your potatoes. When stored together, both rot quicker.
And, as implied, potatoes are another food that should not be kept in the refrigerator. Storing them in the fridge makes them sweet and gritty, because a cold environment converts the starch into sugar at a quick pace. Place them in a paper bag in a cool, dry place.
Another food item that should never be kept in the refrigerator is olive oil. As the name suggests, olive oil is an actual oil, and storing it in a cold environment will make it condense, turning it into a hard, butter-like consistency.
Coffee is another food item that simply does better in a cool, dry place. Although many mistakenly believe that storing coffee in the refrigerator keeps it fresher and full of flavor, the opposite is actually true. Storing coffee in the refrigerator not only makes both ground coffee and coffee beans lose their flavor, but both can actually take on the flavor of foods around them. And who wants salami-flavored coffee? It is recommended that large quantities of coffee be stored in the freezer, and smaller amounts in a cool, dry place. (And, just to be on the safe side, don’t store it next to your onions. There is simply no reason to take any risks when it comes to coffee.)
Like onions, garlic is another food item also best kept in a cool, dry place. If kept in the refrigerator, garlic will not just get rubbery and moldy, thereby ruining the Italian dinner you were planning on making, but it will also sprout.
Keep honey out of the cold, as well, and simply keep it tightly sealed and at room temperature. In fact, honey is the only food that does not spoil. The oldest known sample of honey, found in an Ancient Egyptian tomb and dated to approximately 3,000 years ago, was still edible — probably because it was sealed tightly and kept at room temperature instead of an ancient refrigerator.
Another food item to keep out of your refrigerator is basil, as well — but no need to find yet another cool, dry place for this herb. Instead, consider fresh-cut herbs like basil more like flowers. It’s better to keep basil sitting out in a fresh cup of water. In the refrigerator, basil wilts at a much faster pace, and, like coffee, can take on the smell and taste of the food around it.
One food you should never refrigerate is bread. Placing bread in the refrigerator will not keep it fresh longer. In fact, placing bread in the refrigerator will dry your bread out even quicker. You can store it in the freezer if there are no plans to use it immediately, but otherwise, simply keep it on your counter.
And if you like guacamole, consider whether or not to keep your avocados in the fridge on a case-by-case basis. Do not try to ripen avocados in the refrigerator, but already ripened ones can safely go in the fridge.
And to keep your juicy, ripe tomatoes full of flavor, keep them out of the refrigerator, as well. Refrigerating tomatoes — particularly those that are not yet ripe — not only strips them of their flavor, it also changes their texture.