You're Probably Using Your Refrigerator All Wrong

December 22nd 2016

Almie Rose

Do you buy produce only to throw it away in what seems like far too short a time? Why does it seem like the window to eat an avocado is approximately 5 minutes?

It could be you're not storing your produce properly.

Not every food item needs to go in the fridge. Here are some items you shouldn't refrigerate — and some you should.

Don't refrigerate...

It seems like the most common error is to refrigerate fruit. According to Dana Angelo White, M.S., R.D., ATC, in an article for The Food Network, there are many fruits that lose their flavor when refrigerated. Some of these are melons (like watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew.) Tomatoes should also be stored on the counter; in the fridge they become "mealy," White says.


Potatoes should not be stored in your fridge because the cold temperatures will "break down the starches in potatoes, making them unpleasantly sweet and gritty," White notes. Real Simple suggests storing your potatoes in a paper bag (not plastic) in your pantry.


Similarly, onions should also be stored on your counter top — unless they're already cut. Once cut, put them in the fridge. Kathy LaLiberte, of, offers an onion-storing tip: "the more pungent the onion the longer it will store." Garlic shouldn't be refrigerated either, Real Simple advises.

garlic and onions

Here's one popular fruit that shouldn't be hanging out in your fridge — the apple. Fresh apples can be stored on the counter for up to two weeks, usually, White says. After that amount of time you can put them in the fridge to try to revive some freshness.


And finally, what about those finicky avocados? If you haven't cut them open — and they're ripe — you can actually keep them in the fridge, reports Avocado Central. However, if they're unripe, leave them on the counter. "Refrigeration can slow the ripening process," Avocado Central warns.

bowl of avocados

What about these food extras?

You can keep your hot sauce out of the fridge, says White, because of the vinegar content in hot sauces that act as a preservative.

Same with honey, because the cold will cause the honey to crystallize faster, according to the National Honey Board, which recommends you store honey at room temperature. 

Here's one thing you should refrigerate.

Finally, the fridge may actually be the best place to keep your olive oil — or at least a similar cool, dark place. Many people keep their olive oil in a cupboard near their stove, or right above their stove, for easy access, but those temperatures can make your oil go rancid quickly. How Stuff Works recommends you refrigerate all your olive oils unless it's a "premium extra-virgin" type.

olive oil close up

If your olive oil gets cloudy and solid after being in the fridge, that doesn't mean it's gone bad. Simply hold the bottle under running water to restore it to room temperature.