8 Foods You’re Spoiling By Putting In the Refrigerator
It may be second nature to stash just about anything in the fridge, but this produce actually stays fresher at room temperature.
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The fridge can cut the number of antioxidants in half. A USDA study found that watermelons at room temperature develop nearly double the levels of compounds like beta-carotene (which promotes healthy skin and eyesight) than do refrigerated melons. Cool air stunts the antioxidant growth that occurs after harvest. Chill sliced melons to prevent bacterial growth.
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If this tropical plant is stored below 40 degrees F, it turns black quickly. Keep on the counter in a shady place, and mimic placing flowers in a vase: Fill a glass with water and submerge the stems. Place a zip-top plastic bag over the plant to allow it to breathe and stay moist.
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Cold temperatures convert potato starch into sugar. This results in a gritty texture and a slightly sweet flavor. Potatoes do best at 45° F (most refrigerators are set from 35° F to 38° F). Store them in a paper bag in the cool pantry. Sunlight causes chlorophyll to accumulate, turning potatoes green and sometimes bitter.
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These vegetables need air circulation to stay fresh. Store whole onions in a hole-punched paper bag in the pantry. Don’t keep near potatoes; onions emit gas and moisture that can cause potatoes to spoil quickly.
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Cool air alters chemical pathways in tomatoes, slowing those that contribute to fresh flavor and accelerating others that dull flavor. Store whole tomatoes on the counter for more delicious taste.
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The moisture in your fridge causes the beans to deteriorate, meaning you aren’t getting the fresh, bold flavor you want from your morning brew. Plus, the temperature fluctuates every time you open the door to your fridge, creating condensation, which in turn creates even more moisture. Stash your coffee beans in an airtight container in the pantry instead.
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Garlic cloves fare best in temperatures between 60 and 65° F. Put your bulbs in a ventilated container to allow moisture in, and stash it in a cool place.
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The vinegar and preservatives in store-bought hot sauce keep it from going bad in the pantry. In the fridge, the spicy peppers might lose some of their heat.
Sources: Sheryl Barringer, professor and chair of the department of food science and technology at Ohio State University; medicalnewstoday.com; Cooking Light; lifehack.com; theyummylife.com; eatingwell.com; ohionline.osu.edu; cals.uidaho.edu; rodalesorganiclife.com; foodnetwork.com