Ask the Coaches: 7 Foods You Should Not Refrigerate

Written by Joel Marion

7 Foods You Should Not Refrigerate

Q: It’s late at night, and for me, that means I’m making frequent trips to my refrigerator. I am literally standing here with the refrigerator door open, typing this question on my phone as I look for a healthy snack to satisfy my craving. And it got me thinking… are there any foods I should avoid refrigerating? If so, why?

Thanks for any thoughts or advice.

-Travis

Thanks for the great question, Travis! As I’m also a frequent late-night visitor to my fridge, I can definitely relate. In fact, I’m answering this question the same way you asked it… typing away on my phone by the bright light of my open fridge.

Hmmm, what to eat? I think I’ll go with strawberries tonight (low calorie, high fiber, low glycemic, and quite filling).

You’re also right about being concerned with foods you keep in your fridge. Yes, typically we put anything perishable into the cool, dark refrigerator to help it stay fresher, longer. Having said that, did you know that refrigeration can actually cause certain foods to spoil faster? It’s true. In fact, here are 7 foods you should not refrigerate and why:

7 Foods You Should Not Refrigerate

1. Bananas: Storing bananas in the refrigerator can actually disrupt the ripening process. In fact, once refrigerated, a banana may never be able to resume the ripening process even if returned to room temperature. Just think of how devastating that is for the banana :(. And how devastating it is for you if your banana never reaches its perfect ripeness! The best place to store your bananas is right on the countertop in easy view for a quick, delicious treat.

2. Sweet Potatoes: When exposed to cold temperatures, starches found in potatoes will turn to sugar, disrupting their flavor and texture, not to mention increasing their sugar content. If you prefer tasteless potatoes that cause weight gain, please go ahead and stick them in the fridge. If, like me, you prefer your sweet potatoes to taste sweet and delicious, keep them in a dark, cool (not cold) place. Mine reside on the bottom shelf in my pantry.

3. Tomatoes: Ever had a really amazing tomato right out of the fridge? Me either. Tomatoes actually lose their flavor and become mushy when refrigerated. Store your tomatoes on the counter in your fruit bowl. Again, they’ll be in sight, so you’ll remember to eat them while they’re at their freshest.

4. Apples: Tell me if you agree—there’s little worse than biting into a soft, mealy apple when you’re expecting a wonderful, crisp crunch. As with tomatoes, apples lose their texture and flavor when refrigerated. If you prefer your apples cold, place one in the fridge about 30 minutes before eating. The rest of the time, let them live on the counter. That’s what I always do.

5. Onions: If you love soggy onions and the rest of your food to taste and smell like onions, then you’ll definitely want to refrigerate your onions immediately. Otherwise, try storing them in a paper bag (within a cool, dark cabinet/pantry) for maximum shelf-life. They can help keep your sweet potatoes company.

6. Avocados: Much like the banana, refrigeration shuts down an avocado’s ripening enzymes. If you want guacamole next month, this may be okay, but if you’re like me, you probably want guacamole today. Go ahead and place them in your fruit bowl on the counter (if they last longer than the day you bring them home).

7. Coffee: While it used to be popular to store coffee in the freezer, contrary to popular belief, coffee is best stored at room temperature to allow the natural oils within the coffee bean to activate its pungent aromatic scent. My brother Big Jim, who savagely loves all things coffee, let me in on this little secret. On the flip side, refrigeration can actually cause coffee to absorb odors from other foods in your fridge. Curry flavored coffee anyone? I know I won’t make that mistake twice.

-Joel Marion

PS- If you have any health questions, please feel free to comment below. Our team of coaches will answer as many as possible.

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