Storage plays a huge role in how long your groceries will last. If you find yourself constantly throwing away foods that have gone bad overnight, then you might be storing them improperly.
Blame it on convenience, odd family habits, or personal preference. Whatever the reason, there’s a good chance you’re wasting your food (and money) by storing these food items wrong. Let’s look at the 7 top items that you might be storing incorrectly.
1. Berries Don’t Belong In Plastic
Of all the foods that can go bad in seconds, berries are some of the worst. One minute, they’re juicy and delicious. The next minute, they’re shapeless and moldy.
You can blame that on the plastic packaging. Extend your berries’ freshness up to a week (that’s a century in berry years) by storing them in sealed mason jars.
As someone who has thrown out far more raspberries than I would like to admit, I can fully attest that this is a game-changer.
2. Cold Pressed And Infused Oils Need To Be Cold
Many people, myself included, store oil where it’s easily accessible—by the sink, stove, in a nearby cupboard. As it turns out, both light and heat can turn oil rancid over time.
For some oils, refrigeration is a convenient way to extend the shelf life. For others, it’s necessary. High-fat oils like coconut, palm, and lard are hardy and can withstand dry or cold storage.
However, cold-pressed oils like truffle, sunflower, canola, and olive are more delicate. These oils should be stored in the fridge. They might thicken or get cloudy when cold, but they’ll return to normal at room temperature within 20-30 minutes.
Infused oil should always be refrigerated. This is because the cold slows the growth of microbes on the garlic, rosemary, chilis, or other infused ingredients in the oil.
3. Avocados Should Stay On The Counter
Avocados tend to overripe if you look at them wrong. So, it can be tempting to slow down the ripening process by popping them in the fridge.
But doing so will freeze the avocado’s ripening process. Wherever the avocado was in its ripening cycle before you put it in the fridge, there it will stay.
This is great when you have avocados at peak ripeness that you don’t plan on eating that day. Keeping them cool will extend the fruits’ life for another day or two until you get to them.
However, placing a not-yet ripe avocado will leave you with a rock-hard, inedible avocado paperweight. Just let them do their thing on the counter.
4. Bread’s Spot Depends On Your Lifestyle (I Vote Fridge)
The jury is still out on whether bread belongs in the fridge or the counter. There are valid arguments for both locales. Refrigeration keeps your loaf edible for longer by slowing the growth of mold.
Conversely, keeping bread in the fridge tends to make it dryer. The change in flavor is most noticeable when the bread is uncooked for sandwiches.
Toasted bread from the counter and the fridge taste the same. Though, you’ll need to cook the latter a few seconds longer.
So, if you plan on going through a full loaf in half a week, go ahead and keep it in the bread box. But if you need your bread to last up to a week or more, then stick with the fridge.
5. Nuts Need To Go In The Fridge
Like cold-pressed oils, nuts contain a high level of unsaturated fat. This makes them less stable and more prone to spoilage from light and heat.
And since rancid nuts sound disgusting any way you slice it, these tasty snacks are best kept in the fridge. Storing nuts and seeds in the fridge will protect them from light, heat, and oxidation.
As a result, your nuts will taste more flavorful, fresher, and less bitter.
6. Keep Your Hot Sauce Hot
It’s common to store most of our condiments like ketchup, mustard, and salad dressing in the fridge. And if we store all of those in the cold, then hot sauce should be no different, right?
Wrong—hot sauce is chock full of vinegar, which prevents it from spoiling on the shelf. Hot sauce might change color over time, but that doesn’t mean it’s spoiling.
Chili peppers and garlic darken with age. Their flavors also deepen, and the spice level increases over time. Keeping hot sauce in the fridge can dampen the peppers’ effect, resulting in a milder sauce.
7. Peanut Butter Belongs In The Fridge
Peanut butter combines two food items already mentioned on this list: oil and nuts. It’s unsurprising, then, that this creamy (or crunchy) spread lasts the longest in the fridge.
To its credit, “normal” peanut butter, which contains sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oil, does okay on the shelf. It contains stabilizers that prevent the peanut oil and butter from separating for six months. “Natural” peanut butter, however, does not contain these stabilizers. It contains just two ingredients–peanuts and salt.
Refrigerating natural peanut butter is highly recommended for this reason. Refrigerated peanut butter maintains its texture and flavor longer.
Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have the PB next to the J in the fridge.