5 Foods You Didn't Know You Should Store in the Fridge
Everyone stores their groceries differently, and sometimes that sparks debate over where you should keep specific groceries. For example, should butter go in the fridge or on the counter? What about ketchup? And do you store your nuts in a container in the cupboard or the refrigerator? Sometimes, the best place to keep some of your food items can come as a surprise, so we gathered up a few products that could go either way. In most cases, these groceries won't go bad anytime soon if you leave them on the counter or in your pantry, but they'll last longer in the fridge (which might mean you can save a little on your grocery bill, too!).
1. Nuts (and Natural Nut Butters)
We know you're probably used to leaving your nuts out on the counter or tucked in the pantry, but if you want them to last, it's better to keep them in the fridge. The oils in nuts can go rancid over time, and storing them in the refrigerator will help prevent that. You can still store nuts on your countertop for a couple of months, but if you have any that you want to save longer, pop them in the fridge. If you feel like they're getting a stale flavor, toast them for a few minutes, and they'll be snack-worthy again. The same is true for natural nut butters, like organic peanut butter. The oils in natural nut butters can also go rancid, so you should keep them in the fridge after opening a jar.
2. Whole Grain and Whole Wheat Flours
Flour is a pantry staple in most homes, but if you prefer whole grain or whole wheat flour over all-purpose white flour, you should make space for it in the refrigerator. As the name suggests, whole grain flour is made from whole wheat grains—including bran, germ, and endosperm. Bran and germ are high in vitamins, nutrients, and healthy fats, which can go rancid over time (and attract unwanted pests to munch on your flour). So to help preserve them and keep away pantry pests, store any whole grain flour in your fridge. In contrast, all-purpose flour is usually made with just the endosperm, which doesn't have as much oil, so it's OK to keep in your cupboard.
3. Condiments (Like Ketchup and Soy Sauce)
Restaurants may leave their ketchup bottles on the table, but that doesn't mean you should. Heinz has stated that its ketchup is shelf-stable due to its natural acidity. However, they also added a caveat: Consumers should still refrigerate their ketchup after opening it. Once your ketchup is open, it's easier for the product to deteriorate over time, especially after a month at room temperature (you should also refrigerate homemade ketchup). Soy sauce is a similar case—it's unlikely to spoil if you store it in your cupboard because of its high sodium content. However, it can lose its flavor over time if not stored in the fridge.
4. Sweet Corn
For the best flavor, you should cook and eat sweet corn right after it's been picked. But if you wind up with extra ears on your hands, don't leave them out on your countertop like most fruits and veggies. Unless you preserve it, sweet corn starts to lose its flavor after harvesting. Storing it in the fridge with the husks on will help it last longer and keep its sweet taste.
5. Flour Tortillas
After opening a bag of flour tortillas, you should keep leftovers in the fridge. Your extra tortillas won't go bad immediately if you leave them on the counter, but they'll dry out sooner than if you store them in the fridge. Keeping your flour tortillas in the refrigerator will extend their shelf-life by as much as a few weeks—and you'll have yummy tortillas on hand for your next taco night.
These tips may leave you with less space in your fridge, but trust us, they'll pay off in the long run. While plenty of foods are better left out of the fridge, they will last longer if refrigerated. Plus, you can finally settle the debate in your house about whether ketchup belongs in the refrigerator or on the counter!