11 foods you should never keep in the fridge – and it could make you ill

It’s so easy to get home from the food shop and chuck most of our items into the fridge without thinking – but there are a lot of foods that fare a lot better at room temperature

Which foods should we keep in the fridge?

We’ve all had the debate about where you store your chocolate; the cupboard or the fridge – with sensible people choosing the cupboard, of course.

The argument seems to divide people right down the middle with both sides insisting they’re right.

Obviously, there is no ‘right’ answer to this question and it all comes down to preference, but there are actually several foods we often keep in the fridge that are significantly nicer (and safer) to eat if we don’t store them in the cold.

1. Bread

A nation of sandwich lovers, Brits get through millions of loaves of bread every year. But storing it in the fridge actually causes bread to dry out much more quickly.

Loaves of bread are best left out of the fridge


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Try storing it in a cool, dry place – like a bread bin, or some bread bags.

2. Melons

The baking hot days of summer are a distant memory as winter approaches, but the mouth watering thought of biting into a cold slice of melon on a warm day is always enticing.

But according to Good Housekeeping, melons shouldn’t be stored in the fridge until they’ve already been cut.

For the best quality melon, keep it in a fruit bowl until you’ve had your first slice – then you can wrap the rest in clingfilm and put it in the fridge.

3. Bananas

Unpacking the shopping from the supermarket, it’s easy to pull out a bunch of bananas and pop them straight in the fridge. But it might be best to wait a few days.

Bananas hail from tropical climates and their cells have no natural defence against the cold, according to A Moment of Science.

If they’re a bit green, they won’t ripen at all if you put them in the fridge. Instead, they’ll turn mushy and black as their enzymes break down the nutrients – not particularly appetising.

Apparently if they’re already ripe, it’s safer to pop them in the fridge.

4. Tomatoes

As with most fruit and veg, we assume the best place to store tomatoes is in the fridge, right?

Tomatoes actually taste better if left at room temperature for a few days


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But apparently, our assumption is incorrect. In his book, On Food and Cooking, Harold McGee explains that refrigerating tomatoes damages the membrane inside the fruit, altering the taste and texture.

This causes tomatoes to lose their flavour, which leads to them becoming watery and unripe. If we leave tomatoes on the counter, they will develop a fuller flavour.

5. Potatoes

This one is slightly more serious, with the Food Standards Agency advising you never, ever store potatoes in the fridge, which could be harmful.

The FSA website explains: “The most important food not to keep in the fridge are potatoes.

“When these are stored in the fridge, the starch in the potato is converted to sugar. When baked or fried, these sugars combine with the amino acid asparagine and produce the chemical acrylamide, which is thought to be harmful.”

The FSA advises never to keep potatoes in the fridge


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More information about this is available here.

6. Cake

If a cake contains fresh cream – for example, in a Victoria sponge – then it’s advised that you keep it in the fridge.

But if not, it actually fares very well in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days.

Why? Simply because it tastes much, much better.

7. Coffee

If you’re in the habit of throwing your coffee jar into the fridge (although we’re not sure why you would), then stop immediately.

Coffee beans and grounds take in the smells from their surroundings, and you don’t want coffee that tastes like stilton.

Keep it in an airtight container outside of the fridge.

8. Honey

There are plenty of condiments and flavourings you can keep in the fridge – like mayonnaise and Ketchup – and the quality of the food isn’t affected.

The composition of honey changes when it’s stored in cold temperatures


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But if you try to put honey in the fridge, it completely changes its composition. Instead of lovely, runny honey to swirl over your porridge, you’re left with crystallised, gloopy lumps of the stuff.

9. Onions

Overall, onions are best stored in dry, ventilated areas. Not to mention, if they’re in the fridge they could taint the taste of your other foods.

Avoid refrigerating them, but make sure you store them in a cool, dry place. You don’t want them to start sprouting.

10. Garlic

Garlic is also pretty strong-tasting, much like onions. Garlic bulbs and cloves should also be stored in cool, dry places – but not the fridge.

11. Avocado

There’s noting more irritating than cutting into an avocado, hoping to make a delicious breakfast, and realising it’s unripe.

But when we put half an avocado in the fridge, hoping it will be ripe tomorrow, we’re wasting our time, apparently. It’s thought the cool temperature hinders the ripening process.

Good Housekeeping recommends you keep them in ‘brown open bags’ to ripen. Put them next to bananas (also out of the fridge, remember!) if you want them to be ready to eat faster.

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