Save Space: You Don’t Have To Keep These Foods In The Refrigerator

Refrigerators can extend a food’s lifespan from a few hours to a few weeks. They can aid many foods, but some are better left outside of the fridge. Even certain fruits and vegetables last longer outside of the refrigerator.

For instance, onions spoil more quickly in low temperatures. Herbs such as basil will not survive in the fridge. Even condiments, such as ketchup, are sometimes better left in the pantry. Here’s why you should keep all of these foods out of the fridge and some short-term fridge-preserving hacks when the right time calls for them.

Cold Bread Is Dry Bread

Bread loaves are stacked on a refrigerator shelf.
Getty Images
Getty Images

Placing bread in the refrigerator is the worst thing you can do for the product. As soon as bread comes out of the oven, it starts going bad from the “retrogradation and recrystallization of starch.” Essentially, the starch slowly transforms back into crystals, which makes bread become hard and stale.

If you put bread in the fridge, it will become hard. Keep bread away from moisture. Store it in a bread box or plastic bag, and it will last for a week or more.

Onions Go To Waste In The Fridge

A woman sorts onions for sale in a large pile of onions.
Rehman Asad/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Rehman Asad/NurPhoto via Getty Images

If you store onions in the refrigerator, they may spoil more quickly. Moisture causes onions to deteriorate, and they may become moldy. If you put them in the crisper, they will go bad sooner because of the lack of ventilation.

Onions need a well-ventilated, dry area. Store them at room temperature in a bowl or mesh bag. Keep them away from light; it will make them turn bitter. In the pantry, onions stay fresh for two to three months.

Cucumbers Go Bad More Quickly In The Fridge

Sliced cucumbers lie on a cutting board.
Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post via Getty Images
Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Believe it or not, cucumbers last longer when they are stored at room temperature. Researchers at the University of California, Davis, found that cucumbers are sensitive to temperatures under 50°F. Refrigerators are kept between 38°F and 40°F.

When cucumbers are in the fridge, they can get “chilling injuries.” The excess moisture makes cucumbers rot more quickly. They can develop bruises, become slimy, or turn black. If you prefer cold cucumbers, stick them in the fridge for a few minutes before eating.

Never Put Unripe Bananas In The Fridge

A person picks up a banana with brown spots.
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If your bananas are still green, do not put them in the fridge. Because of the cold temperature, they will not ripen — not even when you take them out of the refrigerator. If you put green bananas in the fridge, they will turn black when you remove them.

At room temperature, bananas usually ripen within two to five days. If you want to lengthen that process, you can put yellow bananas in the fridge for a few days.

Avocados Will Stay Green In The Fridge

A man holds up a ripe avocado.
John Fredricks/NurPhoto via Getty Images
John Fredricks/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Cold air causes avocados to ripen more slowly. If you put a green avocado in the fridge, it will stay green for weeks. Keep avocados at room temperature if you want them to ripen within a few days or a week.

If you want to slow down the ripening process, pop them in the fridge. Keep them in a plastic bag away from vegetables, which can rot them more quickly. Nothing is worse than an overripe avocado.

Some Salad Dressings Can Stay In The Pantry

Three salad dressings stand next to each other.
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Getty Images

Not all salad dressings need to be refrigerated. Oil-based dressings, such as vinaigrettes, do not need lower temperatures to stay fresh. They are filled with acid and fats that prevent bacteria from infecting them.

However, salad dressings that contain fresh herbs, mayonnaise, eggs, or garlic need to be refrigerated, at least after opening. These can go bad if left at room temperature. Check the ingredients list before sticking your salad dressing in the fridge. It could save you some room.

You Don’t Want Droopy Carrots

Carrots and other vegetables are stacked in the refrigerator's crispers.
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Refrigerators create condensation, and carrots rot more quickly when they are wet. They may become soggy and droopy if they become wet. Keep them dry by storing them at room temperature.

Outside of the fridge, carrots stay fresh for three to five days. If you want them to last longer, wrap them in a paper towel before placing them in the fridge. Replace the paper towel every few days. This will keep the carrots dry and prevent drooping.

Apples Don’t Like Moisture

A green apple with a bite in it sits in the fridge.
Wodicka/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Wodicka/ullstein bild via Getty Images

At room temperature, apples can last a week or more. But they tend to rot more quickly in the fridge. Cold adds moisture, and when apples have moisture, they release more ethylene gas. This is the gas that makes produce go bad.

Store apples outside of the fridge and away from other fruits such as bananas. When other fruits emit ethylene gas, they can rot anything else around them. If you store apples in the fridge, keep them away from other fruits and vegetables. They can last a long time if left as the only fruit in your crisper drawer.

In Most Countries, Eggs Are Kept At Room Temperature

A customer chooses eggs to place in a carton.
NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images
NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images

In most countries, eggs are stored at room temperature. Eggs have a natural coating that keeps them fresh (otherwise, how would chicks develop outside of the fridge?) A UK study found that there’s no difference between storing eggs in the fridge or at room temperature.

However, this is not the case in the US. The USDA requires food manufacturers to wash eggs before selling them, which removes the natural coating. These eggs need to be refrigerated to prevent salmonella poisoning. We just wanted to highlight that they are naturally capable of staying fresh outside of the fridge.

All-Purpose Flour Doesn’t Have To Be In The Fridge

Bags of all-purpose flour are on a store shelf.
Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Storing flour in the refrigerator will not harm it. In fact, it can stay in the fridge for up to a year. But you don’t need to take up fridge space. Storing flour in an airtight container, in a dry, cool spot in your cupboard, will keep it fresh for up to six months.

Where you keep flour matters less than how you store it. Always seal it in an airtight container away from moisture, air, and light.

Chilling Coffee Beans Will Ruin The Flavor

Whole coffee beans sit in a white mug.
Agron Beqiri/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Agron Beqiri/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Whether you have whole coffee beans, grounds, or K-cups, keep them away from the fridge. Coffee beans should stay away from heat, light, and moisture, says the National Coffee Association. Wetness will make the coffee taste worse.

Keep your coffee beans cool and dry. Seal them in an airtight container; exposure to air will make them go stale. While coffee beans don’t go bad, they will lose their flavor the more they are exposed to cold, heat, air, or moisture.

Is It Worth It To Refrigerate Leftover Coffee?

A Starbucks barista serves iced coffee.
Ming Yeung/Getty Images
Ming Yeung/Getty Images

Once brewed coffee becomes cold, it stays fresh for up to two hours. You can lengthen this timespan by keeping them in the fridge for up to a week. However, this could compromise the taste of your coffee and the smell of your fridge.

In the refrigerator, coffee can make the fridge smell. Porous foods, such as certain fruits, vegetables, and rice, can absorb these smells. Plus, brewed coffee will lose its taste after day one. If you want to refrigerate brewed coffee, keep it in an airtight container.

Save Your Tomatoes!

Packaged tomatoes are in a refrigerator drawer.
Arno Burgi/picture alliance via Getty Images
Arno Burgi/picture alliance via Getty Images

Do not store tomatoes in the refrigerator. food scientist Harold McGee told Epicurious that tomatoes thrive around 55ºF. This is about 20ºF higher than a refrigerator. The wetness in a refrigerator could make tomatoes soggy and bruised.

Researchers at the University of Göttingen found that there is no difference between putting tomatoes in the fridge or outside of the fridge. In both cases, tomatoes have the best taste within four days. Free up space in your refrigerator by keeping tomatoes at room temperature.

Chocolate Loves Room Temperature

Chocolate bars from different brands lie on a table.
Alexander Blum/picture alliance via Getty Images
Alexander Blum/picture alliance via Getty Images

Chocolate expert Luke Owen Smith advises people to never put their chocolate in the fridge. Why? Because it doesn’t react well to cold temperatures. The best temperature range for chocolate is 65°F to 68°F, a bit cooler than room temperature.

In the refrigerator, excess moisture can create “sugar bloom.” This is when the sugar rises to the chocolate’s surface, leading to discoloration and an odd texture. Unless your chocolate is melting, don’t stick it in the fridge.

Refrigerators Ruin Plums

Sliced plums lie in a bowl.
Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images
Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Plums taste best when you leave them out at room temperature. If you put them in the refrigerator, the cold and wet atmosphere can warp them. They will become less flavorful and soggier.

As a tropical fruit, plums should be kept in a dry area away from direct light. Once they have ripened, you can stick them in the refrigerator for a few days to lengthen their lifespan. But never put unripe plums in the fridge.

Refrigerating Garlic Is A Mistake

A person holds up a plastic bag of garlic bulbs in a grocery store.
Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images
Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

If you’ve bought fresh garlic at the grocery store, you may have noticed that they are not refrigerated. This is because refrigeration causes garlic to rot more quickly. Moisture causes the bulbs to deteriorate and become moldy.

Garlic lasts much longer outside of the fridge. Keep it in a dark, dry place with plenty of air circulation to prevent mold. At room temperature, garlic will stay fresh for three to five months. That’s plenty of time to cook with it.

Believe It Or Not, Ketchup Doesn’t Need The Fridge

Heinz  ketchup bottles sit on a store shelf.
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Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Have you ever seen ketchup bottles on the tables at restaurants? They can stay there because ketchup does not require refrigeration. It has naturally high acidity, which keeps it fresh at room temperature.

Ketchup can last for one month outside of the refrigerator. If you need it for longer, put it in the fridge. The cold temperature will make the ingredients last longer. That said, ketchup has so many preservatives that refrigerating it is not necessary.

Butter Can Last For Weeks Outside Of The Fridge

A small container of butter sits on a wooden table.
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Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Despite being a dairy product, butter can survive outside of the refrigerator. In fact, Korean researchers discovered that butter can last for weeks to months at room temperature. Butter, especially salted butter, has so many fats that its risk of bacterial growth is low.

The USDA says that butter is safe at room temperature, but it does risk going rancid. If the temperature is under 70° F, and if the butter is in an airtight container, it will last for weeks on the counter.

Cereal Shouldn’t Be Wet–Unless It’s In Milk

Several brands of cereal boxes fill the shelves at a grocery store.
DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images
DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images

Just as bread rots quickly in the refrigerator, cereal does also. The cold will crystallize any sugar flakes, and the moisture will make the cereal soggy. You don’t want soggy cereal before it gets in milk.

If left unopened, cereal can last for six to eight months at room temperature. In the fridge, it will only stay good for about a week. Emily Broad Leib, the director of Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic, says that cereal doesn’t go bad. It just becomes stale and tasteless.

Like All Stone Fruits, Peaches Should Stay Dry

Three peaches are in a bowl.
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Eddy Buttarelli/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Peaches are a “stone fruit,” meaning that they have a hard pit inside of them. According to the LA Times, stone fruits do not react well to refrigerators. The cold temperature can interrupt the ripening process, resulting in soggy, flavorless peaches.

Allow your peaches to ripen outside of the fridge in a dry, low-light area. Once the peach has reached its desired ripeness, then you can place it in the refrigerator for a short time.

Honey Lasts For Years In The Pantry

Honey drips off of a spoon.
Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/picture alliance via Getty Images
Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/picture alliance via Getty Images

According to the National Honey Board, honey can stay fresh for up to two years in the pantry. Some can even last for decades! But if you put it in the refrigerator, you will shorten honey’s shelf life.

Low temperatures cause sugar to crystallize. Over time, honey will harden in the refrigerator, making it inedible. As long as you don’t add spoilable food to your honey jar, it will stay fresh for years in your pantry.

Oranges Can Dry Out In Fridge

Oranges and tangerines lie in a package.
ARIANA DREHSLER/AFP via Getty Images
ARIANA DREHSLER/AFP via Getty Images

Oranges are a flexible fruit. You can store them in the fridge, but they also last for a week at room temperature. If you keep them in the refrigerator, you risk the fruit drying out. They can lose their moisture from the condensation leaking out of them.

That said, vitamin C deteriorates quickly at room temperature. If you want your oranges to last longer than a week, pop them in the fridge for a few days. Then take them out to keep them juicy.

Parmesan Does Not Require Cold Temperatures

Triangles of parmesan are in a basket.
Mario Tama/Getty Images
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Believer it or not, hard cheeses can last for a long time outside of the fridge. The USDA says that you do not need to refrigerate hard cheeses such as parmesan. Even young parmesan can last for 24 hours at room temperature.

That said, cheeses last longer in the fridge whether they are hard or not. If you are going to eat cheese within a few days, you can leave it out. But always refrigerate soft cheeses.

Unlike Other Herbs, Basil Doesn’t Like The Cold

Vietnamese basil is photographed from above.
Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto via Getty Images

While some herbs can survive in the fridge, basil does not like it. The excess moisture can cause basil to turn black. If you put a growing basil plant in the refrigerator, it will wilt.

Basil prefers room temperature and sunlight. If you have a plant, keep it near the sink where it can soak up some moisture. If you have fresh basil pieces, place them in a bowl of water at room temperature, similar to flowers.

Mangoes Like Warmer Temperatures

A bowl of mangoes is next to a fork.
Romulo Yanes/Condé Nast via Getty Images
Romulo Yanes/Condé Nast via Getty Images

Like bananas, mangoes are a tropical fruit. All tropical fruits prefer warmer climates. Registered dietitian Lisa Samuels advises people not to put mangoes in the fridge before they ripen. If you do, the mangoes will never ripen and immediately rot.

The National Mango Board Recommends ripening the fruit at room temperature. If you want to extend its life, you can put in the fridge for a few days after it has ripened. After it is ripe, it will remain fresh for two to five days.

Keep Hot Sauce Lukewarm

Tabasco hot sauce is sold at a supermarket.
Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Believe it or not, hot sauce does not need to be refrigerated, even after you open the bottle. Hot sauce contains multiple preservatives, many of which are acidic, such as vinegar. As a result, hot sauces can remain fresh for years outside of the refrigerator.

That said, refrigeration can still slow the oxidation process. If you have salsa with fresh fruit inside, refrigerate it. You can also chill sauces such as Tobasco if you want to maintain its color and texture for longer periods of time.

Apricots Are Too Sensitive For The Fridge

Freshly-picked apricots sit in a basket.
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Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Apricots are porous fruits with a lot of water. Therefore, they are too sensitive for the fridge. The cold can change their texture and flavor, and the excess moisture could even make them rot more quickly. You don’t want soggy apricots, do you?

Store apricots at room temperature say the experts at the Food Network. Keep them away from light and heat. Once they have ripened, they can go into the fridge for a few days to stay fresh for longer.

Jam Lasts Longer Outside Of The Fridge

A woman holds up a container of jam.
JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP via Getty Images
JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP via Getty Images

Despite being made of fruit, jam does not need to go in the refrigerator. Jam has a lot of preservatives and a low water content. With a pH of three, it is too acidic to harbor bacteria.

Refrigeration can actually damage jam with its excess moisture. In the pantry, jam lasts for one to two years, while in the fridge, it stays fresh for six months. Take care not to add other foods (such as cheese) in your jam jar.

Watermelons Have Too Much Water For The Fridge

Slices of watermelon lie against a pink background.
Mariah Tauger/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Mariah Tauger/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

In 2012, the USDA discovered that watermelons last longer outside of the fridge. There are many reasons for this. One is that rind stays intact when it is between between 50°F and 59°F. At cooler temperatures, the rind will break down, and watermelon will become mushy.

Watermelons have too much water to last in the fridge. Since they are 92% water, they become damaged from extra moisture. Keep watermelons at room temperature, where they will stay fresh for seven to ten days.

Even Mustard Doesn’t Need Refrigeration

A jar of mustard stands next to hot dogs with mustard.
Tom Kelley/Getty Images
Tom Kelley/Getty Images

Just as ketchup doesn’t need to be in the fridge, mustard doesn’t either. French’s, the company that creates yellow mustard, says that “it’s not necessary to refrigerate if you prefer to consume your mustard at room temperature.”

Mustard can stay fresh for 18 to 24 months at room temperature. If you want it to last a few months beyond the expiration date, you can put it in the refrigerator. But you don’t need a lower temperature to save the taste or texture.

Cantaloupes Are Healthier At Room Temperature

A spoon digs into a cantaloupe.
Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

If you want tasty cantaloupe, do not store it in the refrigerator. Refrigerating cantaloupes can harm its texture and taste, making it too soggy. Research from the USDA found that unrefrigerated cantaloupes have more antioxidants, which makes them healthier.

If you slice a cantaloupe open, put it in the refrigerator for three to four days. This will slow the growth of bacteria on its surface. But do not put it in the fridge before it becomes ripe.

Olive Oil Goes Bad In The Refrigeration

A woman pours olive oil onto slices of bread.
Simona Granati – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images
Simona Granati – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Olive oil lasts for up to 24 months in the pantry, while extra virgin olive oil stays fresh for up to 18 months. You do not need to refrigerate it. In fact, chilling olive oil could make it go bad more quickly.

When olive oil is exposed to cold temperatures, it could solidify and turn cloudy. That changes the color, taste, and texture. That’s not what you want for cooking oil. Store olive oil in a dark, dry pantry.

Honeydew Does Not Need To Ripen

A plate of slices honeydew has a fork.
Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Unlike other melons, honeydew is not at risk of ripening incorrectly in the fridge. Once honey is picked, it ripens. Hence, you don’t have to keep it in or out of the fridge to have it ripen to the desired taste.

You can keep honeydew outside the refrigerator for two to four days. If you want it to last longer, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to ten days. But you don’t have to.

Don’t Let Coconut Oil Become Too Firm

Coconut oil sticks next to coconut flakes and coconut milk.
Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Because coconut oil is mainly fats, it does not need to be refrigerated. It can stay fresh in the pantry for up to two years. You can refrigerate it, but it will not stay fresh for longer. Refrigerators could even make it worse.

At room temperature, coconut oil is in a semi-solid state, similar to butter. If you refrigerate it, it will become too solid. You may have a harder time spreading it or cooking with it when it’s chilled.

Some Pickles Don’t Need Refrigeration

A fresh jar of pickles sits on a shelf.
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images

In the past, people stored pickles in a barrel. These pickles were so heavily acidic that they destroyed bacteria before they could rot the pickles. However, other pickles — such as the ones in a grocery store — are cooked with brine. These need to be refrigerated as soon as they’re opened.

If the pickles were cooked in brine, refrigerate it. If not, you can keep it at room temperature. Even brined pickles can last for a while at room temperature. At worst, they’ll ferment, and the texture will taste off.

Ripen Pears At Room Temperature

Pears are stacked in a crate.
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Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

When you buy pears from the store, they are likely not ripe. Pears need to ripen at room temperature after they are picked. If you want a perfect pear taste —not watery, bland, or squishy — let them ripen at room temperature.

If you refrigerate pears before they ripen, they may become soggy and develop wet spots from the extra moisture. Do not refrigerate pears until they darken in color. Afterward, you can stick them in the fridge for a few days.

Keep Potatoes Warm!

A customer puts potatoes in a plastic bag.
Vladimir GerdoTASS via Getty Images
Vladimir GerdoTASS via Getty Images

Never put raw potatoes in the refrigerator. The low temperatures will destroy the sugars, and the potatoes will become mushy. They also risk growing mold if they sit in moisture for too long.

If you want your potatoes to last for a few weeks, store them in the pantry. Keep them away from moisture in a cool, dark area. If you do refrigerate potatoes, it will be harder to boil or roast them. Make things easier on yourself.

When To Refrigerate Strawberries

Packaged strawberries sit on a refrigerator shelf.
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Camille Delbos/Art In All of Us/Corbis via Getty Images

Strawberries do not need to immediately go in the fridge. They can stay on the counter for a couple of days. If you plan to eat strawberries within 48 hours, you can keep them in the pantry. If not, stick them in the fridge.

If you want strawberries to last longer, do not wash them immediately when you get home. The extra moisture will cause strawberries to spoil more quickly. Wash them right before you eat or cut them.

Why Pumpkins Can Sit Outside

A child points while in a pumpkin patch.
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Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Have you ever been to a pumpkin patch? All of those pumpkins are likely safe to eat. Pumpkins can remain edible for two to three months outside of the refrigerator. Unless you cut it, you don’t need to refrigerate pumpkins.

Store pumpkins in a cool, dry place such as pantry or basement. Refrigerators are too moist and may make pumpkins go bad faster. You can store them outside, too, as long as they stay away from water and light.

Why Soy Sauce Stays Fresh In The Pantry

Bottles of soy sauce are for sale at a Japanese supermarket.
James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images
James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images

Like many sauces, soy sauce does not need to be in the refrigerator. Because soy sauce is fermented, it is too acidic to host bacteria. After it’s opened, soy sauce stays fresh in the pantry for up to six months.

If you want your soy sauce to last for a year, you can put it in the fridge. But it will not be any less tasty if you store it in a pantry. Keep soy sauce away from light and heat.

You Don’t Need Cold Peanut Butter

A spoon sticks out of a jar of peanut butter.
Romulo Yanes/Condé Nast via Getty Images
Romulo Yanes/Condé Nast via Getty Images

You don’t need to store peanut butter in the fridge. If you do, you may have a harder time dishing it out of the container. Peanut butter jars last for three to four months in the pantry. If you want it to last for another three or four months, put it in the refrigerator to further extend its life cycle.

There is little benefit to putting peanut butter in the fridge. At worst, peanut butter oils can separate in the pantry. If this happens, stir it a bit.

Eggplant Is Sensitive To The Fridge

Eggplants hang from the vine.
SEBASTIEN ST-JEAN/AFP via Getty Images
SEBASTIEN ST-JEAN/AFP via Getty Images

Eggplant is a delicious — but sensitive — vegetable. It can go bad from too much light, moisture, or heat. If it remains in the fridge for too long, it could become mushy, moldy, or not as tasty.

Eggplants can stay fresh at room temperature for three to five days. If you want it to last a few more days, put it in the fridge. When you do, wrap it in a paper towel. Otherwise, the condensation will make it spoil quickly.

Never Put Dried Spices In The Fridge

Jars of dried spices stand on a marble counter.
Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images

You don’t need to store spices in the fridge. In fact, dried spices can be harmed if they are in the fridge. Moisture and low temperatures can break down the chemical compounds in spices. The result is a worse taste, texture, and aroma.

Ground spices can last for one year at room temperature; whole spices stray fresh for up to three years. Keep them away from heat (the stove) or light (a window). These could fade or deteriorate spices.

Canned Tuna Can Take Care Of Itself

Stacks of canned tuna are in a grocery store.
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images

Canned tuna does not need to be refrigerated. In fact, it’s better to keep it away from moisture. Because of its preservatives, canned tuna can last for three to five years in the pantry.

The only time you refrigerate canned tuna is after you open it. If you have an unfinished can of tuna, it will stay fresh in the refrigerator for one or two days. Otherwise, store your unopened cans in a cool, dark, dry place.

There’s No Reason To Chill Whole Pineapple

Whole pineapples for sale lie in a pile.
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Pascal Deloche/Godong/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Whole pineapples should not go in the fridge. Low temperatures can ruin the test and texture by over-hydrating it and breaking down the rind. If you do store a whole pineapple in the fridge, put it in the warmest part, on the top shelf or the door.

You can keep whole pineapples at room temperature for three to five days. After you cut a pineapple, store the slices in the fridge for about the same amount of time.

Like All Tropical Fruits, Papaya Likes Warmth

Rows of whole papayas are being sold in India.
Sanchit Khanna/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Sanchit Khanna/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Like all tropical fruits, papaya is sensitive to low temperatures. Refrigeration could harm the papaya while it’s ripening. It may become soggy, over-watered, bland, or squishy if you stick it in the fridge before it’s ripe.

Keep papaya at room temperature until it’s ripe. If you need to make it last longer after that, put it in the fridge. Don’t chill it too early; nobody likes the taste of a watery papaya. Remember that tropical fruits like warmer temperatures.

Chilling Sweet Potatoes Ruins The Taste

Different varieties of sweet potatoes are sliced on a cutting board.
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Britta Pedersen/picture alliance via Getty Images

If you like the taste of sweet potatoes, do not store them in the refrigerator. Doing so will harden them and ruin the taste. The low temperatures and moisture hardens sugars in the potato, which changes the flavor and texture.

At room temperature, sweet potatoes will last for one to two weeks. Like regular potatoes, place them in a well-ventilated container such as a mesh bag. Too much moisture can cause mold to grow, and you don’t want that.

Frosting (Even Buttercream) Doesn’t Need The Fridge

Cans of frosting are on a supermarket shelf.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

This may come as a surprise, but you don’t need to refrigerate frosting. Canned frosting remains edible for 12 to 18 months in the pantry. Even buttercream frosting can stay in the pantry. Frosting has more sugar than dairy, and it doesn’t spoil easily.

Once you open a can of frosting, it will remain safe at room temperature for about three days. If you want it to last longer, put it in the fridge. Otherwise, enjoy your dessert!

Even Pumpkin Pie Can Survive Outside Of The Fridge

A homemade pumpkin pie is pictured.
Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Even pumpkin pies can sit out on the counter for a while. If you bought your pie at the store, then it likely has a lot of preservatives that don’t need refrigeration. Store-bought pumpkin pies can remain on the counter until their sell-by date.

Homemade pumpkin pies are different. Because they don’t have preservatives, they can remain outside of the fridge for two hours, says the FDA. In the refrigerator, they last for two to four days.

Applesauce Only Needs Cold After It’s Opened

A bowl of applesauce is seen.
Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post via Getty Images
Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Applesauce does not need to be refrigerated until it’s opened. When it is packaged, it has so many preservatives that it can remain in the pantry for up to four months. If you open one, you can stick it in the fridge for a few days.

Homemade applesauce is a different stories. Without preservatives, applesauce must remain in the refrigerator. It can remain edible for up to ten days. For long-lasting applesauce, buy it from the store.

Vinegar Is Self-Preserving

A line of rice vinegar bottles is seen at a factory.
HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images
HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

Like many oils, vinegar can survive outside of the fridge. According to the Vinegar Institute, vinegar is so highly acidic that it cannot harbor bacteria. Vinegar can last in the pantry for two to three years, and white vinegar can last indefinitely.

You can put vinegar in the refrigerator; it won’t get damaged, but it won’t be improved, either. It’ll simply be cold. All vinegar tends to lose flavor after opening, and refrigeration does not prevent that.

Vanilla Extract Can Last Forever In The Pantry

A bottle of vanilla extract sits next to a plate of whole spices.
Joseph Victor Stefanchik for The Washington Post via Getty Images
Joseph Victor Stefanchik for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Vanilla extract can last forever if you store it correctly. Keep it between the temperatures 60°F and 80°F. Otherwise, it will decompose. If you refrigerate it, it’ll become cloudy, and the flavor may be affected.

Store vanilla extract in the pantry. This oil likes cool, dark places, like most cooking and baking oils. If you have vanilla beans, store them in an airtight container at room temperature, not in the refrigerator. Vanilla prefers warm temperatures.

Not All Hummus Needs The Fridge

Hummus is in a red bowl.
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Not all hummus requires refrigeration. In the grocery store, you’ll find two types of hummus: refrigerated and nonrefrigerated. Canned hummus, which is often nonrefrigerated, does not need to be chilled. It can survive for months in the pantry.

If you buy refrigerated hummus, it can last up to ten days beyond its expiration date or after you’ve opened it. Keep this in mind the next time you go out to buy hummus. How long do you want it to last?

Beef Jerky Can Avoid The Fridge If It Isn’t Open

Plastic bags contain beef jerky.
JONATHAN WONG/South China Morning Post via Getty Images
JONATHAN WONG/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

You may have seen sealed beef jerky packages at the gas station or convenience store. As long as beef jerky is in an airtight container, it will remain edible for up to one year. Even homemade beef jerky can last for one to two weeks outside of the fridge.

However, once you open beef jerky, you should refrigerate it. Exposing it to air will also make it susceptible to bacteria. Refrigerating it will help it last longer.

Banana Bread Will Dry Out In The Fridge

Homemade banana bread sits on a table.
Mike Marsland/WireImage
Mike Marsland/WireImage

Whether you bake banana bread or buy it at the store, do not stick it in the fridge. The moisture and low temperatures will cause banana bread to dry out, similarly to bread. You don’t want to eat dry banana bread.

The same goes for other types of cakes and pastries. The refrigerator circulates cool air, which evaporates the moisture from breads. Banana bread can be kept on the counter for up to four days.

Dried Fruit Lasts Longer Than Fresh Fruit

A vendor stall has a bar of dried fruits.
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Dried fruit has far less water than fresh fruit. They are also preserved with chemicals to last longer. As a result, you don’t need to refrigerate dried fruits. In the pantry, they can survive for up to six months.

You can refrigerate dried fruits, but you don’t need to. To help them last longer, seal them in an airtight container. A plastic bad with appropriate sealing will work. Also, keep them away from light, heat, cold, and especially moisture.

The Fridge Doesn’t Help Figs Much

Fresh caramelized figs sit in a bowl.
Romulo Yanes/Condé Nast via Getty Images
Romulo Yanes/Condé Nast via Getty Images

Figs are one of those fruits that you need to ripen before you place in the fridge. If you chill them too early, they may last bland or even rot more quickly. Keep them on the counter until they are ripe enough to cool.

Fresh figs can remain edible for two to three days outside of the fridge. While this may sound like a short while, putting it in the fridge is not much better. They last for up to a week in the fridge.

Chia Seeds Don’t Need Chills

A person scoops up white chia seeds.
Sandy Huffaker/Corbis via Getty Images
Sandy Huffaker/Corbis via Getty Images

Chia seeds already last for a long time outside of the refrigerator. In the pantry, chia seeds will remain edible for at least two years. In the fridge, they survive for up to four years. You would need to buy a lot of seeds to keep them for four years.

Chia seeds do eventually go rancid. As they oxidize, their chemicals break down. You can delay this by sealing the seeds in an airtight container and keeping them away from moisture.

Some Syrups Can Live Outside Of The Fridge

Bottles of maple syrup are on a shelf.
Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Most syrups remain edible in the pantry. If you keep them unopened, they will survive for up to a year. Some have so many preservatives that they last indefinitely. The only difference comes from 100% pure maple syrup.

After opening a container of pure maple syrup, you can place it in the refrigerator to last for up to a year. Other syrups can stay in the pantry for up to 18 months. They can go rancid after a long while.

Even After Opening, Tomato Sauce Doesn’t Need The Fridge

A spoon scoops tomato sauce out of a pot.
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Many people know that you can place a jar of tomato sauce in the pantry. But what do you do with an opened container? Food microbiologist professor Phil Bremer says that refrigerating tomato sauce after opening is not necessary.

According to Bremer, tomato sauce is highly acidic. This acid prevents bacteria from infecting the sauce. That said, storing opened tomato sauce in the fridge may maintain its flavor for a longer time. An unopened jar lasts up to 18 months in the pantry.