Refrigerators have been making foods last longer since the 1830s. But not everything stays fresh in the fridge. In fact, some foods taste better and last longer when stored at room temperature. Plus, it helps to know that there are many foods that don’t need to be refrigerated to last for a long time in case disaster strikes or SHTF.
Listed below are 23 foods that you don’t have to refrigerate:
- Garlic – Garlic tends to deteriorate more quickly if kept in a cold, moist environment. It’s best to store garlic in a dry area at room temperature. Keep it away from direct sunlight.
- Nuts – Cooler temperatures help nuts maintain their natural oils but can also diminish their flavors. If you regularly eat nuts, place them in an airtight container and put that in your pantry.
- Honey – Honey gets too thick if it’s refrigerated because low temperatures cause it to crystallize faster.
- Butternut squash – Moisture inside the refrigerator can greatly alter the quality of butternut squash. It’s best to keep it whole on the counter at room temperature. Once it’s cut, it can be stored in the refrigerator for three to four days or frozen for a whole year.
- Onion – Refrigerating onions can cause them to spoil quicker. Keep them in a cool, dark and dry place. Once cut, it’s best to keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Pumpkin – Pumpkins need to “cure” in natural sunlight. This will help toughen their skin so that they stay fresh longer. If cured and kept properly, pumpkins can last up to six months.
- Olive oil – Refrigerating olive oil alters its color and consistency. However, it also deteriorates quickly when exposed to heat and sunlight. Keep it in a cool, dark and dry place instead of on the counter.
- Melon – Keep uncut and unripe melons on the counter. This allows them to ripen without altering the flavor. Once cut, keep melons in the refrigerator to maintain freshness.
- Potatoes – Potatoes contain starch, which will turn into sugar in low temperatures. This can diminish their quality and alter their flavor. Instead, keep potatoes in a burlap bag in an area away from direct sunlight. This also applies to sweet potatoes. Don’t wash your spuds if you won’t use them right away. (Related: Craving a sweet potato-based dinner? Try these 5 easy and nutritious recipes.)
- Coffee – Coffee beans or ground coffee will quickly take on the smell of other foods in the refrigerator. The moisture inside the refrigerator will also alter the flavor of coffee.
- Bread – If you’ll be eating a loaf of bread within a few days, don’t refrigerate it as doing so can change the natural state of the bread. You’ll end up with staler bread than if you just left it on the counter.
- Hot sauce – Though it’s not bad to store hot sauce in the refrigerator, there’s no real benefit to it. Instead, keep it in your pantry to free up space for foods that actually need to be refrigerated.
- Avocado – Avocados will achieve peak ripeness quicker when kept at room temperature.
- Peanut butter – Cooler temperatures will cause the oils in peanut butter to separate quickly. Instead, leave your peanut butter in the cupboard, especially if you’ll be eating it over the next nine months.
- Banana – Bananas need warmer temperatures to ripen. It’s better to leave them on the counter.
- Dried spices – The cold, moist environment in the refrigerator will ruin dried spices. It’s best to keep your spices in the cupboard.
- Dried fruits – Drying or dehydrating is done to remove moisture in foods so that bacteria can’t grow, which means you don’t have to worry about dried fruits going bad.
- Ketchup – The acidity in ketchup makes it safe to store at room temperature for about one month. If you’ll take longer than a month to use up a bottle, put it in the refrigerator.
- Pickled vegetables – Pickling is a method of food preservation that uses brine or vinegar. You don’t have to worry about pickled vegetables going bad. They are already preserved.
- Soy sauce – Thanks to fermentation, you can keep soy sauce in your cupboard for up to a year.
- Citrus fruits – Citrus fruits are tastier and juicier when kept on the counter. Just make sure you throw away those with mold since that can quickly spread to other fruits.
- Fresh herbs – Fresh herbs are best kept at room temperature with their stems submerged in water. Refrigerating them can cause them to wilt because of moisture.
- Tomatoes – Cold temperatures can make tomatoes go watery, whereas keeping them at room temperature ensures they maintain optimal flavor and juiciness.
Preparedness.news has more articles with tips on how to store food for when SHTF.