With the rising costs of food, more and more people are buying in bulk and stocking up their pantry and fridge. But what items can stay in the pantry and what food items need to be stored in the refrigerator? I have put together a list of items most commonly found in your grocery cart and where they are best stored.
Food Best Stored on Counter / in Pantry:
Tomatoes: Please do not refrigerate your tomatoes as they lose their sweet flavor. Keep them on the counter in a decorative bowl.
Root vegetables: Onions and potatoes will prematurely age each other. Keep both in a dry, dark area, like the pantry, but in separated areas. Also store carrots, parsnips, turnips, garlic and other root vegetables in the pantry. Mushrooms are not a root vegetable but store better in the pantry.
Breads: Most store bought breads contain ingredients that stabilize and preserve it, so it can be stored in the pantry or on the counter. Exception: sprouted breads need to be refrigerated because they release natural oils and go bad quickly.
Coffee: I stored my coffee beans in the freezer for a long time until I found out that you lose flavor from condensation on the beans. Keep coffee in the original packaging at room temperature and use it within two weeks if possible for the freshest coffee. I recommend grinding the beans just before you make coffee for best flavor.
Fruits: Fruits from the tropical climates and Mediterranean do better in the pantry. These would include bananas, melons, avocados, lemons, limes and oranges.
Peanut butter and honey: Store in the pantry in a cool, dark place for best retention of flavors.
Food Best Stored in Refrigerator:
Eggs: Eggs need to be stored in the box they came in and in the darkest, coldest area of your fridge, such as the bottom or the back of the shelf. Do not store in egg holders in door!
Milk: Store in darkest areas of fridge such as the back and bottom shelf.
Meat: Keep meat in the darkest, coldest areas of your fridge, in the back and at the bottom.
Flour, oils, and nuts: To extend their life, keep them in the refrigerator. Oils and nuts can go rancid in the pantry and flour is best stored in the refrigerator to keep bugs out. Store nuts and oils in a glass jar for best flavor retention and so they don’t pick up the plastic taste.
Fruits: Fruits from temperate climates, such as apples and cherries, can easily be stored for a long time in the refrigerator and stay crunchy longer.
Fresh Herbs: Store your fresh herbs in baggies with a paper towel and they will last for up to two weeks.
Cheers and happy cooking!