Refrigerators are necessary to preserve a variety of foods, but there are specific items that should never feel their chill. What are some foods you shouldn’t put in the refrigerator? Stone fruits, like plums and peaches, have a deeper flavor when they’re ripened at room temperature. Learn some common foods that should not be refrigerated so they can be enjoyed to their fullest potential.

When It Isn’t Ok to Be Cool: Foods That Should Not Be Refrigerated

Why are there foods that should not be refrigerated, while others need to be chilled? The flavor and texture of some items are altered by cooler temperatures, while others may soften or break down faster. Use these refrigerator do’s and don’ts to ensure that your foods are always properly preserved.

1. Potatoes

Do you need to refrigerate potatoes? Not if they’re raw. In fact, refrigerating raw potatoes alters their texture by turning their carbohydrates into sugars, leaving them mealy when cooked. To best preserve their flavor and texture, leave potatoes unwashed and stored out of direct sunlight until they’re ready to be cooked. A well-ventilated drawer, cabinet, or even a burlap sack is best.

2. Coffee

Though many believe otherwise, coffee beans and grounds belong in the category of foods that shouldn’t be refrigerated. A refrigerator’s humidity causes moisture to build up on beans or grounds, dampening flavor as well as texture. Coffee grounds can even absorb flavors from other stored items, altering their taste. For the best tasting cup, store grounds or whole bean coffee in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

As for leftover grounds, they’re part of an important list of what shouldn’t go in the garbage disposal. Accumulated grounds can form a thick paste that eventually causes clogs. Dispose of them in the trash, or, even better, scatter them around the base of your plants as a natural fertilizer.

foods you shouldn't put in the refrigerator

3. Bread

Should you put bread in the refrigerator? Not if you’re going to eat it within a few days. Refrigerating fresh bread dries it out, leaving it tough and chewy. Instead, store your bread in a cabinet or bread box to keep it soft and flavorful. If you’re not going to use the whole loaf right away, wrap the remainder in plastic wrap, place it in a plastic bag and freeze it. The toaster will revive frozen slices to near-fresh perfection.

4. Onions

Onions also belong on the list of foods not to refrigerate. Cool temperatures can make them mealy and mushy, even hastening mold development. Store whole, uncut onions at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. A loosely-woven basket in a pantry cabinet offers the ideal environment. Once peeled and cut, raw onions can be placed in a resealable plastic bag in your refrigerator’s produce drawer.

foods not to refrigerate

5. Tomatoes

What produce doesn’t go in the refrigerator? It may come as a surprise, but tomatoes should stay at room temperature. Chilling them halts the ripening process, muting their flavor and leaving them with a mealy texture. Store tomatoes on your counter, out of direct sunlight, to maximize their flavor. If possible, leave them attached to a small amount of vine to keep them fresher and more flavorful.

6. Melons

Like many fruits, honeydew, cantaloupe, and other melons are foods that should not be refrigerated while ripening. In fact, these fruits may actually be more nutritious when stored at room temperature. Research shows their antioxidant levels are improved when they’re not chilled. Leave melons on the counter to ripen and only refrigerate cut leftovers in a sealed container for 3-4 days.

what produce doesn't go in the refrigerator

7. Hot Sauce

Though most refrigerator storage hacks suggest keeping condiments on refrigerator doors, keep the hot sauce at room temp. Since vinegar is an excellent preservative and a primary ingredient in most hot sauces, it isn’t likely to spoil rapidly. And if you truly like it hot, room temperature storage preserves the pepper’s spice while refrigeration can dampen it.

Knowing what foods should not be refrigerated may preserve their flavor but won’t save your refrigerator from malfunctions. When breakdowns occur, rely on the refrigeration service and repair experts at Oak Valley Appliance!