How to keep your fruits and vegetables tasting as they should.
In a perfect world we’d shop daily and prepare what we purchased for that evening’s meal. But, we all know it’s just not that easy to get to the market every day. So, you go to the market and buy everything on your list making sure that you pick the freshest fruits and vegetables possible.
But, then you get home and the indecision sets in. You begin to ask yourself – does this belong in the refrigerator or should it stay on the counter? Will this spoil quicker if I leave it out? Will it taste the same if I refrigerate it as it would if I just left it on the counter?
The answer is: some produce needs to be stored in the refrigerator but some do significantly better if left out on the counter! Here are the 8 fruits and vegetables that you should just leave out.
- Tomatoes – in season or out they will ripen perfectly if left on the counter. When you put them in the refrigerator their texture becomes mealy and really not very appealing. If you’ve waited until tomato season (May through October with some differences depending on where you live) to enjoy their amazing flavor – do NOT refrigerate them!
- Garlic, Onions, and Shallots – these alliums do best in a cool, dry, dark place where they can breathe. Do not leave them in the plastic bag you used to bring them home from the market. The only alliums that actually should be stored in the refrigerator are spring onions and scallions.
- Thick skinned squash – like Acorn, Butternut and Kabocha should stay at room temperature. Thin skinned summer squash like zucchini are the exception and should go into the refrigerator.
- Potatoes – of all types (including sweet potatoes) – like alliums like cool, dark, dry places. Sunlight and moisture facilitate ‘sprouting’ which is something you want to avoid. The sprouts won’t kill you but they taste terrible and will need to be trimmed off before you use the potatoes.
- Fresh Corn – this one is a bit tricky. If you’re going to use the corn within a day or two then leave it on the counter and save some space in the fridge. But, if you need to keep it longer than 2 days then it needs to be in the refrigerator to keep its freshness.
- Stone Fruit – like peaches, plums, cherries, apricots, etc. are in season now. Just like tomatoes their flesh will go mealy if stored in the fridge so keep them on the counter.
- Pineapples – a little secret – once picked they will not continue to ripen so buy one that is ripe and ready to eat the day you’re purchasing it and then just leave it on the counter until you cut it. The refrigerator will have absolutely no effect on its ripeness.
- Melon – this one is strictly a preference. If you keep your uncut melon on the counter at room temperature the flesh remains as soft as possible. When you refrigerate it, the flesh become more firm or crisp, so it really depends on how you like it.
And now you know the ‘rules’ on which fruits and vegetables to refrigerate and which to just leave on the counter!