Now that you’ve bought and installed your new refrigerator, it’s an idea to rethink a number of old ideas about exactly you should keep in it. Obviously, this serves as a space saver for your appliance. Answers to the question: “what foods should you store in the refrigerator” allows you to get the best out of groceries and foodstuffs by keeping them in as ideal a state as possible.
There is the tendency to think that -as a rule- most items are better preserved in the cold of the fridge, but that is not necessarily so. In this article we look specifically at fruits and why many are best kept in other areas of your kitchen or pantry. In subsequent articles, we shall look at other items including vegetables, spices and more.
Refrigeration slows down the process of ripening significantly. It is best to put your peaches in a bowl at room temperature until they ripen properly. As an additional note, you can hasten the ripening period of peaches by putting them into a brown paper bag. Once your perfect peach is properly ripened, you can then keep them in the refrigerator to have them last longer. Remember to allow your peaches to warm back up to room temperature before eating, in order to get the best flavor out of them.
Bananas are rather delicate fruit. You have to be careful how you allow them to ripen and also how to keep them fresh once they do ripen. Refrigerating your unripe bananas will halt proper ripening and destroy the consistency of the flesh of the fruit. Leave them out to ripen naturally. When this happens, there is then usually a quick turnaround until they darken and begin to spoil. So it is perfectly fine to refrigerate bananas once they ripen (to keep them in this state longer), but not before.
Oranges and Other Citrus
As is the general case for all citrus fruits, oranges also stop ripening once refrigerated. Similar to the case -mentioned above- with bananas, you want to keep your oranges and citrus at room temperature to ripen normally. At this stage, oranges will last another week or so before spoilage. You can refrigerate them -once ripened- to preserve them for up to about a month.
Apples & Pears
These are two fruits you can keep in the fridge right from the supermarket. Now this is not necessary and the cold does compromise the crispness of the flesh of the fruit. So use your crisper drawer to preserve these as this compartment of the fridge will regulate humidity to preserve these fruits longer. When the question is asked: “What foods should you store in the refrigerator?”, apples and pears provide two of the simplest answers.
Berries; Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, etc.
A particular characteristic of these fruits is that once picked from the plant, they will no more ripen. As such, there is no advantage to keeping berries on your counter top to ripen. They will stay as they are. They will also tend to deteriorate rapidly, in just a couple of days. For this reason, it is fine to refrigerate your berries to preserve them that much longer. However, strawberries, in particular, will dry out in the fridge, so the time kept refrigerated should be as short as possible. The best option is to buy your berries as close as possible to the time you intend to eat them.
These can be tricky to properly keep in their ideal state. To begin with, it’s tricky to tell -by sight- if an avocado is ripe. If it looks brown enough to be in the ripened stage, pick it up and give it a gentle squeeze. It should be firm but still with a softness and submits to your squeeze. Once ripeness is determined, the next task is to preserve the fruit in this state for as long as possible. Avocados quickly deteriorate after ripening and moreover, will turn brown once cut or when the flesh is exposed. This is because the flesh oxidizes rapidly. To preserve them, touch them up with a little lemon or lime juice (to stop the oxidation), then put them in a plastic bag or in a covered bowl and keep them in the fridge to preserve freshness. Try to have as little air as possible in whatever container you use as this will also limit the amount oxidation that follows.