Cooler Confusion

Stop storing these 11 things in the fridge!

After a loud crash from the kitchen, I found a friend of mine standing in front of an open fridge, with broken bottles and a burst milk carton scattered about the floor.

“What happened?” I asked. She pointed to the fridge shelf, hanging by a piece of duct tape.

“I just taped it yesterday,” she said, bewildered.

It was a teachable moment. Tape is not a good way to fix anything in the fridge. Tape and adhesives just don’t do well in the cold. It’s the same idea behind getting gum out of clothing by rubbing ice on the area. So as we patched the shelf with a little two part epoxy glue and put things away, I realized how many of us are confused about what to keep, or not keep, in the fridge.

Here’s my top eleven list of items that cause cooler confusion, and the bottom line about what to cool, freeze, and keep at room temp.



Cool fridge air turns the tomatoes texture into a grainy mush and causes them to lose their flavor. Keep them on the counter in room temperature and they’ll ripen to the proper consistency and they’ll taste great!



The fridge actually dries out the fresh herbs so they wither and wilt very quickly inside. Also, basil also absorbs odors and flavors from other foods around it, which kind of defeats the purpose, right? Basil needs open air and a little moisture. Store basil on the counter in a cup of water like a floral arrangement.



Cold turns the starch in potatoes into sugar quickly. The sugar will turn your spuds in to duds. Conclusion: Store them in a dark dry environment like inside your pantry.



You might think onions should be kept in the fridge just like chives and scallions. However, keeping them in the fridge will cause them to get mushy and grow mold. Put onions in the pantry or drawer and away from the potatoes because the gases in them will cause the potatoes to sprout sooner.



Only ripe avocados should go in the fridge. The natural fat in avocados mixed with the cold fridge air will halt the ripening process. To ripen your avocado at the fastest rate leave on your counter at room temperature.



Many folks think fridge storage will help garlic retain its spicy flavor and lengthen shelf life. But the fridge actually causes garlic to sprout, and will turn it into a rubbery consistency. Best to store garlic in a cool but dry location.



Bread will stay moister in the fridge. The fridge actually dries it out and makes it stale. Most bread should be stored on the counter and eaten within four days. For ready-to-eat bread, store at room temp on the counter.

Olive Oil


Storing olive oil in the fridge will harden the fats and turn it into a more solid consistency. Olive oil will remain in its liquid state on the counter at room temperature.



Lots of folks think coffee will keep its flavor longer in the freezer. But actually, coffee can absorb other scents, some of which you may not want wafting with your morning java aroma. Conclusion: Keep coffee in an air-tight canister at room temperature.



This one I fell for the other week. I didn’t want fruit flies in my kitchen so I put new bananas in the fridge. It took about one day for them to turn black! Keep bananas on your counter and find a different method to get rid of fruit flies.



I found a lot of confusion over this one. Battery performance actually decreases faster over time in extreme heat or cold environments. Batteries should be stored in a room temp dry environment.


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