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Fridge or Counter, Where Should Fresh Foods Go?

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Jessica
08.25.14

POP QUIZ: SHOULD YOU KEEP AVOCADOS IN THE FRIDGE?

Most of us automatically chill everything from produce to jars of jam, but did you know that some of your favorite foods do better outside of the icebox? Keep your tomatoes ripe, your basil fresh and your avocados soft by storing them on your kitchen counter. Then, try one of these delicious recipes to showcase your perfect produce.

Avocados

An avocado doesn’t ripen until it’s off the tree. So, if an avocado is hard in the grocery store, it will soften up once it’s in your home. Storing the avocado in the refrigerator will only slow the ripening process and delay your delicious guacamole recipe. Try this super easy guacamole recipe.

Onions

Onions need to be kept in a dry environment – a refrigerator is too damp for them to develop a protective layer of papery skin. Also, onions will spoil faster if they are stored without air circulation. So, store them in a dark, dry environment like your pantry. You can simply place them uncovered in a basket or bowl. Then, make this delicious breakfast dish from the Apron Strings blog: onion ring sunny-side up eggs.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes love the heat and hate the cold! Storing a tomato in the fridge will make it mealy and soft. A chilled tomato is fine to cook with but will be disappointing fresh. Instead, let your tomatoes stay room temperature. Then, make this fresh salsa recipe: fresh tomato salsa.

Basil

Nothing screams summer like a cocktail with basil. Spending time in the fridge makes basil wilt prematurely. Instead, store freshly cut basil in a bowl filled with room temperature water out of sunlight. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Then, use your fresh basil to quench your thirst with a strawberry-basil sangria.

Potatoes

Potatoes are tricky, because they like it cool, but the cold temperature of the refrigerator converts their starch to sugar quickly, affecting the flavor and texture. A perfect temperature to store potatoes is 45 degrees F – about ten degrees warmer than the average refrigerator. Don’t have a root cellar? Instead, store your potatoes in a paper bag in a cool, dark spot like your pantry. Then, chow down on these cheesy twice-baked potatoes.

Remember: Bacteria that can make you sick multiplies the longer that food stays uncooked and uneaten. So, never keep produce more than a few days, and regularly wipe down your countertops and clean out your refrigerator to keep your food fresh and your family healthy.

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