When we talk about the correct storage of food, many of us have developed incorrect deeply rooted beliefs. These convictions need to be addressed head-on with sound science and a bit of common sense. For example, some of us are strongly convinced that storing tomatoes or coffee in the fridge will maintain and even enhance the flavours. However, these food "habits" that we have developed over time are often far from correct.
For instance, despite the fact that many ingredients should be stored in fresh, dry environments, they often should - at all costs - be kept away from the fridge. Garlic, for example, at overly cold temperatures will become soft and dry. Similarly, tomatoes will lose all their flavour if stored in the fridge.
If you would like some helpful tips on food preservation and to boost your general food-related knowledge, read on!
Tomatoes will lose all their flavour in the fridge. The cold air will prematurely end the maturation process; maturation is what gives tomatoes their recognisable flavour. The fridge will also alter the consistency and structural properties of the tomato. The cold will damage the membrane of the fruit, making it become powdery. It is better to store tomatoes in a tupperware in a cupboard or in a basket on the table.
Basil will shrivel up and perish if left in the fridge. Also, it will absorb all the flavours from the surrounding food. It is advisable to keep basil out in the open or in a glass of water (like you would normally take care of cut flowers). If you want to keep basil fresh for a long period of time, freeze it.
Potatoes that are kept at cold temperatures in the fridge will stimulate the chemical reaction that transforms starch into sugar more rapidly. This will also reflect in the flavour of the potato, which will become sweeter. Rather than storing potatoes in the fridge, store them in paper bag in a cool environment. If you don't have a pantry - the best place to store potatoes - keep them in a dark place, such as a cupboard. Paper bags work better than plastic as they allow more air to circulate, avoiding that the potato perishes quicker than at a normal rate.
If you put onions in the fridge, the humidity will cause them to become soft and mouldy. Keep them in a cool, dry location. Top tip: keep onions away from potatoes - if stored together they will deteriorate quicker!
If you want the avocado to ripen, definitely keep them away from the fridge. However, if you have purchased an avocado that is already quite ripe, you can pop it in the fridge if you do not wish to use it immediately.
Garlic will start to sprout buds if left in the fridge; it will also become chewy and eventually go mouldy. Keep garlic somewhere dry and cool.
In the fridge, fresh bread will quickly become dry. Unless you are not storing sliced pieces you wish to consume in a short space of time, it is better to keep the bread on the table or freezer. A trick is to keep bread wrapped up in a plastic bag so that it prevents the circulation of air. This ensures the bread remains fresher for longer. If the bread is stored in the freezer, it is also best to wrap it in a bag that traps the humidity. When it comes to defrosting the bread, it is advisable to completely defrost it slowly prior to eating.
8) Olive Oil
Olive oil should be stored in a dark, fresh place - but not in the fridge.
If you leave coffee in the fridge it will lose its flavour and, on the contrary, will pick up the odours from the food present in the fridge. It is recommended to store coffee in a cool, dark place, where it will maintain its naturally rich flavour and freshness.
There is no need to store honey in the fridge, as it will be delicious if it is simply kept tightly closed. Honey that is stored in the fridge runs the risk of becoming crystallised.
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Sophie Bruno is a Registered Dietitian living and working in Brussels (Belgium). Read Sophie's foodie blog which will enable you to learn, increase your knowledge & cultivate yourself in the field of nutrition & health directly from Brussels