15 Things Never to Put in the Fridge

The refrigerator is one of the greatest inventions of all time. It provides a safe and convenient place to store food, and it puts ice cold beverages at your fingertips. You already know that your fridge is great for preserving leftovers and dairy products, but you might not know that some food items actually go bad when kept at cold temperatures. Keep reading to find out which things you should never put in your fridge.

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  1. Uncut melons

    Do not refrigerate watermelon

    Chilling whole melons—whether watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew—takes up way too much room in the fridge. More importantly, keeping these mega fruits in the icebox halts the ripening process, meaning they won’t be as tasty as if they’d been kept at room temperature. Chilly temps also reduce the healthy antioxidants found in melons. Keep these fruits on the countertop until they're ready to eat. If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.


    Related: 9 Signs You Need to Replace Your Fridge

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  2. Raw Potatoes

    Do not refrigerate raw potato

    Don’t dump that bag of spuds in the crisper drawer! Frigid temperatures alter the starchy complex carbohydrates found in raw potatoes, giving them a sweet taste and a gritty mouthfeel when cooked. For the best flavor and texture, store raw potatoes in a well-ventilated basket or drawer, out of direct sunlight.


    Related: 14 Instant Fixes for a Total Pantry Makeover

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  3. Honey

    Do not refrigerate honey

    Due to its high sugar content, honey, a natural preservative, needs no refrigeration. In fact, popping that honey bear in the fridge virtually guarantees you won’t be able to squeeze out the golden goodness. When refrigerated, honey hardens and crystalizes, so store it on a shelf in your pantry. If you already made the mistake of refrigerating it, don’t toss it out. Place the honey bottle in a pan of hot (not boiling) water until it returns to its liquid state.


    Related: 13 Things Never to Put in the Microwave

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  4. Coffee

    Do not refrigerate coffee grounds

    If you want to savor your cup of aromatic coffee in the morning, don’t store the beans in the fridge. An open package of coffee is subject to condensation in the cold temps of the fridge, which zaps flavor. Additionally, fresh grounds will absorb the odors of other refrigerated foods, making your coffee taste off. For the best tasting cup of Joe, store your coffee in an airtight container at room temperature in a dark place, such as inside a cabinet.


    Related: 10 Things a Coffee Maker Can Do—Besides Brew Coffee

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  5. Tomatoes

    Do not refrigerate tomato

    If you don’t want your fresh tomatoes to taste like cardboard, don’t put them in the fridge. Once harvested, tomatoes continue to ripen and develop flavor, but only when kept at room temperature. A big chill stops the ripening process and dulls the flavor. Store fresh tomatoes on the countertop, out of direct sunlight. If you grow your own tomatoes, snip off a bit of the vine when harvesting. The attached vine helps keep the tomato fresh longer and gives it better flavor.


    Related: 10 Low-Cost Cures for an Overstuffed Fridge

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  6. Onions

    Do not refrigerate onions

    The chilly temps and high humidity of the fridge wreak havoc on onions, breaking down their fibrous structure, and leaving them mushy and prone to mold growth. For the best flavor and texture, store onions in a well-ventilated, dark and cool (not cold) spot. An open-weave basket in the pantry is optimal.


    Related: Quick Tip—Neutralize Paint Fumes with an Onion

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  7. Bread

    Do not refrigerate bread

    Store your bread in a bread box or on a cabinet shelf, but not in the fridge. Refrigerating bread slows mold growth but makes the bread tough, chewy and stale-tasting. If you know you won’t use the whole loaf before it goes bad, wrap the excess in freezer paper and store it in the freezer for up to one month.

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  8. Green Avocados

    Do not refrigerate unripe avocados

    Many avocados available at the grocery are green and hard, and need a couple days to ripen before they're ready to eat. They'll only ripen, though, if you keep them out of the fridge. The only time you should refrigerate an avocado is when it’s completely ripe but you’re not ready to use it. Then, refrigeration will give you an additional day or two before it goes bad.


    Related: 10 Gadgets for Every Lazy Cook's Kitchen

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  9. Strawberries

    Do not refrigerate strawberries

    Refrigerating strawberries reduces their sweet flavor and gives them a mushy texture. For better taste, store fresh strawberries on the countertop, out of direct sunlight, and use them within a day or two of picking or purchasing. And don’t wash them until you’re ready to eat them; strawberries go bad more quickly after they’re washed.

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  10. Fresh Garlic Bulbs

    Garlic cloves

    Nothing adds flavor to Italian dishes quite like fresh garlic, but if you store the bulbs in the fridge, don’t be surprised if they sprout bitter green shoots. Another danger, garlic bulbs are prone to mold growth in the humid conditions of the fridge. For the best taste, store fresh garlic in a dark, well-ventilated spot. You can store leftover minced garlic in the fridge for a day or two, but the flavor can't compare to freshly minced cloves.


    Related: 13 Unusual Ways to Use What's in Your Spice Rack

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  11. Open Food Cans

    Open can of peas

    Once opened, don’t store a partially filled food can in the refrigerator. While the cold temps will keep the product from spoiling for a little while, the food can develop a metallic taste due to metal acids that leach into the food from the can itself. The best way to store unused canned food, is to transfer it to a separate airtight plastic food container and then refrigerate.


    Related: Which Expiration Dates REALLY Matter?

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  12. Unripe Bananas

    Do not refrigerate unripe banana

    Like other fruits on this list, bananas will continue to ripen at room temperature—but when put in the fridge, the ripening process stops. Store unripe bananas on the countertop, out of direct sunlight. You can put a fully ripe banana in the fridge for a couple of days, but don’t be alarmed when it turns black. The blackening occurs due to the banana skin’s ethylene content, which undergoes a chemical change when subjected to cold temperatures.

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  13. Coconut Oil

    Do not refrigerate coconut oil

    Coconut oil is stable at room temperature for up to two years, so there’s no need to store it in the fridge where it becomes hard and virtually impossible to scoop out. Unlike some oils that remain liquid at cool temps, coconut oil contains a high percentage of saturated fats, which causes it to solidify in the refrigerator.


    Related: How To—Clean a Refrigerator

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  14. Winter Squash

    Do not refrigerate winter squash

    Putting butternut squash, acorn squash, pumpkins, or other types of winter squash in the fridge will dull their flavor and give them a mushy texture. You don't need a fridge to keep these vegetables fresh. When stored in a dark, cool (not cold) spot, such as an unheated basement, these autumn favorites will remain viable for two months, or longer. Leftover raw winter squash can be chopped into chunks and frozen for an additional two months.

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  15. Apples

    Do not refrigerate bowl of apples

    Store fresh apples on the countertop for the best flavor. While apples will remain crisp longer in the fridge, the ethylene content in their skins (a ripening agent) can cause other nearby produce to spoil more quickly. If you really want to refrigerate apples, first place them in an airtight container to keep from spoiling the other foods in your fridge.


    Related: 12 Things to Do with Rice—Besides Eat It

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  16. Food Sense

    15 things never to put in the fridge

    Whether you're storing it in the cupboard or inside the fridge, keep your food fresh and eat it before it goes stale. If you fail to do this, you may have to undertake a pantry purge to clear out the kitchen

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