Forget What They Taught You: Don’t Refrigerate These Foods!

There’s no class in elementary or high school that teaches us how to care for and eat food properly. We just grow up doing what we saw our parents do. And for the most part, these kitchen and food practices were never questioned. The cereal goes on top of the fridge, the honey in the cupboard and the tomatoes in the fridge, right? Well, the cereal and the honey, yes.

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But the tomatoes, no. Do you refrigerate your tomatoes? Well, you shouldn’t. In light of newfound food knowledge, this is a list of foods that should not be refrigerated and the reasons for it. I repeat, don’t refrigerate these foods!

Potatoes

Cold climates transform starch into sugar a lot sooner than warm ones do. Potato lovers, be mindful to store your potatoes in the pantry or on a shelf – anywhere that’s cool and dry but not cold.

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You can still enjoy them boiled, mashed, or roasted, or any way you want. If you keep them in a cool and dry place, they’ll last longer and won’t turn too hard before cooking.

Bananas

Bananas also don’t benefit from the cold climate of a fridge. The cold temperature can actually have a reverse effect by speeding up the rotting process.

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When you buy bananas, try to catch them before they’re ripe (a little bit green) so they can mature in the room temperature of your kitchen. Fun fact about bananas: they’re great for your blood pressure. So add them to your next shopping list.

Whole Melons

Like bananas, cold temperature can also speed up the rotting process for melons. After you buy a melon, try to keep them in a cool and dry place.

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Chances are you’re buying melons in the summertime, so it makes sense that you would want to keep them cold. But that’s just not the case. Anyways, just cut up that melon and enjoy its deliciousness!

Basil

Basil is a great herb to have in the kitchen and not just for its amazing smell. And while it’s understandable to want to keep it in the fridge as you do with other herbs, basil is best left out.

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Just be aware that it should be kept at a temperature of at least 40 degrees F. Anything less than that can cause black marks to appear on the leaves, and it’ll ruin the taste. The best is to keep it in a little bit of water in the shade. That way, the herb will last a lot longer.

Onions

Onions don’t just rely on warmer temperatures; they actually depend on bright and open-air circulation to stay fresh. Regardless of how you will choose to cook them, you need to look after them with care.

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And strangely, they’re meant to be far from your potatoes since they can speed up the onions’ aging processes. So not only are they supposed to be out of the fridge, but they’re also shouldn’t be next to each other.

Coffee

There are people that keep coffee in the fridge, and then there are ordinary people. Coffee needs air circulation and dry air to breathe and stay fresh.

 

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A fridge will only keep it moist, cold, and air-trapped alongside all your other foods. It’s best to be kept airtight and away from sunlight in order for the taste and brewing process to be as fresh and tasty as possible. Not go grab a cup ‘a Joe and relax will you?

Garlic

If you don’t want your garlic to sprout early, then keep it out of the fridge. Keeping it in the refrigerator will also attract mold on the skin and within the inner layers of the bulbs.

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You’re better off keeping garlic somewhere dry and warm. And if you were to put your garlic in the fridge accidentally, the rotting occurs from inside the cloves, so you won’t be able to see or smell it as you would that old cucumber that has been in there far too long.

Hot Sauces

Have you noticed that when you go out to eat, the hot sauce is always out on the tables? That’s because most hot sauces contain vinegar and other preservatives that slow down the process of molding and bacteria from growing.

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Although keeping hot sauce cold won’t speed up the molding process, it might reduce their strength. You might have considered yourself a hot sauce powerhouse lately, but it’s actually your fridge that’s helping you. So keep Tabasco on the kitchen counter.

Bread

Bread is another food that some people tend to instinctively put in the fridge, thinking it will keep it fresh longer. But you should never keep the dough in the refrigerator, as it makes it look and feel older than it really is.

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Cold air makes the bread go stale faster, making it last a lot shorter than it should. So if you put bread in the fridge, it should be in the form of a sandwich, cut and joined with all your sandwich fillings. Anyone else getting hungry?

Oils

I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone refrigerate oil, and if you do, you’re sadly mistaken. Fats solidify when kept in cold temperatures, which is not the best way to store olive oil.

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If you’ve made the mistake of putting a new bottle of oil fridge, you can always zap it in the microwave for a couple of seconds. A little bit of warmth will bring it back to its original potency.

Honey

Did you know that honey has no expiry date? If kept in an airtight jar, it can last for hundreds of years. You might even find an old bottle from the 90s in the back of your cupboard.

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But if it’s kept in the fridge, you might see it crystalize, and it will gain a tough texture. It’s only going to make scooping it out a chore and spreading it on your peanut butter sandwich a lot less satisfying.

Pumpkin

Sure, buying and storing pumpkins in the month of October is the way it goes usually. Who can resist a pumpkin for Halloween or the Starbucks Pumpkin Spiced Latte?

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But you can potentially buy pumpkins all year round, and if you do, remember that pumpkins will go bad after a couple of days if left in the fridge. Next time, keep them in the kitchen and let them ripen at a reasonable pace.

Apricots, Kiwi, Peaches, and Mangoes

These are the fruits resemble melons and tomatoes in that they develop crystals and can turn rotten quicker when refrigerated.

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You’re better off leaving all these yummy fruits in your pretty new fruit bowl that you bought at Target.

Peanut Butter

I never understood why some people keep their peanut butter in the fridge. It must be another one of those blindly followed habits they must have seen others do.

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But can we all agree that peanut butter is best enjoyed when you can actually spread the darn thing? There’s nothing worse than taking freshly toasted bread and trying to spread hard peanut butter on it. Peanut butter is meant to be spreadable, folks.

Flour

This suggestion is more a matter of convenience than necessity. Nothing terrible will technically happen to flour if kept in the fridge, but there aren’t any benefits either.

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You might as well save some valuable fridge space by keeping flour in the pantry. Flour should be kept in a cool, dry, and non-sunny place.

Pickles

This is another food that many people actually put in the fridge, and it’s understandable. But a jar of pickles contains the same vinegar that hot sauces do, so refrigerators will have the same effect on your favorite pickles if you store them at the cold temperature in a fridge. While it’s tempting to keep pickles ‘fresh’ in the fridge, you’re actually doing the opposite.

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Hot-packed pickles should be stored in a cupboard, but you can place them in the fridge for a short while before you plan on cutting them up for a sandwich or a salad. As for cold-packed pickles that you buy in the refrigerated section in the store, those should stay cold.

Soy Sauce

I’m guilty of this one. My soy sauce has always been in the fridge! But the truth is that your bottle of soy sauce belongs in a cupboard. The sauce has its own natural antibacterial ingredients which extend when kept at room temperature.

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Keeping it cold only reduces the effectiveness of those ingredients, not to mention it affects the taste. Next time, keep the bottle out and see how your sushi and stir-fry will taste that much better.

Eggs

This is a real debate, actually. Both sides of the discussion will argue that eggs should definitely be kept in/out of the fridge. At the end of the day, the choice is up to you.

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Room temperature will help prolong the taste and texture of the eggs, but storing them in the fridge will give them a longer overall lifeline. So you need to decide what’s more important! Where do you store your eggs? I personally keep them in the fridge.

Avocados

The best time to purchase your avocados is just before they turn entirely ripe. You really shouldn’t keep an avocado in the fridge until the riping process is complete.

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Until then, keep them on your kitchen counter. And once you cut them open, be prepared to see an incredibly short shelf life. You’ll have to devour it.

Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is nothing more than dried meat, so why keep it in a moist place? And the best jerky is the kind that stays dry for a long time. Your kitchen cupboard or pantry is the perfect place to store it.

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Room temperature is perfect and preferably in a dry or airtight container. That way, you don’t have to worry about its lifeline.

Tomatoes

It seems as though most people keep tomatoes in the fridge. The urge to have a nice, cold tomato is understandable, but this can cause it to gain a grainy texture.

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The truth is that tomatoes should be kept at room temperature, warm and dry, and not in the fridge. It will avoid the growth of crystals and accelerated rotting. If you want them chilled in a salad, try putting them in the fridge for a few minutes before cutting them.

Salad

You made a salad that ended up being a lot bigger than you intended. Your instinct is to put it in the fridge, right? Not so much. Your salad will survive at room temperature for a couple of hours, so you don’t need to cool it in your fridge to prevent wilting.

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But if you’ve already dressed the salad, there’s no chance in prolonging its life. Dressing speeds up the moisture of the veggies, so you might as well just finish it or offer it to someone next to you (if you know them of, course).

Peppers

Forget what they told you – fridges don’t add any crispiness or increase the spiciness of peppers. In fact, the cold temperature will only decrease the spiciness of your favorite bell peppers.

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Bell peppers should be kept in a bag in a dry place to keep their taste. This applies to all colors of bell peppers: red, green, orange, or yellow.

Ketchup

Like hot sauce, ketchup is also always found lying out in restaurants. It’s not because they’re lazy or irresponsible. It’s because of the vinegar in the sauce. Most of us keep our ketchup in the fridge for some reason, but the vinegar will react badly to cold air over time.

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Keep it in the cupboard where it belongs, and it will taste better longer. This will also prevent the runny residue we all try to avoid.

Pears

If you want your fruit nicely chilled for that hot summer day, refrigerating your fruit is best reserved for a few kinds, but not pears. Pears won’t benefit from the cool temperature.

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The skin of pears is delicate, and cold air ruins their juiciness and crispiness. Keep them in your fruit bowl and enjoy the tastes for days after buying them. Their shelf life is quite long if you buy them pre-ripe!

Canned Tuna

Here’s another mind-boggler. Apparently, some people keep canned tuna in the fridge. Why? Beats me. An unopened tin can last a long time – weeks, months, or even years.

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Who doesn’t have a can or two in their cupboard somewhere? The juices that coat and saturate the fish are preserved in those airtight tins for years. But once it’s opened, it’s another story. The coldness of a fridge can ruin it. Make sure to keep tuna in a dry place.

Spices

I would have thought this was a given, but people happen to refrigerate their spices. Most people keep spices neatly places on spice racks. But even if you don’t keep them nicely arranged, just don’t keep them in the fridge.

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If kept at room temperature, most ground spices can last for years. But when they are stored in cold and damp places, the flavor actually decreases. After a few days, their aromatic smells will disappear, too.

Cucumbers

Guilty again! I don’t even know why I refrigerate them considering they’re not kept cold in the supermarkets! Cool air speeds up the decaying process, and we all know how gross a moldy cucumber is.

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The skin is the first to go in the cold air, which shortens their life from weeks to days. Kep them at room temperature and see how long they last.

Apples

Similar to pears, apples benefit when they are stored in a fruit bowl rather than in the fridge drawer. The fridge can speed up the decaying process, ruining the texture, smell, and flavor of your favorite Macintosh apple.

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Like many of the items on this list, the way they’re stored at the supermarket is an indicator of how to store them at home.

Carrots

Carrots, like cucumbers, react negatively to the chilling process. The cold air will speed up the rotting, due to the amount of water naturally found in these vegetables.

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If you keep your carrots at room temperature, you’ll see them last longer as their water is being stored more comfortably. But if you want to eat your carrots chilled, just cool them in the fridge for a few hours first.

Cereal

Once a cereal box is opened, you don’t need to refrigerate the remainder. You can roll the plastic bag and tie it shut to keep the air out.

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If in the fridge, cereals will not only absorb the moisture, but they will subsequently absorb the smells in it, too. Yuck. So if you want your cereal chilled, simply rely on the milk to do the job!

Butternut Squash

The humidity in your fridge is going to speed up the spoiling process of butternut squash, even if it’s the whole vegetable and hasn’t been cut yet.

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Generally, you’re going to want to keep it outside of the fridge and in a dry place. But be mindful of where you put it, as direct sunlight can ruin it, too. So don’t place it next to the window.

Tropical Fruit

What’s one thing tropical fruits have in common? They were all grown in hot climates. Pineapple, mango, and starfruit, to name a few, were designed to retain their texture and moisture in warm temperatures.

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That’s why they’re not to be kept in the fridge. Be sure to wrap them in protective materials, too, to keep the flies away.

Butter

Similar to peanut butter, butter is undesirable when stored in a cool place. The cold temperature can make it hard or give it a wax-like texture. It will also affect the flavor and odor of other foods in the fridge!

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Next time, place your newly bought butter at room temperature and only cool it if a specific recipe calls for it. This way, you won’t need to stab at it with a knife to get a slab of it.

Greek Yogurt

This may seem beyond strange, but yogurt doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge. The cold climate does nothing for its shelf life – it’s purely done for taste. Of course, yogurt tastes much better when it’s chilled.

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But keep in mind that this is only referring to healthy, low-fat Greek yogurt because it comes with good bacteria that prevent it from spoiling. Fun fact: it’s also great for your blood pressure and digestion.

Cheese

Yet another strange but actual fact: cheese is best kept at room temperature rather than in the fridge. And this is regarding actual good quality cheese – not the rubbery kind that kids like to eat.

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Cheese actually needs to be kept as dry as possible, not in any place that produces a lot of moisture. The cold and humid fridge will do everything it can to speed up the rotting process. And no one wants rotten cheese.

Citrus

Sure, orange juice tastes amazing ice cold and straight from the fridge. But oranges and other citrus fruits shouldn’t be kept in the refrigerator. It’s similar to the reasoning behind the tropical fruits.

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They were grown in hot climates, so the warmth of your kitchen actively helps the ripening process. Storing them in a fridge will prevent this natural process and make them harder and bitterer.

Chocolate

Have you ever wondered that chocolate is never stored in the fridge at the supermarket? Chocolate should definitely be kept in the cupboard.

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The process of making chocolate involves heating and cooling cocoa beans with powder and milk, and any additional cooling can ruin the crystals.

Jam/Jelly

Jam and jelly, whether we like it or not, are usually packed with preservatives. And that means it has a long shelf life outside of the fridge, even after opening.

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If kept cold, the moisture from the fridge will seep into your toast and dampen it. Spread the jam or jelly warm, and your toast will be that much tastier.

Salad Dressing

Salads should generally not be kept in the fridge, and this is particularly true if you have already dressed in salad dressing and vinaigrette. The most significant part of their ingredients is oil and vinegar, which are perfectly capable of living outside a fridge.

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What’s more, the cooling air can actually cause the oil to solidify, creating chunks of fat in and around the salad. That’s basically the opposite effect you want when eating a salad!

Eggplant

Eggplants are incredibly sensitive to the temperatures around them. Minor changes can alter Their texture and flavor, and so it’s essential to store them in consistent places. You might think that place is a fridge, but you’d be woefully mistaken.

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Eggplants need room temperature to best get a hold of that famous crunchy texture they’re known for. Keep them in a bowl in the kitchen out of direct sunlight and see how their shelf life will improve.

Pineapple

Pineapple is one of the rare foods that will not continue its ripening process once it’s picked. Since you don’t need to help accelerate (or slow down!) the ripening speed, keeping them in the fridge is simply a waste of space. For the first few days, there’s no need to keep it in the fridge, and you can make room for other items.

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After around three days, you’ll want to put it in the fridge. Also, consider keeping it in the refrigerator once it’s been cut up and is in a salad or Tupperware box. The oxygen will speed up the ripening process.

Papaya

Papaya is like most of the other fruits that are grown in the Southern Hemisphere. This means that the cold temperatures of a fridge actually do little to help the ripening process. Papaya’s age best when they’re stored in a warm and dry place.

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Next time you buy your delicious papaya, consider keeping it in a fruit bowl and not in a cold refrigerator. That way, it will age the way it was intended – in warm and comfortable climates.

Sweet Potato

Much like its cousin, the potato, sweet potatoes can have their cellular structure affected by cold climates. This will eventually ruin the mashing or frying process when you decide to cook them. If you have already put them in the fridge, not all is lost!

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You can simply remove them from the fridge but make sure they are thoroughly warmed up before you use them. This is because cold temperatures can negatively impact the cooking process. Make sure the potatoes are completely thawed.

Nuts

The best thing about nuts is their nuttiness. Well, what if we told you that storing nuts in a cold climate removes all semblance of that great taste? In fact, both extremes – hot and cold – can affect the taste and texture of your favorite nut.

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When you stack up on nuts, keep them in a pantry or cupboard to make sure they last as long as possible. You don’t want to bust your nut too early, so keep them in air-proof bags.

Chocolate Spread

Chocolate spreads, like Nutella, have the same chemical compounds as peanut butter. As previously mentioned, these types of spreads can harden in the fridge and ruin your piece of bread with one swift swipe of a knife.

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Keep your chocolate spread neatly next to your peanut butter in the cupboard to make sure it stays the right texture. In fact, soft Nutella is much better than a hard alternative. You can thank us later! Maybe try these two together? Taste overload.

Cake

In the rare occasions that you have cake actually leftover, you won’t want to put it in the fridge. Cake must be kept in an airtight container at room temperature to make sure it doesn’t go stale or hard over time.

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However, every rule has an exception: frosted cake. If you have a beautiful coat of frosting on your cake, then you will need to store it at a cold climate to make sure the frost doesn’t go sour. Piece of cake!

Berries

Like many fruits, their countdown clock starts ticking as soon as they’re picked. This means that it’s a rush to keep them cold from basically the moment they are taken off the trees. You’ll notice that the berries you buy aren’t kept cold in the supermarket. Well, this is why.

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Putting them in the fridge will do nothing to prevent spoilage and can actually speed up the molding process. This is because fruit does badly in humidity – so watch out. You can keep your berries in a bowl in a warm and dry place.

Dried Fruit

These fruits have the same properties as dried meat already mentioned above. They will need to avoid all humid climates to help keep them dry for longer. A fridge will actually do the opposite of that and add unwanted moisture to your new dried banana or apricot.

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You will want to keep portions of dried fruit in airtight bags at room temperature. Anything less than that will speed up the rotting process and ruin the taste and texture. What’s more, cold temperatures can harden the fruit, making it even worse.

Mint

Similar to basil, mint doesn’t have an excellent relationship with cold temperatures. If mint is placed in a cold and wet environment, then it is easier for it to become a victim of mold. Like basil, keep it in airtight jars or boxes and preferably from direct sunlight.

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Mint is best kept in a cupboard and tight box which can help it last longer over time. Then, when you’re ready, you’ll be able to enjoy your mint tea without disruption.

Mustard

Mustard, like ketchup, is generally kept in the fridge. And if you recall, restaurants and supermarkets don’t keep them cold. So why should you?

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Mustard has high levels of acidity, making it better kept out and dry. No more watery residue!

Kiwi

Many fruits shouldn’t be kept in the fridge, and Kiwis are certainly one of them. They have the same chemical compound as apricots, which means the cold temperatures can speed up the rotting process.

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When you buy your kiwis, keep them in a fruit bowl until you cut them open. That way, they will ripen slower and last for longer in your home. Aside from the practical advantage of a fruit bowl, it also helps you decorate your home.

Peaches

We know that a chilled peach is one of the most helpful things to eat on a summer day. However, if you keep this item in a fridge, then it may not last the day! Cold temperatures affect peaches in such a way that would cause them to rot quicker.

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Don’t keep your peaches in a compartment in your fridge – they’re much better suited for a warmth similar to their tropical hometown. This is one of the many seasonal foods that don’t benefit from cold chills.

Mangoes

No one likes the idea of a warm and soggy mango, but the alternative is merely rotten! Mangoes need warm climates to reduce the ripening process. If they are kept in cold fridges, then they will turn black much quicker than usual.

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If you still want your cold mango, you can keep it in the fridge for a few hours before you eat it. Just be mindful about how it can affect this delicious tropical fruit – you have been warned!

Canned Coconut Milk

There seems to be a wild craze at the moment about coconut milk and its myriad of benefits. Just one can of coconut milk contains useful fats for people who are exercising and building muscle. It is also low in carbs and sugar.

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The benefit of coconut milk is its ability to last outside of the fridge. Now, you can reserve the space for items that actually need space – like real milk. Your canned coconut milk will be just fine in a cupboard.

Protein Powers

Here’s another piece of advice for all the exercise junkies out there. Your protein powder can last for weeks on your kitchen counter without needing a fridge. When you buy a tub of the magic powder, you can simply store it in the cupboard.

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Of course, this changes once you transform your protein powder into a shake or cocktail. Once you mix it with milk or ice cream, then you can store it in the fridge for later!

Red Wine

Wine lovers, rejoice! As you probably know, red wine can sit on the shelves for years and is still good to drink decades after it’s been bottled. Does this change once it’s been open? For red wine, the answer is no.

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White wine may benefit from being chilled in the fridge, but red wine lovers can relax knowing they can simply put it back in the cupboard. That is, if the bottle isn’t finished upon the initial opening!

Grapes

Have you noticed how grapes are never kept in the fridge in supermarkets? The reason for this is apparent: they benefit most from warm climates. Once you take them home, feel free to leave them in your fruit bowl – room temperature keeps them alive for longer.

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If you want a cold grape, you can chill them for a few hours before you eat them – but that’s it. Better yet, store a bunch in the freezer and eat them on a hot summer’s day! It’s the best snack you never knew about.

 

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