How your fridge could be ruining some of your favourite foods

Some foods should never be stored in the fridge.
Some foods should never be stored in the fridge.
Photo: monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images
  • While the fridge is great for prolonging the lifespan of many foods, there are some things that you should not keep in there.
  • Items like baked goods, potatoes and bananas can spoil when exposed to cold temperatures. 
  • Here are five things that you should not store in your fridge. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve begged the people in my life not to store their baked goods in the fridge. But, as always, my warnings fall on deaf ears, and I’m forced to chew on some stiff, dried-out brownies. 

Yes, the fridge can keep many things fresher for longer. But there are just some items that you should not keep in there. 

Here are five things you should not store in your fridge:

1. Baked goods

I’m going to start off with this one because I’m clearly very passionate about the subject. There’s nothing worse than when a tasty, buttery pastry is ruined by the cold temperature of a fridge. 

According to the Martha Stewart website, the fridge's cold air can adversely affect the taste and texture of baked goods. "Cold air is extremely drying (just think of your skin in winter!), so most baked goods will be better off on the counter for a few days or straight to the freezer for longer," a page on the site reads. 

There are some exceptions, though. Desserts made with raw dairy and eggs, things like tarts and fresh cream cakes can be kept in the fridge for preservation. An easy trick I like to use is this: when purchasing baked goods or any desserts, take note of where they are kept in the store. If the cake you bought was kept in the fridge, store it in the fridge at home. If it was kept on the shelf, it’s probably best to store it in a container on your counter.

READ MORE | Is double dipping unsafe or just bad etiquette? Here's what the research shows

2. Bananas

Bananas are a tropical fruit and do not like the cold. "Never, never, never put bananas in the refrigerator," Postharvest Physiologist, Dr Jeffrey Brecht, warned in a Best Food Facts article. If you have previously stored bananas in the fridge, you may have noticed that the peel starts to turn black.

"The visual symptom of chilling injury is called 'under-peel discolouration' and is due to discolouration of the vascular traces that run through the peel, causing a smoky appearance to develop," Dr Brecht explained.

 "Even slight chilling causes aroma loss, so chilled bananas also don’t taste good. The chilling injury also causes loss of vitamin C in bananas."

3. Onions

Storing your onions in the fridge could cause them to become soft or soggy a lot faster, which really isn't great if you want that crunch from say, a red onion, in a fresh salad. This is because the cold air of the fridge turns the starch in the onion into sugar. 

The only time you should be storing your onions in the fridge is when they have been peeled or chopped. According to Eat This, Not That, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) says that peeled onions have a shelf life of 10-14 days when refrigerated, while chopped onions have a shelf life of 7-10 days refrigerated. It's recommended that cut onions be stored in an air-tight container or bag when refrigerated. 

Whole onions should be kept in a cool, dry, ventilated space. Just make sure you keep them away from the potatoes. 

4. Potatoes

Firstly, let’s address the statement above: though they make a great duo in a roast, stew or curry when it comes to storage, potatoes and onions are not friends. Gases from the onions can speed up the sprouting in potatoes, so it’s best to keep some distance between the two.

Storing potatoes in the fridge is a bad idea as it could lead to an enzyme called invertase which breaks down the sugar sucrose into glucose and fructose, forming acrylamide, a New Scientist article explains. 

Acrylamide made headlines a few years back when the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) launched a warning of the possible cancer risks associated with this chemical. 

"When these are stored in the fridge, the starch in the potato is converted to sugar. When baked or fried, these sugars combine with the amino acid asparagine and produce the chemical acrylamide, which is thought to be harmful," the FSA advised on their website, according to The Mirror.

READ MORE | If you defrost your chicken at room temperature you're doing it wrong. Here are 3 safe techniques

5. Tomatoes

I’ve always been one to store my tomatoes in the fridge, but apparently,  I should not be doing that. Serious Eats writes that the fridge can degrade the texture and flavour of tomatoes. However, they do add that it also depends on the quality of the fruit. Top-quality, season-picked tomatoes tend to do much better in the cold. 

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