By Alex Mitchell
Only the coolest home chefs know these refrigeration tips.
There’s a bevy of foods that may not seem like they should be kept cold, but experts say that putting them in the fridge is a surefire way to maximize their longevity and even their flavors.
These span from entrees to desserts and even some favorite snacks and condiments — one of which has been ferociously debated online recently.
Don’t be silly, keep these 10 foods chilly.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics strongly urges keeping this rounded grain refrigerated because — as commonly noted in fine print — they can last much longer that way.
“The date on their package is for quality purposes, so when foods [like tortillas] are stored properly they may be consumed beyond their date, if there are no signs of spoilage,” the academy wrote in an article last year.
Here’s a recommendation that’s anything but flaky. Pies, specifically pecan and pumpkin, can become “magnets for bacteria,” according to the academy.
They are only safe to eat at room temperature for about an hour or so out of the oven.
“After that, they should go straight into the fridge and [be] eaten within three to four days or frozen for another time,” the academy notes.
Southern Living also advises that “fruit pies can be stored on the countertop for up to two days, thanks to sugar and acids that ward off bacteria growth.”
Maple syrup is commonly thought of as a gray area when it comes to storage. However, the academy advises that keeping syrup in the fridge will substantially extend its lifespan.
“Stored in the refrigerator, maple syrup usually can stay fresh for up to a year. However, if you notice any mold growth, be sure to toss it immediately,” the agency recommends.
Chocolate syrup can also survive for six months after opening under these conditions as well.
Keep fruits like oranges, limes and lemons especially cold to stretch their use for over a month in some cases.
“If refrigerated between 41 and 42 degrees Fahrenheit, citrus can be stored for three to six weeks,” Christina Ward, senior director at Sunkist Growers, told MarthaStewart.com.
“Grapefruit can be stored in warmer temps, up to 48 degrees,” she added.
Aw shucks! Corn on the cob survives much better when cold since it “begins to lose its sugar content dramatically when left at room temperature,” according to the academy.
“Unless you’re going to cook it right away, keep corn in the fridge — husks and all — for one to two days.”
Refrigerating peanut butter is a smooth move to avoid a sticky situation, University of Arizona professor Margarethe A. Cooper told MarthaStewart.com.
“Because it does not have preservatives or stabilizers, it is best refrigerated to keep it fresh and to prevent the oil from separating out,” she explained. “The separated oil in unrefrigerated natural peanut butter is more likely to become rancid sooner, leading to unpleasant taste and texture.”
While it may be customary for Europeans not to refrigerate eggs, the US Department of Agriculture suggests otherwise for the 50 states.
“Eggs may be refrigerated three to five weeks from the day they are placed in the refrigerator,” the USDA advises. “To keep them safe, take eggs straight home and store them immediately in the refrigerator set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or slightly below. Leave them in their carton and place them in the coldest part of the refrigerator, not in the door.”
American eggs are washed and dried, thereby removing their protective coating known as the cuticle, according to Insider. This process makes US eggs more prone to salmonella-related infections.
Condiment giant Heinz put this long-running debate to bed over the summer. Haven’t heard? Time to ketchup.
“FYI: Ketchup. goes. in. the. fridge!!!” the official Heinz UK X account posted in June.
After the bombshell, a representative from the brand mustard up the courage to share that “this is the best way to maintain the delicious tangy taste of our Heinz Tomato Ketchup that you know and love.”
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics noted that refrigerated ketchup will last up to six months at a time: “While its high acid content will keep most bacteria at bay, cool temperatures help maintain flavor and freshness.”
Whole wheat flour
Whole wheat items, such as flour, can become very finicky to manage, experts say.
“Unfortunately, the elusive flavor of whole grains begins to fade once the grains are milled. And without special care, whole grain flour can begin to taste insipid at best, and bitter as time goes on,” the King Arthur Baking Company states on its website.
“The colder and darker the storage environment, the better whole grain flour will keep. Warmth and light increase the rate of oxidation, so freezer storage is ideal.”
If there isn’t adequate freezer space, the back of the fridge will do.
No ifs, ands or buts about this one. Although the Food and Drug Administration reports that leaving butter and margarine out at room temperature is technically safe, doing so almost guarantees it will turn rancid.
“Margarine, especially soft tub margarines, can separate into oil or water and solids when not kept refrigerated although it will be safe,” according to the FDA.
The Food Network adds that “you’re always safe keeping any butter refrigerated.”