Every week you go through the same routine. You buy groceries, bring them home and store them away in the refrigerator. Well, some of your hard-earned money may be going down the drain due to improper storage. You may be doing a lot of damage to your fruits and vegetables by refrigerating them. But how do you know what to refrigerate and what to keep outside? Here's a guide to help keep your produce fresher longer.
Have you ever tasted a grainy tomato? That's because it was refrigerated. The lower temperatures in refrigerators damage the cell structure and flavor of tomatoes. If you like your tomatoes juicy, store them outside of the fridge and away from the stove, microwave or sunlight.
Refrigerating potatoes causes their starch to convert to sugar, which adversely affects flavor and appearance. The best thing to do is to store the bottoms in a cool dark place, such as a cupboard. They will keep for 1-3 weeks, according to the Idaho Potato company.
There is no bigger sin you can commit with a banana than refrigerating it. Consider what a shock it is for this tropical fruit (a product only of the regions near the Equator) to be refrigerated. Bananas turn brown and flavorless in the fridge. Treat bananas well by storing them at room temperature.
Refrigeration lemons, oranges and other citrus fruits causes chill damage. The structure of the cell walls are damaged and you end up with drier fruit that has less flavor. As the case with tomatoes, to ensure juiciness store them at room temperature.
Hearty herbs like rosemary, thyme and cilantro do well in the fridge. Rosemeary and thyme can be wrapped in a paper towel. Cilantro does best when its roots are submerged in water and the herb is refrigerated. Basil is too delicate to be refridgerated and will quickly darken if faced with cool temperatures. Your best bet is to keep a pot by your windownsill.
Has your lettuce ever gone limp on you? Dip in a bowl of ice water and see how it crisps out in just a matter of minutes. Lettuce loves water. One of the best ways of storing lettuce is to wash it as soon as you get home and store it in layers of paper towels, which will absorb the extra dampness. Personally, I like to wash my lettuce and throw it in my salad spinner. After a few spins, I drain the excess water and store the whole container in the fridge. The lettuce stays fresh for over a week.
Opinion is divided when it comes to the proper way of storing onions. Some experts say to store in a cool dark place outside of the fridge to keep them from getting mushy. But writer for the food science blog Procrastibaking say refrigerated onions will keep you from shedding tears will you cut them.
You should keep in mind onions impart their aroma on surrounding foods, including eggs (whose shells are permeable). If you're planning on baking something sweet like cookies, it's best not too use eggs that have been stored near onions. The call is yours.