Ketchup, chocolate and butter. What do they all have in common? As well as being delicious (on their own of course – tomato-flavoured chocolate doesn’t sound like it’ll take off any time soon), they’ve also all been at the heart of a debate that feels like it’s been raging on for years: do they belong in the fridge?
As a whole, it feels like all three essential ingredients have had their apt location sussed out. According to Cadbury, chocolate belongs in a “slightly cool, dark place such as a cupboard or a pantry”, butter – while it might be easier to serve at room temperature – should be kept in the fridge to avoid it going off, and, as (very) passionately tweeted by Heinz, ketchup is supposed to be stored in the fridge.
Despite this confirmation from industry top dogs, the fridge vs. cupboard war feels like it’s never really over.
Of course, it’s common knowledge that perishables like dairy and meat live in the fridge, and if you happen to prefer your chocolate on the more indestructible side, the world isn’t going to end if you pop it in the fridge.
But every day it feels like we’re finding more and more food items that we’ve been storing wrong this entire. Here’s a roundup of five that you shouldn’t be putting in the fridge, but probably are.
According to NYC-based organisation expert and content creator Neat Caroline, storing tomatoes in the fridge – where many of us assume they belong – actually alters their flavour and texture for the worse, making them “dull and mealy”.
But why? It’s all down to an enzyme in the fruit (or depending on how you see it, vegetable – that’s a debate for another day) that reacts poorly to cooler temperatures, causing cell membranes to break down which eventually leaves you with a pile of red mush.
Gross. Instead, Caroline recommends storing them on a countertop or a windowsill.
Opposing views whirl around on where berries should live. Yes, they’re perishable, and are more often than not home to mould spores which can speed up the spoiling process when they’re stored at room temperature.
Plus, you’ve probably seen the viral TikTok hack to preserve them for longer, which includes washing them and placing them in an air-tight container with kitchen roll in the fridge. But as Miele (maybe controversially) points out, refrigeration “is not always their best friend” – and can actually lead them to lose their sweet taste and juicy texture in the long run.
So what on earth are we supposed to do? Well, in an ideal world, for optimum flavour you should leave them at room temperature and consume them within 3-4 days. If you want to dig your heels in and refrigerate them anyway, Better Homes and Gardens recommends taking them out of the fridge a few hours before eating them for a flavour boost.
It’s been drilled into us that once something has been opened – especially a sauce – it should live in the fridge, forever and always. But there’s an exception: hot sauce.
As healthwithcory on TikTok points out, everyone’s favourite spicy accompaniment contains enough vinegar to ensure that bacteria doesn’t grow in the bottle, meaning it can live in a cabinet or pantry – unless you like your hot sauce… cold? However, storing it at room temperature will also make the chilli flavour more potent, so store it depending on your taste.
Undeniably one of the trickiest kitchen staples to store, you should only store avocados in the fridge once they’re ripe, just before you intend on eating them. If you’re after the golden ticket (aka evenly creamy green goodness and not icky brown sludge), leave them somewhere at room temperature – preferably out of direct sunlight – for a few days. Thank us later.
I know what you’re thinking – warm champagne?! Well, not exactly. Of course, champagne should be served cold, but storage can vary on when you’re planning to drink it.
According to The Champagne Company, if you’re popping a bottle open within 3-4 days, it’s fine to store a bottle in the fridge. If it’s refrigerated for any longer, though, the cork could very possibly dry out and spoil the sought-after bubbles.
Instead, keep it traditional and leave it in a “cool, dark, humid environment – conditions that you would typically find in the cellars of Champagne houses.”
Positioning is important, too – for short-term storage stand a bottle upright (the pressure is enough to keep the cork moist), and for long-term lay it sideways.