If you are like most people, you probably grew up thinking that all fruits and vegetables should be stored in the Atlas Appliances, like refrigerators, to keep them fresh and prevent spoiling. You may be surprised to learn that some fruits and veggies are better left on the counter and that refrigerating them reduces their flavor. Check this list to find out whether to refrigerate your fresh fruits and veggies or to leave them out on the counter.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes continue to ripen when left at room temperature and develop more intense flavor. Refrigerating them will keep them from going bad, but it will also retard their natural flavors. But, flavor isn't all that is compromised when you put tomatoes in the fridge. The texture changes too, refrigerating makes your tomatoes mealy, says the Food Network. Under-ripe tomatoes can be placed on a sunny windowsill to promote ripening and enhance their flavor, otherwise set them on the counter until it's time to slice and serve them.
Sweet Potatoes: Storing sweet potatoes at room temperature enhances the sugar content of the roots and produces savory, sweet flesh for cooking. For long-term storage, place sweet potatoes in an area with temperatures between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Onions: Onions require cool, dry air to keep them fresh. Storing them in the fridge where the air is moist and stagnant is a sure way to turn onions to mush. Place them in a cool, dry area with plenty of air circulation to keep them dry for the best flavor and texture. But, beware! Don't store your onions next to potatoes as potatoes give off moisture and gases that causes onions to spoil. Store green onions and shallots in the fridge.
Bananas: If you've ever put bananas in the fridge you already know the skin turns a sickly brown and your bananas turn to mush. These tropical fruits cannot tolerate the cool temperatures of the fridge. Buy only enough bananas to eat in a few days and keep them on the counter. If you make a mistake and put bananas in the fridge, don't throw them away. Mash them up for delicious banana bread and muffins and vow to put them on the counter next time.
Watermelons, Honeydew & Cantaloupe: Melons continue to ripen on the counter and develop rich, fruity flavor. Plan to eat melons within a few days of purchase, as they ripen and soften quickly. Store uncut melons on the counter until you are ready to cut and eat them. Store cut melons in plastic wrap or an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Avocadoes: Avocadoes purchased at the grocery store are often hard as they are shipped before they are fully ripe. Place them on the counter to ripen them, but move them to the fridge once they are soft and ripe. Ripe avocados can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days without losing flavor.
Peaches, Plums & Pears: Fruits with stones, like peaches, apricots and plums should be stored on the counter to ripen them, but need to be refrigerated once they are soft. Likewise, pears develop the sweetest flavor and best texture when ripened on the counter. Buy only what you can eat within a few days as these fruits ripen quickly.
Pineapple: Keep fresh pineapples on the counter to preserve their flavor and allow them to ripen. Like bananas, these tropical fruits are sensitive to cold temperature and don't do well in the refrigerator. Although they spoil quickly, 2 to 3 days on the counter improves their flavor. Store cut pineapple in the fridge covered with its own juice to prevent the fruit from discoloring.
Place fruits and veggies in a paper bag or a perforated produce bag when storing them on the counter. This prevents them from drying out while they ripen. Plastic bags pose the risk of holding in too much moisture and hold in the carbon dioxide released during ripening. This causes spoilage. To speed ripening, add one apple per 5 or 6 pieces of fruit or vegetables. Apples release ethylene gas that speeds the ripening process.
Store other fruits and veggies in the fridge in perforated bags to keep them fresh and avoid spoilage. Root crops and cabbages from the garden can be stored in a root cellar, while other veggies are best in the fridge. Get in the habit of storing your fruits and veggies properly and you will be rewarded with improved flavor and texture.