Ten Surprising Foods You Should Be Refrigerating

Aug 9, 2023

Storing these ten foods in the refrigerator will help to keep them safe and taste great longer.

1. Tortillas. Some tortillas are prone to molding. That is why the fine print on many tortilla packages recommends refrigerating after opening. Chill tortillas to help them stay fresh. The date on their package is for quality purposes, so when foods are stored properly, they may be consumed beyond their date if there are no signs of spoilage.

2. Salami. Cured meats including salami are less likely to harbor bacteria than cooked meats, but that does not mean they are always 100% safe. Refrigeration can slow potential bacterial growth, but people who are at higher risk of foodborne illness, such as older adults and people with weakened immune systems, should reheat ready-to-eat foods like lunch and deli meats. Store unopened salami in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. After opening, it should be consumed within three to five days.

3. Ripe Bananas. It is fine to ripen bananas on the kitchen counter. Once they are ready to eat, pop them in the refrigerator for up to three days. Their skin may turn brown, but they are still fine to eat.

4. Nuts. Nuts’ fragile unsaturated fats can go rancid quickly and alter the flavor. Keep nuts tasting fresh by stowing them in a sealed plastic or glass container in the refrigerator for four to six months.

5. Maple Syrup. Maple syrup has a surprisingly short shelf life. 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.

6. Dried Fruit. Dried fruit has less moisture than fresh fruit, so it does not spoil as quickly, but refrigeration can help it maintain its freshness longer. Keep it in the main compartment of your refrigerator for up to six months.

7. Ketchup. Restaurants may leave their ketchup on the table, but that does not mean you should. While its high acid content will keep most bacteria at bay, cool temperatures help maintain flavor and freshness. Refrigerate ketchup for up to six months.

8. Corn on the Cob. After picking, corn begins to lose its sugar content dramatically when left at room temperature. Unless you are going to cook it right away, keep corn in the refrigerator — husks and all — for one to two days.

9. Chocolate Syrup. Chocolate syrup is an easy way to make a glass of milk taste even better. But not if it has developed funny flavors. Chill yours after opening and you can enjoy it for six months.

10. Pecan and Pumpkin Pies. Made with eggs, these treats are magnets for bacteria. Fresh from the oven, they are okay to eat at room temperature for up to two hours and only one hour if it is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. After that, they should go straight into the refrigerator and eaten within three to four days or frozen for another time.

Adapted from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Inc.

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