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To keep or not to keep in your fridge, not all foods need refrigeration

Food By The Mirror
Photo: Courtesy

What foods you should be keeping in the fridge revealed

It was the opinion that split the nation like Marmite – should ketchup be kept in the fridge or in the cupboard?

An Asda store sparked the heated debate by revealing it had moved the condiment to the fridge.

But the chain is now stocking its own brand on shelves and in fridges at its superstore in Clapham, South London.

Clearing things up, microbiologist Dr Peter Barratt said ketchup is best kept in the fridge as it now has less salt – which acts as a preservative.

But there is still confusion about plenty of other foods , so here’s our “in or out” fridge guide...

Eggs OUT

You shouldn't keep eggs in the fridge

Even though most fridges come with an egg tray, laws in the UK mean all hen eggs must be vaccinated for salmonella, so British eggs don’t need to be kept chilled.

Look for the British Lion mark as it means the eggs have been laid by vaccinated hens.

Bananas OUT

Bananas shouldn't be kept in the fridge

Don't store unripe bananas in the fridge as it disrupts the ripening process – and even if you remove them later, it may not resume.

But keep them away from other fruit as they produce ethylene, causing other fruits to spoil more quickly.

Bread OUT

Bread shouldn't be kept in the fridge

You might think keeping bread in the fridge will make it last longer but it dries it out and will make your loaf go stale faster.

The cold temperature forces starch in it to crystallise quicker than at room temperature. Store bread in a cool, dry place.

Mustard IN

Mustard needs to live in the fridge

There are no ingredients in mustard that spoil but manufacturer French’s says Dijon and horseradish will “lose their flavours if not refrigerated”.

Food safety expert Philippa Hudson, of Bournemouth University agrees, saying: “This is a flavour issue. You want it to taste good.”

Mint sauce IN

With sauces like apple and mint it’s best to keep them chilled.

Philippa says: “You’re likely to use these sauces once a month and you’ll get better value by using the fridge to prolong shelf-life.”

Basil OUT

Basil shouldn't be kept in the fridge

Most fresh herbs should be chilled but basil wilts faster in the cold and will absorb smells around it. Keep it in water.

Syrup OUT

If you’re looking forward to a pancake on Shrove Tuesday, you’ll probably be digging your syrup out from the back of the cupboard – because that’s where Philippa says it should be stored.

She says: “I can’t see why it should be kept in the fridge and the flavour could be diminished if chilled.”

Pickled veg OUT

Philippa says when it comes to pickled items, you should keep them in the cupboard but make sure you don’t contaminate them with a dirty utensil.

She says: “Pickled veggies are acidic and the more acidic something is, the less micro-organisms can tolerate. These are traditional preserving mechanisms.”

Coffee OUT

Don't keep coffee in the fridge

Coffee in a jar might live on your shelf, but what about fresh stuff? Philippa says: “There’s no need to keep ground coffee in the fridge, it’s a dry, powered ingredient.”

And while some packets advise chilling, she adds: “I imagine that’s from a flavour point of view.”

Store it in an airtight container in the cupboard and if you have a lot, use a freezer.

Tomatoes OUT

Tomatoes shouldn't be kept in the fridge

You might be tempted to pop them in the fridge salad drawer but tomatoes lose more of taste the colder they get, which also stops the ripening process.

Cakes OUT

Unless your most recent Bake Off showstopper creation contains real cream or icing that will go bad if not kept cold, you don’t need to keep cakes in the fridge.

The team at Good Housekeeping Institute say it’s fine to store them in an airtight container at room temperature.

Soft fruits IN

Strawberry, Raspberry and Blueberry

If you don’t plan to eat your blueberries, strawberries and raspberries immediately, Philippa says put them in the fridge.

She says: “These fruits are fragile and have a short shelf-life but be sure to take them out an hour before eating for the best taste.”

Red wine IN

If it's open, put it in the fridge

Put unfinished bottles in the fridge instead of on the kitchen counter.

Wine expert and editor of The Oxford Companion to Wine Jancis Robinson says: “Low temperatures slow chemical reactions like oxidation – the enemy of an open bottle.”

Lemons IN

Lemons should be kept in the fruit bowl, according to Philippa.

She says: “They’re a waxy fruit and have a thick skin like oranges, which extends shelf life. Most people have limited fridge space so save it for something that needs to be kept chilled.”

Butter OUT

It's almost impossible to spread butter straight out of the fridge and food safety expert Dr Lisa Ackerley says you can keep smaller quantities in a butter dish at room temperature – but for no longer than a few days as she says “it will go rancid if you keep it for long periods”.

Jam Depends

Depends on how long it's been open for

Jam is naturally acidic thanks to its fruit content, which helps to prevent the growth of bacteria, and if you eat it within three or four months you can keep it in the cupboard as long it doesn’t become contaminated.

Philippa says: “But if you have a lot of jams you’ll keep them for longer, so they will last longer in the fridge. Keep the low sugar varieties in the fridge for a longer shelf life.”

Pickle OUT

Branston recommends keeping pickle chilled but there’s really no need. Philippa says: “Pickles and chutneys are used to preserve ­vegetables.

Branston uses sugar as a preservative and a certain amount of vinegar and the combination stops micro-organisms from growing, causing food to spoil. But it still has a shelf life.”

Salad dressing IN

If you’ve got creamy salad dressings, store them in the fridge.

Philippa says: “The acidity level is not sufficient to control bacteria growth so they need a helping hand – refrigeration.”

But for dressings made of just oil and vinegar, they will be fine at room temperature as long as they aren’t contaminated.

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