By Mike Timmermann, clarkhoward.com
Studies have shown that Americans waste up to 40% of their food – a staggering amount.
So, even if you’re shopping at Aldi to cut your grocery bill in half, you might still be paying for food that ends up going into the trash can.
Experts: These items should not go in the fridge
Many of us use the fridge to make foods last longer, but not everything belongs inside. The next time you open your refrigerator door, look for these 11 things that experts say should be stored somewhere else.
You need to store your potatoes in a cool, dark and ventilated area – no cooler than 45 degrees.
According to the Idaho Potato Commission, refrigerator temperatures are too low, which converts the potato’s starch into sugar, altering the taste.
The extra sugar can also cause the potatoes to darken prematurely when cooking.
Fully ripe tomatoes will survive refrigeration, according to Food52.com, but a temperature below 55 degrees can lead to flavor loss. And tomatoes that aren’t ripe should definitely stay out of the fridge.
Bananas should be left to ripen at room temperature, according to Chiquita. Placing unripe bananas in the fridge can interrupt the ripening process, and they might not continue ripening when you take them out.
We checked with the makers of Tabasco, and they recommend storing their sauce in a cool place away from direct light – like a cabinet.
Once a bottle is opened, the color might change, but the sauce won’t spoil.
The National Honey Board says refrigeration accelerates the honey’s crystallization, so keep it on your counter or pantry shelf instead.
In order to preserve the best possible flavor, store ground coffee or whole beans on a pantry shelf, according to Real Simple.
The National Coffee Association says a cabinet near your oven is often too warm and beware of storing coffee on a counter that gets sun.
Go for a convenient place that’s dark and cool.
If you’ve ever put your bread in the fridge, you know that it can go stale in a hurry. So, if you can’t finish the bread within a couple of days, try freezing it.
This YouTube video explains how to keep bread fresh:
Regular store-bought peanut butter, like Jif and Skippy, can stay in your pantry. However, check the label if you’re trying a natural or organic type of peanut butter, because many of them require refrigeration.
By the way, Jif says an opened jar of peanut butter is good for about three months in your pantry.
While some people keep spices in the fridge, Spices Etc. says the slightly humid environment of a refrigerator could alter the flavor of your herbs and spices. You can safely store large quantities in your freezer if you want to.
While some mixers might need to be refrigerated after opening, most hard liquors are fine at room temperature — just how they’re kept at bars and restaurants.
This seems to be a matter of preference, because some people like their alcohol chilled.
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