When it comes to fresh food, our first instinct is usually to refrigerate it so it stays fresh longer, but that isn't always the case. Cold storage is a necessity for some foods, such as ground beef and butter, but the chilly air of the fridge can seriously mess up other produce. Certain foods can lose their flavors, colors, or textures due to the cold temperature and are best stored outside of the fridge. Below is a list of 20 foods you should not refrigerate when you bring them home from the grocery store.


watermelon, melon, sweet, juice
Jocelyn Hsu

Keep whole melons like watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew on the counter to maintain the best flavor. Research suggests that storage at room temperature may also help keep the antioxidants in melons more intact. Once you've cut a melon, store it in the refrigerator for three to four days.


cherry tomato, tomato, pasture, cherry, vegetable
Caroline Ingalls

The texture of tomatoes can be hit or miss depending on how one stores them. If you put tomatoes in the fridge, they can become mealy and lose their flavor. Instead, store them on the counter at room temperature for 1-2 days, but keep them out any longer than that and they might go bad.


apple, candy, sweet
Kristine Mahan

Refrigerating apples can cause them to lose their flavor and texture. Keep them on the counter for a week or so, and if you haven't eaten them all by then you can extend the life of the fruit by placing them in the fridge. 


avocado halves, avocado pit, avocado
Jocelyn Hsu

For the best creamy texture and flavor, avocados should be stored and eaten at room temp. But if you cut one open and only use one half, keep the other unused half in the fridge for optimal freshness. 

#SpoonTip: Check out these four ways to store avocados in the fridge to prevent them from turning brown. 


Jocelyn Hsu

Bananas are grown in the tropics, so it wouldn't make sense to put a tropical fruit in a cold environment. Keep bananas on the counter for optimal consumption, or freeze to add to a smoothie later on. 

#SpoonTip: Peel the banana before freezing it to make your smoothie prep easier.

Citrus fruits

juice, citrus, tangerine, grapefruit, lemon
Amelia Hitchens

For that tangy flavor, store oranges, lemons, and limes at room temperature on your kitchen counter. Just be careful not to bunch them all up too closely, or they'll mold. Refrigerating citrus will dry out the fruits, diminishing their juiciness.


berry, raspberry, sweet, blackberry, blueberry, strawberry
Ryan Terhune

Fresh berries taste better at room temperature. The cold temperatures take away from the sweet natural flavors of the berries that we know and love. However, for long-term storage, keep them in the fridge or freezer. 

Peaches and Apricots

peach, pasture, nectarine, apple, sweet
Sarah Strohl

Stone fruits should be left out to ripen at room temperature. Not only does this enhance the flavor of the fruit, but it also allows the fruit to ripen in a natural way. After they're done ripening, however, stone fruits can be placed in the fridge for up to five more days. 


onion, garlic, vegetable, shallot, condiment
Jocelyn Hsu

Keep your onions out of the fridge unless they're cut. If they're still whole, it's better for the onion to stay at room temperature to avoid mold and a mushy texture. Once cut, they can be stored in the fridge for 7-10 days. 


garlic, vegetable, condiment, elephant garlic, relish, pasture
Kristine Mahan

Garlic should never be put in the fridge, not even after the head has been open. The cloves can stay fresh for up to 10 days with their skins intact, but putting them in the fridge will cause them to lose their potent flavor.


pasture, vegetable, squash, pumpkin, gourd
Becky Hughes

Butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, and pumpkins are just some of the many varieties of squash that should be kept at room temperature. These veggies can last for about a month or longer out of the fridge.


potato, vegetable, pasture, tuber, carbohydrate
Caroline Ingalls

Potatoes are a fan favorite because of their versatility, but they should never be placed in the fridge. Cold temperatures can break down the starches in the potato, changing the taste and texture. For optimal storage, place in a cool, dry space to keep potatoes fresh.


toast, bread, wheat, cereal, rye, wheat bread
Jocelyn Hsu

Some people think that putting bread in the fridge helps to stop molding, but it actually dries out the bread a lot faster. Optimal storage is on the counter. But if you have extra loaves, store in the freezer and defrost as needed. 

Hot Sauce

beer, hot sauce, barbecue sauce, sauce
Jocelyn Hsu

Putting hot sauce in the fridge can cause it to lose that spiciness that makes it so hot. There's enough vinegar in most hot sauces to stop bacteria growth and help keep them so fresh. 


vegetable, herb, fresh herbs, local herbs, local farms, shop local, farmer's market
Sam Jesner

Herbs wilt faster in the fridge, ugh! To help keep them fresh and crisp, place them in a glass jar with some water on your kitchen counter to keep fresh and crisp.

#SpoonTip: If you'd rather store them in the fridge, read up on how to store fresh herbs properly.


pepper, herb, turmeric, curry, cilantro, cumin, spices, chili, cinnamon, condiment, ginger, cereal
Nikita Kumar

This one might be a no-brainer, but spices don't need any refrigeration. They can keep their flavor and texture without needing to be chilled, so restock your spice rack at your leisure.


coffee, espresso, cereal, cappuccino, mocha, relish, decaffeinated coffee

The inside of a fridge can be humid, which can cause condensation on coffee beans and ruin the flavor. For optimal storage, seal in an airtight container and store in your pantry.


syrup, sweet, honey, honey dipper
Sam Jesner

Honey is a versatile natural sweetener, with a seemingly never-ending shelf life. But it should never be stored in the fridge. The colder temperatures alter the chemical makeup of honey and cause it to crystallize and seize up. Yuck!


nut, almond, sweet, coffee, cereal
Kirby Barth

Colder temperatures can help prevent the natural oils in nuts from going bad, but the cold can get rid of the nutty flavor. Shelled nuts can also absorb other scents that may be in the fridge. Instead, store nuts in an airtight container in the pantry. 


chocolate, cream, milk, sweet, ice, hot chocolate, coffee
Clare Beatty

Nutella loses its spreadable texture and distinct chocolate flavor when exposed to the cold. Optimal eating is at room temp. 

Knowing which foods you should not store in the fridge and which need cooler temperatures to stay fresh will help you reduce food waste in your own home (not to mention your dinners will taste a lot better). The next time you come home with an armload of groceries, take a moment to consider the best way to store everything so you don’t waste any money on repurchasing ingredients.