Ah, adulthood. What a precious time in one’s life where you reach the ‘age of understanding’ that groceries tend to spoil a whole lot faster when you’re the one paying for them. Seriously, you’ve got to admire the battle we never knew Mama was fighting of keeping the kitchen stocked with after-school snacks galore, and even more so, winning over a few helping hands to tote groceries inside from a trip to the Pig. (Forgive us, Mama. We’d go back in time if we could!)
If I’ve learned one thing about adulthood in my 20’s, it’s the lengths I will go to in order to preserve the freshness of my precious groceries—because truly, there is no greater heartbreak than tossing a bundle of fresh produce in the trash and watching the dollar signs go with it. With lots of *ahem* opinions out there, it can become difficult to decipher truth from myth when it comes to which items to refrigerate and which to store in the pantry for the best results. (Haven’t we all heard the myth of keeping a loaf of bread in the refrigerator? More on that later…) We’re willing to bet that you probably aren’t refrigerating these items right now, and (if we may be so bold), we’re also willing to bet that your grocery bill will take a major dip after reading this list—faster than you can say ‘avocado’.
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It’s no secret that avocados can be a finicky fruit. One day ripe, the next day gone—and not a spoonful of guacamole to show for it. If you’re holding onto a few avocados for weekend entertaining that aren’t quite ready, pop them into your ‘fresh produce’ drawer to slow down their cycle significantly. Conversely, if you’re ready to dive into some avocado toast before your little green friend is prepared to cooperate, leaving avocados by the kitchen window (while keeping a watchful eye!) can speed up the ripening process.
Similarly to the avocado, tossing a bunch of ripe bananas into the fridge will slow down the process to prevent it from over-ripening. The key is not to add them before they’re ripe, or you’ll run the risk of derailing the ripening process altogether, even once they are removed.
Lemons and Limes
While showcasing lemons and limes in a pretty bowl on your counter can be tempting to achieve an air of put-together-ness, citrus fruits will last up to four times longer when stored in the refrigerator. If you absolutely must, simply opt to bring out your citrus centerpieces only when expecting guests.
While refrigerating loaves of bread can cause the inside to dry out and stale more quickly than you would predict (and present quite a challenge in slicing when it comes to a thick loaf such as sourdough), the opposite is true when it comes to a thinly sliced tortilla. Because of its thin quality, there’s less opportunity for cold air to infiltrate empty pockets and dry it out. Because tortillas are prone to molding, tossing them in the refrigerator is always the safest bet—and can help them last up to twice as long.
Natural Peanut Butter
If you’ve hopped on the natural peanut butter train for health purposes, you know that the last thing you want is to keep this specialty item from going the distance. Because natural peanut butter is truly peanut butter in its purest form (Think: peanuts and a dash of salt) with no preservatives to bind the two together, it’s common for separation to occur with the oils from the peanuts rising to the top. Because it’s processed without preservatives, the oil is more susceptible to molding and it’s always a safe bet to store it in a cool place.