You may think you know all the foods that need to go in the fridge by now, but do you really? Of course, it goes without saying that most dairy products, raw meats, and fresh veggies belong firmly behind that refrigerator door. However, some foods that need to be refrigerated may come as a bit of a surprise. (Psst: While the topic of food storage is on your mind, you might want to check out the list of foods you should never refrigerate as well as the foods you should never put in the freezer.)
Certain ingredients, such as pure maple syrup, run the risk of developing mold if left outside of the fridge. Other foods, such as natural nut butters and seed oils, might become rancid and unpalatable quickly if stored in the pantry. Meanwhile, other products will simply not be as fresh or as flavorful as they could be if they’re hidden away in the cabinet. So even if you’ve been storing foods like these outside of the fridge for a long time now and have never had an obvious problem, it’s a good idea to consider changing your habits. After all, you want to make sure that every item of food that you and your family eats is high-quality food. Why not take that one extra (and easy) step to ensure that’s the case every single time?
Remember: Many packaged and processed food products come with specific instructions on the label for optimal storage. If you’re ever in doubt about the proper way to store any type of food, always check with the supplier to be sure.
Scroll down to learn about the most surprising foods that need to be refrigerated, and find out if you’ve been storing any of them the wrong way.
Refrigerate Maple Syrup
Believe it or not, maple syrup has a pretty short shelf life, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Keeping your favorite pancake drizzle in the fridge will keep it fresh and hopefully prevent mold for about a year. If you've been storing maple syrup — especially pure maple syrup with no preservatives — in your pantry, be sure to throw it out at the first sign of mold.
Although cured meats have a smaller risk of bad bacteria than cooked meats, studies have shown that there's still a chance that they can pick up Listeria or even E. coli in some cases. This is especially true for salami that's already been opened, so why chance it? Better safe than sorry, we always say.
Refrigerate Nut Butters
Natural Nut Butters
While certain commercial nut butters can be safely stored outside of the fridge, the natural ones run the risk of going rancid in flavor if they aren't kept chilly enough, according to EatingWell. Who wants that?
Many folks leave their bread outside of the fridge, so it's understandable why they might assume tortillas belong in the pantry or on the counter as well. Not so! Experts say that tortillas tend to be prone to molding, so it's typically best to refrigerate them for optimal freshness.
Refrigerate Seed Oils
Seed and Nut Oils
While vegetable oils such as olive oils fare much better in the pantry, seed and nut oils — like flax oils or almond oils — tend to go rancid much quicker when left outside of the fridge.
Refrigerate Corn In Husks
Corn in Husks
You might think that since corn is a starchy veggie like potatoes that you can store it outside of the fridge before husking it. Think again. According to experts, corn can actually lose up to half of its signature sweetness when left at room temperature for too long.
Certain Types of Pies
It's common to leave leftover pie out on the counter after a party or dinner. (Hello, midnight snack!) But if your pie contains eggs — like many pumpkin pies do, for instance — it's smart to pop it in the fridge to curb the risk of it developing harmful bacteria.
We know what you're thinking: Fast-food restaurants leave ketchup bottles out on the tables all day long, so why can't I do the same at home? According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, refrigerating ketchup not only helps it stay fresh but also remain as flavorful as possible.
Refrigerate Chocolate Syrup
Who doesn't love drizzling chocolate syrup on ice cream or a brownie? Well, you — if your chocolate syrup has gone bad, that is. Though it may appear shelf-stable, chocolate syrup runs the risk of developing funky flavors if you don't keep it chilled.