What Food Gets Refrigerated and What Doesn’t?

From seafood to dairy and from condiments to vegetables, our IR clients in the food industry depend on us to provide the optimal equipment for their refrigerated goods. Shipments come in and out daily with different people handling food their inventory. Most companies have checklists in place that indicate what is stored in the refrigerator.

When was the last time you verified which foods should actually be refrigerated? The right temperature can affect freshness and flavor, so we’ve listed out guidelines from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration which foods should be refrigerated and which shouldn’t:

  • Butter: This should be stored in the freezer if not being used within two days of purchase. Frozen salted butter will generally keep longer (up to 9 months for best quality) than unsalted butter (5-6 months for best quality).
  • Apples: They can last up to four months if refrigerated, but at room temperature, they should be eaten within a week.
  • Nectarines: Nectarine varieties such as peaches, plums, apricots, and cherries should be kept at room temperature to continue ripening, and then be placed in a fridge for up to a week.
  • Bread: Breads lose moisture when placed in the fridge and undergo a process called retrogradation, which makes bread tougher. The refrigerator will keep your bread from getting moldy, but if you want soft bread, it needs to stay out of the fridge. If the bread will not be eaten within a few days, freezing it will preserve the texture and prevent it from getting stale or growing mold.
  • Eggs: American eggs go in the fridge while European ones stay out. European eggs are not washed before sale and maintain their protective outer layer, keeping water and oxygen in and bacteria out. American eggs that are stored in temperatures at 40 degrees and below are protected from salmonella and other bacteria and increase the shelf life to up to five weeks.
  • Nuts: If placed in the fridge, they can last for up to a year.
  • Avocados: Depends on what stage they are in when purchased. If it’s soft and ready to be eaten, it can be placed in the fridge to preserve the shelf life. If it’s still hard as rock, it needs to stay in a room-temperature area in order to ripen to the desired texture.
  • Melons: These are left at room temperature to sweeten and ripen. You can place these in the fridge once they are cut or if they are becoming too ripe/soft.
  • Tomatoes: In order to keep their sweet flavor and juiciness, they must stay in a room-temperature environment. By chilling tomatoes, their cell structure is ruined – causing the sugars, acids, and aroma compounds to break down.

Here’s a good list when it comes to refrigerating other items:

Refrigerate: Cheese, condiments, jams, creamy salad dressings, coconut oil, maple syrup, dough and leftover pie or can of frosting.

Leave out: Tomatoes, peanut butter (processed commercial brands), onions, potatoes, coffee beans, balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, squashes, avocados, lemons and limes and unopened salami or pepperoni.

In order to preserve your food and keep it fresh as long as possible, these simple guidelines are useful when it comes to refrigeration. There are other resources available for you to learn how to extend foods’ shelf life naturally ways as well. If you are looking for someone to help you with your industrial refrigeration needs, contact Freije-RSC today.