The big one: Condiments
Almost all condiments need to be refrigerated after opening. Always read the label as different brands may have different guidelines. In general, these condiments will need to be refrigerated:
Note: Artificial maple syrup does not require refrigeration, but you can still store it in there if you prefer.
- Barbecue sauce
- Ketchup (you can store this in the pantry once opened, but it will only last one month)
- Pure maple syrup (unopened, store in cool place; once opened, store in refrigerator)
- Mustard (if you store this in the pantry once opened, it will only last two months)
- Chocolate syrup (and other ice cream toppings such as caramel sauce)
- Natural peanut butter (natural doesn't contain preservatives, so it's best to refrigerate after opening)
- Jams and jellies
- Salad dressings
- Soy sauce
- Cocktail sauce
Other items that should be refrigerated after opening
Note: Nut oils always need to be refrigerated.
- Olive oil and other oil-based products should be refrigerated unless you use them up within a month. They're best if stored at 70 degrees F, and, since most kitchens tend to be warmer than that, they should be refrigerated. Keep in mind that olive oil solidifies and gets cloudy in the fridge, but once it's warmed back up to room temperature it returns to its normal color and consistency. You can also store a small jar of olive oil on the counter and the large container in the fridge.
- Butter should always be refrigerated. Though some people leave it out on the counter, it lasts longer when refrigerated. Consider storing it in the back of the fridge instead of the butter compartment, which tends to be warmer due to the opening and closing of the fridge door.
- Baby foods need to be refrigerated after opening. If the food includes meat, fish or eggs, it will last one day in the fridge. If it's a fruit or vegetable, you can store it for up to two days in the refrigerator.
- Canned items should always be placed in the refrigerator once opened. Keep in mind that it's always best to transfer the item into another container instead of just covering the can with aluminum foil and placing in the fridge. Bacteria can grow in the fridge, so it's best to make sure the food is stored in a tightly sealed container.
Items that do not need to be refrigerated
- Tabasco sauce
- Vinegar (vinegar is extremely acidic so it self-preserves, meaning no refrigeration required)
- Potatoes (if you refrigerate them, the starch turns into sugar, making them sweet when cooked)
- Tomatoes (they get mushy if refrigerated)
- Onions (though they last longer in the fridge, they won't be as "crisp" as if you leave them out)
Anything we missed? Share in the comments below!
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Hidden dangers of food storage containers
How to properly store Thanksgiving leftovers
Food safety tips for Thanksgiving leftovers