Pantry Staples That Belong In the Refrigerator

As the Marie Kondo craze makes its way through your house, don’t forget about your pantry and refrigerator! As you work through these important kitchen spaces, keep in mind that some pantry staples may actually stay fresher and last longer in the refrigerator. Here are tips on what foods to store in your refrigerator (or freezer)…and not in the pantry!

Keep whole grain foods & flours in the refrigerator or freezer

These include: quinoa, brown rice, cornmeal, barley, whole grain flours, etc. Other grain related foods to store in your refrigerator include: wheat germ, wheat bran and rice bran.

Coconut flour and coconut flakes should also be stored in the refrigerator

The natural oils in nuts and seeds go rancid faster at room temperature. But, if you store these foods in your refrigerator, they’ll stay fresh for a year or more (and up 2 years in the freezer). Any type of nut flour, nut butter, nut oils (ex. sesame oil), nuts and seeds (ground flaxseed, chia seeds, hemp seeds, etc.) are all foods to store in your refrigerator.

Other oils like olive oil should be stored in the refrigerator if you won’t use up an opened bottle within a month (if not stored in the refrigerator, at least keep it away from the heat of your stove & out of direct sunlight). Refrigerating oils may cause them to become cloudy, but this does not impact the taste.

Keep condiments in the refrigerator too: mustard, ketchup, soy sauces, fruit spreads, etc.

Some surprising foods to store in your refrigerator include vanilla extract, molasses, maple syrup, instant coffee and active dry yeast.

If not in their own bottle/air tight container, before you store these foods in your refrigerator, place each food in an airtight container or sealed Ziploc bags to keep them from absorbing moisture and odors from other foods.

Some more helpful tips on what foods to store in your refrigerator:

  • Storing avocados in the refrigerator will slow ripening; this can come in handy if you like to buy a few for the week.
  • Storing ripe bananas in the refrigerator can disrupt the ripening process (the peel will turn dark brown, but the banana will be perfectly ripe).
  • Although, they can be stored at room temperature, oranges, lemons & limes will last 4 times longer when stored in the refrigerator.
  • An opened bottle of red wine should be stored in the refrigerator (corked) for up to 5 days; bring to room temperature before serving.

A food safety tip: While you are stocking your refrigerator, check the thermometer; the temperature in your refrigerator should ideally be between 34 and 40°F.