Robert Odell Jr. enjoys sharing and learning about the old and new wonders of natural remedies.
My father grew up on a farm. He told me how his family kept food fresh without the use of a refrigerator. He mentioned how family members would spread hay in the hayloft, place harvested potatoes on the straw, and then cover the potatoes with more fodder. That process provided fresh, wholesome potatoes for several weeks. Surprisingly many other foods stay fresh and taste better when stored outside of your refrigerator. Here are five foods that prefer being out of the fridge.
City dwellers who do not have access to a barn can still enjoy fresh potatoes without digging them out of a refrigerator. Potatoes are full of nutrients and contain antioxidants. This naturally gluten-free vegetable helps to improve blood sugar and digestion.
Experts advise that we do not refrigerate raw potatoes. Chilly temperatures are okay, but refrigeration is not. Low temperatures cause potatoes to break out in a "cold sweet." "Cold-induced sweetening" occurs when potato starch converts to reducing sugars.
Storage Tips for Potatoes
- Keep your potatoes out of direct sunlight.
- Potatoes will last a long time if they are kept dry in a paper bag, open bowl, or a container with ventilation holes.
- Store them away from ripening produce, like bananas, tomatoes, and onions.
- Wash your potatoes when you are ready to use them.
- A salt or vinegar solution helps to remove more pesticide residue than plain water.
- It's okay to refrigerate or freeze them after cooking.
The antioxidant lycopene found in tomatoes helps to reduce heart disease and the risk of cancer. This healthy fruit is treated as a vegetable and contains Vitamins C and K.
According to test kitchen professional Julia Levy, a good rule of thumb is to store all whole and green tomatoes at room temperatures of 60 degrees or above. Tomates tend to become mushy in cold climates, so she advises against storing uncut tomatoes in the fridge.
Storage Tips for Tomatoes
- Place an open container such as Tupperware, a shoebox, or a cardboard flat box on a countertop away from direct sunlight and line the container with paper towels.
- Arrange tomatoes stem-side down in a single layer. Do not pile them on each other.
- Check your tomatoes daily and discard any that show signs of leaking or have mold spots.
Onions contain loads of vitamins and minerals and are low in calories. The many nutrients in this vegetable help maintain heart health, fight cancer, control blood sugar, and fight against unhealthy bacteria.
Storage Tips for Onions
- Store whole onions in a well-ventilated, cool, dry, and dark place. The pantry, cellar, basement, or garage are excellent places.
- When kept out of the refrigerator properly, onions can last for as long as four weeks.
- Be sure to store your uncut onions in a mesh bag or open basket.
- Do not use a plastic bag. Because of the lack of ventilation, onions do not last long in plastic bags.
- You can store peeled onions in the fridge for 10–14 days.
- Sliced or cut onions can refrigerate well for 7–10 days.
Source: The National Onion Association
Avocados are one of the healthiest foods on earth. Although not as sweet as its other family members, this fruit has more potassium than bananas. It is full of Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin C, Vitamins B5 and B6, and Vitamin E. Many studies have revealed that the regular consumption of avocados helps to lessen the risk of heart disease.
Storage Tips for Avocados
- Leave avocados that are not quite ripe on your countertop for about 4-5 days. They should be good to go and ready to eat after that.
- To maintain freshness, refrigerate ripe avocados for 2-3 days.
- Use lemon juice or water to keep your cut avocados fresh while they are in the refrigerator.
Melons are excellent for your health. They contain vitamins and minerals and help to promote good blood flow. Melons such as honeydews have many health benefits. They help improve blood sugar, reduce blood pressure, and maintain a healthy immune system.
Storage Tips for Melons
- If they are not ripe, store all melons for up to two days at room temperature.
- You can leave them uncovered on a countertop or, to speed up ripening, store them in a closed paper bag.
- Once they are ripe, refrigerate melons for up to five days.
Food is Medicine
As society develops healthy relationships with whole foods, many individuals realize that eating the right food is enjoyable, palatable, and the best form of medicine. Keeping that food fresh is an excellent way to add to its benefits.
Bjarnadottir, A. (2019, March 25). Tomatoes 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits. Retrieved December from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/tomatoes
Gunnars, K. (2018, June 29). 12 Proven Health Benefits of Avocado. Retrieved December 17, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-proven-benefits-of-avocado
How to Store Avocados. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://avocadosfrommexico.com/how-to/how-to-store-avocados/
Laseter, E. (2019, May 03). How to Store Fresh Tomatoes. Retrieved from https://www.allrecipes.com/article/how-store-fresh-tomatoes/
Rodder, S., MS. (2015, April 27). An avocado a day is good for your health: Nutrition: UT Southwestern Medical Center. Retrieved from https://utswmed.org/medblog/avocado-a-day/
The Best Way to Store Onions. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-store-onions
Tomato Hack… – Crone of Hearts. https://croneofhearts.com/2020/07/22/tomato-hack/
Welcome to the Food as Medicine Institute. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://foodasmedicineinstitute.com/
What's the Best Way to Store Potatoes?. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-store-potatoes
Who is the Onionista? - National Onion Association. https://www.onions-usa.org/about-2/
WikiHow. (2019, September 07). How to Store Melons. Retrieved December 16, 2020, from https://www.wikihow.com/Store-Melons
© 2020 Robert Odell Jr
Robert Odell Jr (author) from Memphis, Tennessee on December 17, 2020:
You are probably correct. My father told me that his family used hay to cover their veggies. He said they enjoyed fresh vegetables all winter long. I believe straw works just as well as hay.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 17, 2020:
My parents had a root cellar when I was a child growing up in Wisconsin. They kept things like potatoes, carrots, etc., in it during the winter months, and everything was fresh when used. If I remember correctly, the veggies were covered with straw.
Robert Odell Jr (author) from Memphis, Tennessee on December 16, 2020:
Yes, we have become so accustomed to refrigerators that we rarely think about other alternatives.
Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on December 16, 2020:
Very informative. I was not aware of this alternative method.