Ketchup and maple syrup often sit on the table at your favorite local restaurant. But at home, these items – and many others you might not think about – really belong in the refrigerator.
Sometimes it’s a matter of food safety.
For example, many people think cured meats, such as salami, are safe to store at room temperature. Even though they may be less likely to be hiding bacteria than cooked meats, they may still harbor harmful bacteria, including E. coli. Refrigeration slows down bacterial growth, and helps you avoid food poisoning.
Sometimes the quality of the food is at stake.
Have you ever eaten a handful of pecans or almonds and thought, “Hmmm, these don’t taste as good as I thought they would?” The fats in nuts can go rancid at room temperature, so to help those high-cost treats last longer, store them in a moisture-tight container in the fridge. Same goes for nut-based oils, whole grain flours and brown rice, for the same reason.
For more tips, download Safe Food Handling. For an in-depth look at food storage, including how long to keep certain items in your pantry and how to decipher date codes on packaged foods, check out Oregon State University Extension’s publication “Storing Food for Safety and Quality.”
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