Stop Refrigerating These 14 Foods

Stop Refrigerating These 14 Foods @ Farming My Backyard

Photo credits: jaroas, Greenbay, gokoroko, Ayla 87, kettyirl at

Here are some easy foods to stop refrigerating if you are thinking about going fridge free or just downsizing to save energy and money.  Living without a fridge may not be for everyone, but it’s easy to free up space and maybe even move to a smaller model.

  • Apples (Store in a bowl on a counter for up to two weeks and longer in a root cellar or cool storage).
  • Pears (Same as apples, eat as they ripen or make pear sauce).
  • Citrus (Keeps for a month on the counter).
  • Tomatoes (Refrigerating destroys the flavor).
  • Bread (It goes stale in the fridge anyway).
  • Tortillas (Growing up they were always in the fridge, but they actually stay more flexible at room temperature).
  • Ketchup (Think about all the restaurants where the ketchup sits on the tables).
  • Mustard (Same as the ketchup).
  • Jam (Lasts for about two weeks at room temperature).
  • Carrots (If they turn rubbery before you use them up, soak in water to restore crispness).
  • Spinach (Place stems in water like a vase of flowers).
  • Broccoli (Same trick as the spinach).
  • Eggs (Unwashed farm fresh eggs are safe to store at room temperature.  Once they’ve been washed, keep them cool).
  • Butter (It’s softer at room temperature and lasts a few weeks in a cool spot in the kitchen).

One tip though, if you stop refrigerating previously refrigerated produce it will NOT last as long as produce that was always stored at room temperature.

By moving these foods to the counter you can free up room in your fridge or even downsize to a smaller one.   My family of five comfortably uses a dorm sized fridge for dairy and a small chest freezer for meat.  We sold our huge fridge/freezer combo to save space and money in the kitchen and reduce our energy usage.

If you want to stop refrigerating more foods, check out these links for more comprehensive lists:

How-to: Store Fruits and Vegetables

Cool Ways to Keep Food Without Refrigeration


Posted in Farm Cooking, Mindful Energy Tagged with: ,
11 comments on “Stop Refrigerating These 14 Foods
  1. Great info, thank you. I have not tried carrots yet, but than again I have a cold room, and they are in there. But sometimes they do get rubbery, will try the soaking in water to restore crispness.

  2. t.f says:

    Ketchup you get at the grocery store says “refrigerate after opening”. Ketchup supplied to the restaurant industry is preseved differently so it doesn’t need refrigeration. Read the bottle. Unless the restaurant bought it at a consumer products retailer then they are storing it wrong and it will get rancid.

    Has anyone ever washed eggs before? Do you mean not from a store but directly out of a chicken? If so, this info applies to about 1% of the total population so thank you. How would washing affect weather it needs to be cold or not?

    • Kathryn says:

      Good points, thanks TF! Everyone should use their personal discretion about disregarding labels. My personal experience, and the experience of many others is that ketchup from the grocery stores is fine at room temperature just as it is in a restaurant. I have not looked at the formulation differences between the two. I’d love to see the ingredients differences if you have a link!

      Regarding eggs. In the US all eggs from a store are required to be washed by law. If you buy eggs from a farmer it’s good to ask if they are washed or unwashed. The reason to refrigerate is that washing removes a protective coating called bloom from the outer shell of the egg and it becomes more permeable by bacteria.

    • Michael says:

      Any condiment with Vinegar needs not refrigeration including Mayo. Vinegar is a natural preservative.

  3. pikachuFL says:

    I think leaving ketchup and mustard out is fine at restaurants because they will be eaten up quickly. If you have the same ketchup bottle at your house for six months before you use it up, it should be refrigerated. Some restaurants also leave tartar sauce out on tables, unrefrigerated, and I definitely wouldn’t advise that!

    I keep bread in the refrigerator because I live in Florida and the humidity makes bread get moldy quickly if it’s left out. I always refrigerate jam to make it last longer.

    • Kathryn says:

      I hear you on the humidity, bread molds quickly here in Oregon as well. We go through things like bread and ketchup quickly, which is partly why it works to keep it out.

  4. Scooba Steve says:

    Thank you so much for this informative blog. I managed restaurants for about 10 years here in Memphis, I am quite sure there is no difference in this area between grocery ketchup and restaurant ketchup. Restaurant ketchup is packaged without FDA info, because it doesn’t need it as it is not for resale. The only trick the restaurant has is keeping the bottles full, limiting the exposure to air. Some use smaller bottles and throw them out. Personally, it’s sugary and bad for me, so I simply go without it.
    Our family has been living in our RV for the past year, and we have recently bought 6 acres with no development or utilities. I intend to build a small kitchen and I greatly appreciate this post. I hadn’t considered digging a basement, but I see now why it would be worth the work.

  5. april says:

    We lived in Germany for a few years, I was surprised to see the eggs at the store were not refrigerated and found out from a German friend why this is. Thanks for the info!

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  1. […] you store these items in the refrigerator? You might be as surprised as I was to discover it is unnecessary to refrigerate these 14 items that may be taking up space in a crisper […]

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Welcome! I’m Kathryn and I'm creating a tiny urban homestead in Portland, Oregon. Our 1/10th acre lot includes gardens, chickens, ducks, and rabbits. If you want to create an urban homestead please subscribe for email updates and let us help inspire you with baby steps to farming your backyard.

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