We need to store fresh foods in the refrigerator during warmer months to keep them from spoiling.
But as fall approaches and the temperatures cool, I enjoy keeping many fresh foods out on the countertop, or in our cool, dark pantry. Some people who live in older farmhouses even make good use of their “root cellars.”
Of course, up until the early 1900s, most Americans still lived on farms—without refrigeration—and were generally well-nourished. Then, starting in the late 1800s, more and more people moved into dense, dank, crowded urban areas. And then took advantage of newly invented refrigerators to keep foods fresh.
But despite this advance in technology, we certainly haven’t gotten any healthier foods, as whole, in our country. In fact, we were far better off growing our own foods and eating them fresh.
So, today, let’s talk about a few healthy foods that don’t require refrigeration, especially during the cooler months…
Some people swear you need to refrigerate eggs. While others insist you don’t. I actually fall into the room-temperature camp…as the eggshell provides a sealed, sterile container for the egg’s contents.
You can keep intact, un-cracked eggs on the counter for months. But if you do keep them in the fridge, let them come to room temperature before cooking—especially when preparing them hard-boiled. This helps prevent the shells from cracking due to rapid shifts in temperature.
2.) Fresh fruits and tomatoes
I always enjoy fresh fruit—such as apples, peaches, pears, berries, and melons—at room temperature. They just taste better. And when kept in a bowl on the kitchen counter, it encourages regular consumption throughout the day.
Of course, tomatoes are really fruits. Which is why they also belong on the countertop all year round. Plus, they lose their taste when refrigerated. (I’ll tell you more about tomatoes in October.)
The full flavors of cheeses really come out when served at room temperature. And during the cooler months, I like to keep a selection of good cheeses on the kitchen counter on a wooden platter under a cheese dome—as they do in Europe.
Of course, cheese is a key part of the Mediterranean Diet, the healthiest diet on the planet. And people in the Mediterranean eat full-fat cheeses and dairy with virtually every meal. Interestingly, experts typically fail to mention this fact, perhaps because it doesn’t fit their mistaken narrative about “healthy” foods.
4.) Garlic, onions, and potatoes
Keep your whole garlic, onions and potatoes in a cool, dark place (but not the refrigerator), so they don’t sprout. This precaution will also allow them to stay fresh for months.
And once you peel and cut your garlic, you can seal the leftovers and refrigerate. You can also put peeled cloves in a small jar of olive oil, to preserve their freshness for months.
5.) Olive oil
You should keep olive oil at room temperature in a dark, cool place—away from the direct heat of the stovetop. But once the container is opened, it will only stay fresh for a few months. So, only buy it in quantities that you’ll typically use up within about three months’ time.
6.) Peanut butter & nut oils
I know many people go back and forth on this, but I recommend keeping opened peanut butter in the pantry. It’s easier to spread at room temperature. Plus, organic nut butters and their oils can separate if they heat up, so it’s best to keep them in a cool, dark place.
When refrigeration is warranted…
On the other hand, there are some staple foods that keep better when refrigerated, year-round, including certain types of flour and grains.
I recommend storing the following organic, whole grains in the refrigerator or freezer:
- Brown rice
- Coconut flour and flakes
- Ground flaxseed
- Rice Bran
- Wheat berries
- Wheat germ
- Wheat bran
- Whole wheat flour
Of course, I never recommend eating refined, processed carbs. But you can enjoy these whole grains in moderation as part of a balanced diet. In fact, as I recently reported, eating these whole grains in moderation may actually help reduce your risk of developing Type II diabetes.
Now, I know that recommendation goes against the wildly popular Keto and Paleo diets, which cut out entire food groups and essentially demonize all grains. But the science shows that certain grains can help support healthy blood sugar—and overall good health—by introducing diversity to your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. So, go ahead and enjoy these whole grains in moderation.
“Pantry Items That Stay Fresher in the Fridge.” Newsmax, 6/29/18. (newsmax.com/health/health-news/pantry-items-refrigerated-fresher/2018/06/29/id/869171/)