Refrigerate or Room Temperature? Here’s a Cheat Sheet!
To store in the fridge or not? That’s the question most of us ask about several common kitchen items or leftovers. Don’t feel foolish if you frequently confused so are the rest of us!
Here’s a helpful guide about where you are most frequently questioned foods should be stored:
UNOPENED PEPPERONI: ROOM TEMPERATURE
Whether part of a gift basket or purchased for a party, all unopened can and related versions can be stored at room temperature. Once you’ve opened them, store them in the fridge, as they’re susceptible to bacteria and mold from the cut end, even if most of it remains wrapped.
2. LEFTOVER CAN OF FROSTING: REFRIGERATOR
An open can of frosting needs to go in your fridge. Unopened, it’s fine in your pantry, but once you’ve used it, it’s prone to spoilage and bacterial contamination.
3. PEANUT BUTTER (PROCESSED COMMERCIAL BRANDS): ROOM TEMPERATURE
Traditional peanut butter which processed is for a long shelf life, even after opening. And any additives used to stabilize the products are FDA approved and have used safely for decades.
4. PEANUT BUTTER (UNPROCESSED BRANDS): REFRIGERATOR
Sometimes referred to as “natural” peanut butter, this version of peanut butter is only ground peanuts and nothing else. It’s best to refrigerate because the oils can become rancid and spoiled when left at room temperature for weeks.
To soften, remove from the fridge 30 – 60 minutes prior to using.
5. COCONUT OIL: REFRIGERATOR
All oil can become rancid when stored at room temperature for too long. This is particularly true for oils used less often, including coconut, sesame and walnut oils. To ensure its freshness store in the fridge.
Coconut oil is already a solid fat at room temperature. Sesame and walnut oils become solid in the refrigerator but return to a liquid at room temperature without a change in taste or texture.
6. COFFEE BEANS: ROOM TEMPERATURE
If you’re looking for optimal taste and aroma from your morning cup of caffeine, keep the beans at room temperature. Coffee beans can pick up moisture from the fridge, and compromise flavor
For storage longer than a few weeks, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freezer bags, and store in the freezer for up to six months.
7. SOY SAUCE: ROOM TEMPERATURE
Soy sauce is a fermented product of soybeans, and once opened can safely remain at room temperature.
8. HOT SAUCE: ROOM TEMPERATURE
Hot sauces are generally a mixture of vinegar, hot peppers, and seasonings. Because vinegar is a mild acid, these sauces can be stored at room temp without spoilage. If you choose to store it in the fridge, warm to room temperature for optimal flavor before using.
9. LEFTOVER PIE: REFRIGERATOR
Because the crusts and sometimes the fillings contain butter, cream, and eggs, store leftover pie in the fridge to avoid spoilage.
10. MIXED NUTS: REFRIGERATOR
Nuts contain heart-healthy oils that can become rancid when stored too long at room temperature, especially in a warm kitchen. Store your leftover nuts in a sealed bag in the refrigerator. For longer-term storage, wrap carefully and store in the freezer for several months.
11. BALSAMIC VINEGAR: ROOM TEMPERATURE
All kinds of vinegar — plain and specialty types like balsamic or tarragon — are stable at room temperature. Vinegar is a mild acid which deters bacterial growth.
12. BUTTER: REFRIGERATOR
As a dairy product, butter must be stored in the fridge to prevent spoilage. While “butter crocks” can be a good idea for short-term storage of several hours, for longer storage without spoilage, keep it in the fridge.