While most fruits and veggies fare fine in the refrigerator, there are a number that don’t need to be stored in the fridge at all.
Cold temps can cause some produce to lose flavor and become mealy (tomatoes and stone fruit, below), while other vegetables shouldn’t be stored in the fridge ever (shallots, onions, garlic). Very soft avocados could be stored in the fridge to make them last a few days longer, but cold temps could affect flavor. Thick-skinned squash and hardy roots like potatoes are totally fine on the countertop for weeks—sometimes months!—at a time, as long as they’re kept out of direct sunlight. A cool, dark place is best. (But not so cold as to keep them in the fridge.)
Here are all of the vegetables that don’t require refrigeration before eating:
- Garlic scapes
- Winter squash: acorn, butternut, delicata, and kabocha
- Fresh herbs: parsley, mint, and basil*
*Store in a jar of water like a bouquet of flowers
Though most fruits fare fine in the fridge (mangoes, apples, ginger), many fruits do better when stored outside of the fridge, whether on the counter or stored in a pantry. When stored at room temp, some fruits tend to be softer and juicier—and more enjoyable—like melons, stone fruits, and mangoes. Other fruits loose their crisp texture faster in the fridge, like apples and pears. While they can be stored in the fridge if you enjoy chilled fruit, they’re totally OK to hang out on the counter, too.
Here are all of the fruits that don’t need to be stored in the refrigerator before eating: