Do you know there are certain foods that you should not refrigerate? I did not, so I stuck my nose in a book or two and found out some interesting information I want to share with you.
Do not refrigerate whole cantaloupes, watermelon and honey dew. I would not be able to get a whole water melon into my fridge anyway.
Melons retain their flavor if you keep them out on the counter. The USDA wants our melons at room temperature to retain the antioxidants. Once you have cut the fruit, refrigerate for only four days. They are not at their best after four days.
Get those potatoes out of your refrigerator NOW, and place them in a cool dark place. When potatoes are cold, the starch breaks down and they taste gritty.
Don’t refrigerate your honey, honey, because it crystallizes and hardens in cold temperatures. Keep it at room temperature for a nice syrupy texture. Remember what we found out about honey? Read more.
I am guilty of this one. I have to run down to my fridge and rescue my coffee from the cold. A sealed container keeps coffee fresh, aromatic, and tasty out of the fridge. Condensation is not coffee’s friend. Remember our coffee article. Read more.
Excuse me while I run down to my fridge again. I would have never guessed this in a million years. Tomatoes get mealy when refrigerated. Put under-ripe ones on the window sill. This is a fruit you must eat quickly or it will go bad on your kitchen counter.
This applies to uncut onions. The cold makes them mushy and moldy. Once you cut an onion, place it in a resealable bag and use the vegetable drawer to preserve it.
Garlic is our friend and we need to store it correctly. Apparently that place is not the refrigerator. We must store garlic in a cool, dry, and ventilated container. I found a cute one. Shop now.
Once you break open the head, use the cloves within 10 days. We have a post about garlic. Read more.
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Hot sauce is not in my fridge. Actually it is not even in my house. If I want something hot, I use cayenne pepper.
However, if you are a fan, remove it from your fridge. Bacteria will not grow in hot sauce because of the vinegar in it. Some like it hot, so the heat of the peppers is more powerful at more temperature. Remember the post about condiments? Read now.
Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
Out of the refrigerator this condiment is nicely spreadable. The exquisite chocolate flavor is splendid when not chilled.
Although the cold keeps mold away from bread, it also makes it dry. Keep it on the counter. Remember the bread boxes from the olden days. That would be a perfect storage area for bread. Actually, I think you can get a bread drawer. I have one in my kitchen. I found an adorable bread box. Shop now.
If you think you cannot use the bread quickly enough for it to stay fresh, then freeze it. I take my oat nut bread out of the freezer each morning to toast it. It works.
Refrigeration keeps nuts from going rancid, but cold temperatures reduce the nutty flavor of our favorite healthy snack. You should store nuts in an airtight container in your pantry. If you have a large number of nuts in your fridge as we speak, just toast them and store them.
You know, Dot would never refrigerate our apples. I wondered why back then. I thought it was because the cold would hurt her teeth. Apparently she was wiser than I thought. (That is a lot because I thought she was very wise.)
Peaches, apricots, nectarines, and plums should ripen at room temperature. Put them in the bowl with the apples and you’ll have a yummy decoration. Don’t forget to eat them.
If you must refrigerate them, do so for a few days only. (Or make something with them.)
This is a surprise to me. Did you know that cucumbers are sensitive to the cold? They are very happy at room temperature and remain crisp.
Keeping chocolate in the refrigerator is a sin. It absorbs the odors of other foods and the texture changes. Leave it out for maximum delightfulness. There is more information about chocolate in another post. Read more.
Olive oil is sacred. Keep it in the pantry. It congeals in the cold. Remember we had a post about olive oil. Read more.
I have always refrigerated my pickles. They say there is enough brine in them to keep them safe to eat. I still like a bit of coolness to a pickle. Perhaps I will disobey this rule. Is there a refrigerator police?
Refrigeration in Sicily
Italians shop daily for food. The markets are small with vendors selling meats, produce, cheese, and fresh pasta that come directly from the producer. The food is fresh, and they prefer to buy only what they need for a day or two.
I remember my Nana’s fridge. It was an icebox. She would call it ice-a box-a. That was a long time ago.
Italian refrigerators are small since the cook needs to preserve very little. They purchase what is in season and available at the local market. The name of the game in Sicilian cooking is quality and freshness.
I would like to dispense of the large refrigerator. I enjoy the thought of cooking fresh food every day. Maybe I should go and live on a farm.
My trips to Sicily never had a touristy flavor. I always try to enter through the back door and live like the locals. You would be surprised what the food is really like.
Okay, now. Go and clean out those refrigerators!
Let’s make a picnic Sicilian style.
Find some Italian specialty stores and buy:
Olives – Come out of a big barrel
Cured meats – Prosciutto, salami
Cheese – Provolone, my favorite in chunks
Italian bread – Nice and fresh from an Italian bakery
Red wine – A couple of bottles at least. The California Wine Club has good deals. Shop now.
Real wine glasses – Careful not to break them.
A checkered table cloth – In a basket – with checkered cloth napkins. (This is a classy picnic.)
A large wicker basket I always wished I had one of these. Shop now
Limoncello, Frangelico, or Amaretto and shot glasses
A large Boston Red Sox blanket on which to sit and spread out the goodies
Mangiamo, let’s eat!