Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Keeping cool: Foods to refrigerate

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I thought that it would be fitting to follow-up yesterday’s post with information on a few foods that should be refrigerated, but often aren’t:

  • Peanut butter – this applies to natural peanut butter, and other nut and seed butters such as almond butter and tahini, after opening. 
  • Nuts and seeds – this includes milled flax seed. You can keep these in either the fridge or the freezer. Because of their high unsaturated fat content they’ll go rancid more quickly if stored at room temperature and/or in light. Nut and seed oils such as sesame oil and walnut oil should also be refrigerated after opening. Olive oil should be stored in a cool, dark place but doesn’t need to be refrigerated unless you go through it very slowly.
  • Maple syrup – despite the high sugar content, opened maple syrup is susceptible to mould growth if not stored in the fridge. The same applies to jam and molasses.
  • Eggs – If you’ve ever been to England (or many other countries outside of North America) you may have noticed that they don’t refrigerate their eggs. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that you can store your eggs on the countertop in Canada or the US. Because our eggs are power washed before they’re sold the porous shell becomes exposed and susceptible to contamination so, unless you’re buying unwashed eggs directly from a farmer (or have your own laying hens) you’ll need to keep your eggs in the fridge.

Where you store items in your fridge is another issue. Make sure that foods that are most likely to go “off” are stored towards the back (e.g. milk, butter, meat, tofu). Keep condiments and beverages that are less susceptible to deterioration or contamination on the door. Store meat, fish, and poultry on the bottom shelf to ensure that their juices don’t drip down and contaminate other foods. Keep fruit and vegetables in separate drawers as the gases emitted by some fruits can be detrimental to the flavour and lifespan of your vegetables.

Ideally, you should keep a thermometer in your fridge and ensure that the temperature never exceeds 4C.

Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people see food and nutrition from a different perspective and understand that nutrition and health are not necessarily a result of personal choice.

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