If you’re still refrigerating your tomatoes, you’re embarrassing yourself.

It takes a big person to admit when they’re wrong and so I stand before you, Internet, ashamed to admit that when it comes to food storage, I have no idea what the fuck I’m supposed to be doing. When I empty my grocery bags, I have but a weak understanding of where these foods should ultimately end up, apart from inside the cruel depths of my digestive tract.

All this was confirmed this week when I read a new study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. According to their research, chilling fruits at temperatures below 12 degrees Celsius will prevent them from rotting, but will also negatively affect their taste. In layman’s terms: Don’t refrigerate your tomatoes, you simple-minded monsters.

The average American generates 4.3 pounds of waste every day and I will freely admit that a large chunk of my garbage comes from improperly stored food that went south before it had a chance to reach my mouth. I beg of you, learn from my mistakes. Check your food before you wreck your food.


Where I store it: In the fridge

Where it should go: On the counter or in the freezer

Why: Storing your bread in the fridge will dry out the loaf and accelerate the aging process. Fresh bread should be stored on the counter for up to a week; if you’re stocking up, store extra bread in the freezer in an airtight container.

Similar to how a new car depreciates when you drive it off the lot, bread loses its luster after being sliced. Buy an unsliced loaf and save yourself some trouble.


Where I store it: In the fridge

Where it should go: Depends on the butter

Why: As a general rule, butter should be refrigerated, especially if the temperature in your kitchen is more than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re a butter purist who appreciates an easy spread, salted butter can be stored on the counter for up to a week, as long as it’s sealed inside an airtight container.

Non-dairy butter substitutes, like margarine, should always be refrigerated, as they are made up of unsaturated fats, which have a lower melting point.

Brita Pitcher

Where I store it: In the fridge

Where it should go: On the counter or in the fridge

Why: Water temperature is a matter of personal preference, but when it comes to losing weight or achieving maximum hydration, you’re better off consuming water that is room temperature. But cold water also has its place: it’s more satisfying and thirst quenching, so drinkers are likely to consume more of it. When it comes to your H2O intake, you do you.


Where I store them: On the counter

Where they should go: On the counter or in the fridge

Why: As mentioned earlier, chilling fruits at low temperatures can elongate their lifespan. If you prefer your bananas less ripened, placing a green banana in the fridge can slow down the aging process. Likewise, if you have a ripe banana that you are not prepared to eat, placing it in the fridge can help you eek out another day or two of edibility.

In short, leave your bananas on the counter until they have reached your preferred level of ripeness, then transfer them to the fridge.

Peanut Butter

Where I store it: In the pantry

Where it should go: In the pantry or in the fridge

Why: An open container of peanut butter has an impressively long shelf life, with some brands capable of staying fresh for up to an entire year. Natural peanut butter, however, is made without hydrogenated oils and without refrigeration, the peanuts may separate from the oils and the oils can turn rancid.

TL;DR: Store “regular” peanut butter in the pantry and natural peanut butter in the fridge.


Where I store them: In the fridge

Where they should go: On the counter

Why: Cucumbers thrive when stored at room temperature and should never be exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If you insist on storing your cucumbers in the fridge, never leave them there for longer than three days. Keep your cucumbers away from other fruits and vegetables (specifically, bananas, tomatoes and melons) as these foods release a natural gas called ethylene, which can cause your cucumbers to spoil more rapidly.


Where I store it: In the pantry and fridge

Where it should go: In the pantry in an airtight container

Why: Everything you know about chocolate is wrong: apparently, it’s not intended to be purchased in bulk and left in a partially opened bag for convenient consumption. Chocolate should be purchased in small amounts, kept away from sunlight and humidity and stored at room temperature in an airtight container. If your kitchen lacks air-conditioning, chocolate can be stored in the fridge; just make sure to allow it to return to room temperature before consuming.