14 Unexpected Items That These Chefs Never Refrigerate
This story originally appeared on foodandwine.com.
From butter to cheese, you probably have these foods in your fridge at home. Here’s why that’s not the best place for them.Is there anything more frustrating than spreading rock hard butter on toast? What about biting into a flavorless tomato or pouring cold barbecue sauce on sizzling short rib?
Next time you visit the supermarket, think twice before you put away your groceries. Read on for 14 items that you should never store in the fridge, according to these national chefs.
“I detest refrigerated ketchup. The natural acidity in ketchup makes it shelf-stable. If you don’t use ketchup often, then your best bet is to refrigerate it after opening, but I find the flavor tends to change when refrigerated.” – Michael Schulson, founder and CEO of Schulson Collective
"It will get tough in the fridge and lose its milky texture and flavors.” – Melissa O'Donnell, executive chef of Seven Seeds
“Growing up, my mom never refrigerated eggs and I've come to notice that refrigerated eggs have a strange, stale-like taste to me now. At home, I like to keep them out on the counter (for no longer than a week after purchase) and make soft scrambled eggs with butter. Since there isn't a drastic change in temperature, they come together much quicker.” – Michael Beltran, chef and owner of Ariete and Chug’s
“Farmers’ market stone fruit. Seasonal stones like peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots have a short season. They are picked at peak then sent to market. Fridging them makes them mealy. If you’re cutting them and preparing them into a dessert, you can fridge them in the dessert before service but not as whole fruit.” – Jet Tila, chef, restaurateur, and television personality
“Commercially-made mayonnaise, not homemade. The acidity of mayonnaise slows the growth of bacteria associated with food-borne illnesses, making refrigeration not necessary. The main issue you have to worry about is getting food particles into the jar. Like butter at room temperature, the flavor opens up and expands for a richer, creamier texture.” – Rusty Bowers, owner of Pine Street Market and Chop Shop
Pico de gallo
“It’s best eaten fresh cut. Don't make it and put it in the fridge, or you will lose the integrity of the ingredients and it won't taste as good.” – Lorena Garcia, chef, restaurateur, and television personality
“A lot of people store their chocolates in the fridge because they believe it will last longer. But it is the opposite. You ruin all the textures, aromas, and flavors of this delicacy.” – Diego Oka, executive chef of La Mar by Gaston Acurio
“Never refrigerate a tomato. At room temperature a few things will occur: the tomato will ripen, and its juices will evenly distribute throughout the flesh. If you put the tomato in the fridge it often times will result in the tomato having a grainy texture and lack flavor.” – Jason Bergeron, chef of Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen, Canvas Restaurant & Market, and Park Pizza & Brewing Company
“Never, ever refrigerate Nutella. It makes it taste different and the oils separate and solidify in a chalky manner.” – Adrianne Calvo, chef, restaurateur, and television personality
Burgers and fries
"The burger patty loses its juicy flavor, especially if you have lettuce, tomato, or cheese. Also, the bread can become stale the longer you refrigerate it. Cold fries never taste good either so don't bother putting it in the fridge." – Nicholas Poulmentis, executive chef of Oli.Vine
Triple cream cheese
“Any cheese fully encased in a rind is actually designed to be aged and unwrapped in a cool dry place, not at very cold refrigerator temperatures. That rind is essentially a membrane that allows it to interact with the environment. For cut cheese, it is best to keep it wrapped in the fridge, because it has lost its protective coating and is now susceptible to outside contaminants, but still leave it out to warm up before you eat it. When cheese is cold, you don't get to appreciate its creamy silky textures and nuances of flavor. I actually learned this from my French roommate in college who would leave his brie on the counter. (The French even have a verb for this: affiner!) At the time, I complained about the stink, but he told me if it were alive then the cheese should be on the counter! Turns out he was right.” – Brenna Sanders, co-executive chef of Effervescence
“If you go through all this trouble to make some bad-ass brisket, you don’t want cold sauce. If you make it or buy it, keep it out so that the flavors don’t turn dull over time.” – Steve McHugh , chef-owner of Cured
“Is there anything more annoying than trying to spread rock hard butter on a piece of toast? I prefer to have room temperature butter at my disposal at all times. The gratification that ensues after the butter easily melts into a warm everything bagel can easily turn a mundane morning into a day full of possibility. I keep mine in a Le Creuset butter dish that helps keep the butter at the perfect temperature.” – Brian Landry, chef and owner of Jack Rose and Marsh House
“When it’s out of the fridge, it has more of a concentration of flavors and is easier to cut. So delicious.” – Lorena Garcia, chef, restaurateur, and television personality