10 Surprising Foods You Should Be Refrigerating

By Karen Ansel, MS, RDN, CDN
surprised face in fridge

You know milk, meat and eggs belong in the fridge. But what about less obvious foods? Keep these ten foods cold and they'll stay safe – and tasting great – longer.

1. Tortillas

Some tortillas are prone to molding. That's why the fine print on many tortilla packages recommends refrigerating after opening. Chill them and they'll stay in tiptop shape until the expiration date on the package.

2. Salami

Cured meats like salami are less likely to harbor bacteria than cooked meats, but that doesn't mean they're always 100 percent safe. A 2006 study of 1,020 dry Italian salamis found that 23 percent of them contained the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. Cured meats can also contain other harmful bacteria such as E. coli. Store your salami in the refrigerator for up to 12 days to slow potential bacterial growth.

3. Ripe Bananas

It's fine to ripen bananas on the kitchen counter. Trouble is, they keep ripening, and ripening and ripening. Once they're ready to eat, pop them in the fridge. If their skins turn brown, don't worry, they're still fine.

4. Nuts

Nuts' fragile unsaturated fats go rancid quickly. While that won't hurt your health, it's definitely bad news for flavor. Keep your nuts tasting their best by stowing them in a moisture-tight plastic or glass container in your refrigerator for up to a year.

5. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup has a surprisingly short shelf life. So if yours is sitting in your pantry it's time to relocate it to the fridge. Stored in glass or a tin, Maple syrup can usually stay fresh for up to a year. However, if you notice any mold growth, be sure to toss it immediately.

6. Dried Fruit

Dried fruit has less moisture than fresh fruit, so it doesn't spoil as quickly, but it still needs refrigeration for maximum freshness. Keep it in the main compartment of your refrigerator for up to 6 months.

7. Ketchup

Restaurants may leave their ketchup on the table, but that doesn't mean you should. While its high acid content will keep most bacteria at bay, cool temperatures help maintain flavor and freshness.

8. Corn on the Cob

After just six hours at room temperature the sugar content of corn decreases by a whopping 40 percent. Unless you're going to cook it right away, keep corn in the fridge – husks and all – for up to two days.

9. Chocolate Syrup

Chocolate syrup is an easy way to make a glass of milk taste even better. But not if it has developed funny flavors. Chill yours after opening and you can enjoy it for six months.

10. Pecan and Pumpkin Pies

Made with eggs, these treats are magnets for bacteria. Fresh from the oven, they're okay to eat at room temperature for up to two hours. After that, they should go straight to the fridge for a maximum of three days.

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