In the Pantry: Food Storage Secrets

Food storage can be pretty confusing: to refrigerate or not to refrigerate? What happens if I refrigerate a tomato? Will that onion change the taste of a potato? And what happens if the meats mingle with the milk? Here are some surprising food storage secrets to keep in mind when putting your groceries away.

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Tomatoes: Do not refrigerate tomatoes. Tomatoes will lose their sweet, sugary flavor if stored in the refrigerator. You can keep them right on your counter in a colander.

Potatoes and onions: These items are best kept apart. Just because you may cook with them together, doesn't mean they should be stored together. Onions and potatoes will prematurely age each other. Instead, keep both in a dry, dark area, like the pantry, but in separated areas.

Coffee: It's tempting to store coffee in the refrigerator or freezer, but the roasted coffee beans are being exposed to water. You'll lose flavor with the condensation that forms on the beans. Keep coffee in the original packaging at room temperature and use it within 7-14 days.

Bread: Classic sliced bread from the store can be stored at room temperature, because it has enough stabilizers. Sprouted breads are a different story. Sprouted breads release natural oils, making the bread go rancid quickly. Keep these loaves in the refrigerator.

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Milk, meat, and eggs: Of course, these items should be stored in the refrigerator, but just where should they be in the refrigerator? Surprisingly, eggs should never go in the "egg container" on the door. Instead, keep eggs, meat, and milk in the darkest, coldest areas of your fridge, like in the back and at the bottom.

Flour, oils, and nuts: You might think to keep these items in the pantry; however, to extend the life of these items, keep them in the refrigerator. Put nuts in a glass jar, and keep oils in a dark glass jar.

For more cooking tips and tricks, check out host Aida Mollenkamp's book, "Keys to the Kitchen."

More on Shine:
What not to buy at the grocery store
When to splurge on pantry staples
Must-haves for a well-stocked pantry