Like filing taxes and saving for retirement, storing food properly is one of those things adults are expected to figure out on their own. It's also something they can't seem to come to a consensus on. Check the kitchens of any given household and you'll find onions in the fridge, ketchup in the pantry, and vice-versa. Though they may be a mystery to many people, there are rules about food storage that can preserve the taste and extend the lifespan of your goods when followed properly, The Guardian reports.
One of the biggest sources of confusion is produce. Many fruits and vegetables will quickly rot if left out on the counter, while others will lose flavor if they're refrigerated. A general rule of thumb is that if you didn't find it in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, it doesn't need to be refrigerated at home. That means citruses, bananas, and pineapples can be left out in a fruit bowl, while berries, broccoli, and leafy greens need to be chilled. Potatoes and onions should be stored outside the fridge in a place where sunlight can't reach them.
The one exception to this rule is apples. While they can last a few days on the countertop, there's no downside to refrigerating them. According to Real Simple, apples in the fridge can last up to three weeks without getting brown or wrinkly.
Another type of item that can trip people up when they're putting away their groceries is condiments. A lot of sauce bottles say to put them in the refrigerator after opening, but these suggestions don't always need to be followed. Many condiments—such as ketchup, mustard, and hot sauce—are high in vinegar and other preservatives. That means they won't spoil sitting at room temperature, even if the packaging seal has been broken. Soy sauce, honey, pickles, brown sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and chutney can all be stored in the pantry, though keeping them in the fridge won't hurt.
Food storage is just one thing people often get wrong about the items in their kitchens. Here are some more food myths you might believe.
[h/t The Guardian]