A lot of the healthy staples you currently store in your pantry—like nuts and matcha—should actually be in the fridge in order to keep them fresh and nutritious. So what to refrigerate, and what not to refrigerate? We asked chefs and nutritionists to name the pantry items you might want to move to your refrigerator.
The pantry items that should be stored in your refrigerator
1. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are pretty much always found in the pantry. But by storing them in the fridge, they'll last way longer. "The biggest reason to store dry goods in the refrigerator is to prevent the oils in nuts and seeds from turning rancid," says Emily Brekke, executive chef at Mint Kitchen. Storing them in airtight containers like Mason jars instead of the bags they come in is helpful, too.
2. Nut butter
It's not just nuts that do better in the fridge—it's also their respective butters. "Once opened, nut butters will be fine at room temperature in a cabinet for a few months, but if you want to maximize their life, they will stay twice as long in the fridge," says Allison Scheinfeld, RD, a Brooklyn-based registered dietitian. "This is especially true for natural nut butters with little preservatives. The fridge does cause oil separation, but if you do a quick stir, it's still delicious."
What a dietitian thinks of peanut butter:
There's a big should-you or shouldn't-you debate over whether you should refrigerate bread. Some of the loaves loaded with preservatives will last forever without getting moldy (aka the kind you don't want!), but the healthy, wholesome, organic kind should always be kept in the fridge in order to keep them fresh. According to Tablespoon, heat, humidity, and light is what causes your bread to go back. But the cool and dark fridge can slow down the process, allowing you to enjoy it for longer.
The answers to all your questions about gluten:
Flour might always have a place in your cupboard. Unfortunately, it's the worst environment to keep it fresh. "Oils are released in flours during the milling process, which could deteriorate the flour if it goes unused over time. Humidity tends to speed this process, so if your storage cabinets tend to collect humidity, refrigerated storage is probably best," Brekke says. "Your storage container is also important. It should be airtight whether you're storing items in the cabinet or the refrigerator."
5. Maple syrup
Unless you want to pour moldy syrup on your pancakes for breakfast (sorry, that was gross), you better keep it in the fridge. "Once open, maple syrup is susceptible to mold, so cold storage is best to prevent it," Brekke says. "It also keeps critters away from those sticky dribbles on the side of the bottle."
Get your spirulina out of the cupboard, stat. It's actually crucial that it's kept in the fridge. "The cold will best maintain the many nutrients," Scheinfeld. Otherwise, you might as well pour your money down the drain.
How to make spirulina pesto:
Matcha is expensive. You'll want to make sure you'll use all of it before it goes bad. That's why matcha-makers tell customers to always keep the antioxidant-packed product in the refrigerator. Mizuba Tea Co. recommends doing so right after opening to preserve the freshness and flavor, as well as protect it from the elements, as matcha is super sensitive to light, heat, air, and humidity.
Speaking of matcha, make these healthy ice pops:
You can make a million cheap, healthy meals with these 11 pantry staples. Then find out how to make ghee, the gut-healthy, energy-boosting spreadable your pantry is missing.
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