To fridge, or not to fridge?

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To fridge, or not to fridge?

The fridge is a very complicated and confusing place to store our favourite food items…apparently! Amongst the usual debate surrounding bread, eggs, rice etc., we’ve discovered that people are taking to Google to question where in the kitchen you should be storing a variety of popular new foods including the beloved avocado, overnight oats and soy milk!

To help everyone out a little, we’ve worked with the team at Push Doctor to clear up and confusion and settle the debate once and for all. I mean, you don’t want to go spoiling those expensive pears, do you?

Avoca-Dos and Don’ts

Our favourite green superfood was one of the fastest-growing grocery products last year with sales up nearly £30m and everyone beside themselves when faced with a possible global shortage in early 2017.

But the bigger dilemma begins with the fridge; do avocados go in the fridge? When do we put it in there? How long can it keep in there?…the list is endless.

Will Hawkins, Registered Nutritionist at Push Doctor explains;

“It’s best to plan ahead and buy avocados a day or two in advance of when you plan to use them, so they have time to ripen properly.

Storage

Most importantly, do not refrigerate your avocados, at least not initially. Once picked from the tree, avocados, much like bananas, produce ethylene, which triggers the ripening process. The optimal temperature for this is 68°F/20°C. Fresh-picked avocados should ripen under these conditions within three to six days. When ripe, the avocado should yield gently to pressure, but not be squishy.

If you want to accelerate the ripening process, place the avocados in a paper bag. This concentrates the ethylene gas. If you add other fruits, such as bananas and apples, they will all ripen more quickly together. 

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Refrigeration

Once an avocado is ripe, you can hold it in that state longer by placing it in the refrigerator. While this will not halt the ripening process altogether, it will delay it greatly.

Similarly, if you have a lot of avocados and want them to ripen at different times, you can keep them in the refrigerator until a couple days before you want them to ripen.

Cut avocados oxidize quickly and turn brown. While this does not impact the edibility of the fruit, it is aesthetically unpleasant.

To save a cut avocado, brush the exposed flesh with lemon juice, cover with cling wrap, and refrigerate. The acidity of the lemon juice helps stop oxidation, as does limiting the amount of oxygen that comes into contact with the flesh.”

Soy Milk

The dairy alternative and free-from markets are one of the fastest growing globally with soy-based food and drink company Alpro recording a 14pc increase in UK sales (£22.3m) alone  last year.

The real confusion on this one starts at the supermarket, where you can often find soy milk and other dairy alternatives on both the chilled aisle and the normal shelves. So where should you store it?

Hawkins explains;

“To maximize the shelf life of opened soy milk, do not store it on the fridge door, as the temperature is too warm – the opened soy milk will last longer when stored in the main body of the refrigerator, in its original package.”

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How many over nights can you overnight oats?

With the help of health influencers like The Body Coach, overnight oats have become one the trendiest breakfast items around.

Over the last five years, people searching for the popular recipe have skyrocketed from nowhere with popularity peaking in cities such as Plymouth and Bristol.

But how long will your overnight oats stay fresh in the fridge? Should you be making a tub every evening or can you batch prepare them for a full week?

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Hawkins explains;

“Overnight oats can be stored in an airtight container for up to five days in the refrigerator. The caveat is that they’ll continue to soften the longer they sit — which might be a bonus if you like your oatmeal on the super-creamy side. They’re definitely best on day one and two, when they are soft but still have retained some of that toothsome chew, but five days is the max.”

Items you should NEVER put in the fridge

  • Berries

A common mistake by many, berries are actually much better when kept out of the fridge – the moisture is not good for them and you’ll notice they last much longer when kept in a cool, dry place instead.

  • Nut butters

There’s no need to keep peanut butter in the fridge unless you’re not going to eat it within three months (but who can restrain themselves that long?) If you do plan on leaving it longer than three months, put it in the fridge to stop the oils from separating and becoming rancid.

  • Tomatoes

The cold temperature of the fridge causes tomatoes to lose their flavour and also alters the texture, giving the surface a wrinkled, pitted effect.

  • Garlic & Onions

Alliums such as garlic, onions and shallots are more susceptible to mould when stored in the fridge, and can turn rubbery. Instead, keep them in a cool, dry cupboard.

  • Opened tins

Although it is highly unlikely that it will harm you, when tins are opened and introduced to oxygen – the metal can transfer to the food and make it taste tinny.

  • Cold leftovers

Illness causing bacteria can grow in perishable foods within two hours if not refrigerated, so don’t allow your leftovers to cool down completely (or for a long time) before putting them in the fridge.

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