TOMATOES: If you’ve ever grown tomatoes in your garden or hot house, then you know that they love the heat and don’t do well in the cold. OK, a tomato is technically a fruit, but taste-wise, it’s closer to a vegetable. The fridge is not the ideal place to store tomatoes. Store them there and your perfect tomatoes turn into a disappointment and lose their crispy juicy crunch. They’ll still be good for cooking, but not the best for eating fresh. So instead of losing out on this burst of flavor, store tomatoes on your counter (not in direct sunlight) and enjoy them when they’re ripe.
BASIL: If stored on your kitchen counter, basil will remain aromatically fresh for a longer period if treated as you would fresh cut-flowers. A fresh bunch of basil can be kept in a clean cup of water (change it every day or two) away from direct sunlight. Covering it loosely with a plastic bag will help keep it moist ( allow for some fresh air to seep in from the bottom). It is not recommended to put fresh basil in the fridge because basil loves the heat, so extended periods of time in a cold environment causes it to wilt prematurely.
POTATOES: Potatoes like cool, not cold temperatures. They do best at around 45 degrees F, which is about 10 degrees warmer than the average refrigerator. Storing them in a paper bag in a cool area like a pantry is best. A brown paper is more breathable then plastic so potatoes won’t rot as easily. Storing potatoes at cold temperatures converts their starch to sugar more quickly, which can affect the flavor, texture and the way they cook.
ONIONS: Onions don’t come out of the ground with a protective papery skin. To keep that dry outer layer they need to be “cured”. Lack of air circulation will cause onions to rot. Many of us store onions with potatoes together, but that is not a good idea because potatoes give off moisture and release gasses that can cause onions to spoil quickly. Since light can cause onions to become bitter, it’s best to store then in a dark, cool, dry, and well-ventilated place.
So as you can see, our refrigerator is not always the go-to storage unit for all of our fruits and vegetables.