Do you know which fruits and vegetables should be chilled and which are better at room temperature?

Tomatoes and berries won’t ripen in the fridge, but peeled garlic loses its flavour in the cupboard: Do YOU know which fruits and vegetables should be chilled and which are better at room temperature?

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  • Nutritionist reveals many fruits and vegetables are better out of the fridge

  • Most of them need to be fully ripe before refrigeration 

  • If not, many don’t continue to ripen in the fridge and are less nutritious

  • Berries, strawberries, melon and oranges all need to be ripe beforehand

  • Bread, potatoes, onions and garlic are better off in a dark pantry

  • Refrigeration can prevent oils from going rancid 

  • However if olive oil is exposed to light antioxidant activity decreases 

  • Spreads and sauces are different, with the label often having instructions

Putting fresh groceries in the fridge is the quickest and easiest option after a shop, but whether or not those items belong in there is another story.

Surprisingly, most fruits and vegetables are better off out of the fridge at first, with many of them only needing refrigeration once fully ripe.

Daily Mail Australia spoke to leading senior nutritionist from NAQ Nutrition, Aloysa Hourigan, to find out what should be in the fridge and what should remain at room temperature.


Tomatoes are commonly refrigerated after purchase, but there is a reason they are kept at room temperature at the supermarket.

‘In terms of becoming ripe enough to eat, tomatoes do better when they are out of the fridge,’ Ms Hourigan said.

‘Once they reach their ripeness they can go in the fridge otherwise they start to spoil…but tomatoes won’t ripen in the fridge by themselves.’


‘To get the maximum out of an orange it needs to be ready to eat before it is placed in the fridge as the levels of antioxidants and vitamins increase as oranges ripen,’ Ms Hourigan said.

‘That said, if you leave them out of the fridge for too long they will gradually lose their Vitamin C content over time and the fridge will keep those levels higher for longer.’


Those storing their potatoes right, are keeping them far away from the fridge.

‘Potatoes should never be stored in the fridge, the best way to store them, as well as onions, is in a cool dark place like the bottom of the pantry,’ Ms Hourigan said.

‘If they are in the light they go green on the skin and spoil and if they are in the fridge they become moist which is not ideal.’


Punnets of berries are often found in refrigerator drawers, but it turns out they shouldn’t be placed in there straight away.

‘Berries – especially strawberries – ripen up much better out of the fridge, however they will spoil fairly quickly so you need to pick the perfect time,’ Ms Hourigan said.

‘With strawberries you can smell whether they are sweet, nice and ready to be refrigerated…if you can’t smell a strawberry it’s not a good one.’


‘Honey is better in the cupboard than in the fridge as it crystallises…it doesn’t go off in the cupboard,’ Ms Hourigan said.

‘With that said, it doesn’t go off in the fridge either and many people choose to put it in there due to problems with ants.’