To fridge or not to fridge?
These salad favourites lose their flavour and freshness when refrigerated; the cold temperature affects the cellular structure and causes the tomato to go watery. Instead, keep them in a bowl on the kitchen worktop or in a paper bag to help the flavour develop.
When potatoes are kept in the fridge, the starch converts to sugar. If they are then cooked at a high temperature, this staple veg could contain higher levels of acrylamide – a potentially harmful chemical. That said, the Food Standards Agency doesn’t raise any particular alarm bells at levels of acrylamide in food. More importantly, perhaps is that fridge-stored potatoes will lose flavour as well as decaying faster when kept in a plastic bag. Make the most of your spuds by storing them in a paper bag in a cool, dark place.
Bananas change properties when refrigerated so lose flavour and texture, while unripe bananas won’t ripen – they’ll just go brown. If they are already ripe, you could pop them in the fridge for a few days to stop them from going off completely. Alternatively peel, chop and freeze overripe bananas to use in smoothies or to make a healthy ice cream.
The combination of cold and moisture changes garlic’s properties, reducing the flavour and negatively affecting the texture. The damp environment of the fridge also promotes mould growth, which garlic is particularly susceptible to. The solution? Store in a paper bag in a cool, dark place.
Honey shouldn’t be refrigerated as it will form crystals when it gets too cold. This is purely aesthetic and won’t alter the taste, but if your honey does crystallise, place the jar in warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve again. Honey is best kept in a cupboard away from sunlight.
If kept in the fridge, your loaf will go stale faster because the cool temperatures speed up the dehydration process. This is when water molecules detach themselves from starch molecules, which then take their original shape, and harden again. To keep your bread fresh, store in a cool cupboard or a bread bin.
Read the rest of the article in issue 2 of Healthy Diet!