Storage Tips

Why You Shouldn't Refrigerate Bananas

And more complicated fridge scenarios.

April  4, 2023
Photo by Ty Mecham

Unlike a microwave, you can put whatever you want in your refrigerator. For every article on the internet that claims you should never put bananas or tomatoes or basil in your refrigerator, there’s another article outlining a very legitimate scenario where refrigerating any of those ingredients would make sense.

So, instead of composing a rigid “banned foods” list for your refrigerator, we figured it’d make a bit more sense to dive into a few scenarios where the refrigerator could shorten an ingredient’s lifespan. From there, you can decide for yourself whether or not an ingredient belongs in your refrigerator.


In contrast to most herbs, basil lasts longest when kept at room temperature. For ideal basil storage, snip the herb’s ends and place it in a glass of room-temperature water, making sure you change the water every few days. Conversely, basil kept in the refrigerator will likely only last for a few days, but it’ll make your fridge smell nice and herby.

Onions, Garlic & Shallots

When left whole, onions, garlic, and shallots will keep longest if stored in a dry, dark, room-temperature environment such as a drawer, pantry, or garlic keeper. Also, all of these alliums have brittle, delicate outer layers that are exceptionally good at making the kind of mess you don’t want in a refrigerator.

However, once peeled and cut, onion, garlic, and shallot should always be stored in the refrigerator.


The refrigerator’s cold temperature will impede a banana from further ripening. If you’d like your bananas to ripen (perhaps they’re a bit too green for your liking), then keep the fruit on your kitchen counter. Once the bananas have reached your preferred ripeness, the refrigerator is a completely acceptable storage location.


Like bananas, a refrigerator’s chill will prevent whole tomatoes from ripening. Since most tomatoes sold at the supermarket are in need of additional ripening, immediate refrigeration is often condemned. So, again, feel free to pop them in the fridge once they’ve reached peak ripeness.

What’s something surprising that you never refrigerate? Let us know in the comments below!
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Paul Hagopian

Written by: Paul Hagopian

Content @ Food52


I agree about tomatoes and find if you take them out of fridge and put in warm water you get a better taste and consistency. With regard to basil I disagree. I think best way to store basil is to cut off root ends and wrap in damp cloth or even paper towel. You will get a week doing it that way.
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