It’s an age-old debate as to whether some foods should be kept either in the fridge or the cupboard – but what’s right?
As a general rule, you should ask yourself whether the pantry stored food item you’ve just opened needs to be stored in the fridge after opening, to stop it from spoiling. There are some obvious circumstances where the answer will be no, like for rice and pasta. But for other items, the answer may not be so obvious.
Liquids and moist foods that are commonly preserved using canning and vacuum sealing to kill off any bacteria and mould, will be exposed to contaminants when opened and thus, require refrigeration after opening. If unsure, check the label on the food as the manufacturer will provide storage instructions.
Dr. Sonja Kukuljan, dietitian and Group General Manager Nutrition for Freedom Foods shares her top five food items that are commonly stored in the pantry but should actually be kept in the fridge, to prevent risk of contamination:
1. Long-life dairy milk
Whilst unopened, long-life milk can be stored in the pantry up to its used-by-date. However, once long-like milk has been opened, it becomes perishable and needs to be stored like fresh milk in the refrigerator and consumed within five days.
2. Maple syrup
Maple syrup generally has high water activity, which means moulds can grow once a bottle has been opened. So, it should be kept in the refrigerator once opened. Whilst unopened, it can be in the pantry because it is has been heat treated in the bottle to kill any moulds from growing.
Mayonnaise contains egg and needs to be stored in the refrigerator once it is opened. Correct storage of the food containing raw egg prohibits the growth of Salmonella. Whilst in the jar or bottle unopened, it is shelf stable so can be kept in the pantry.
Whilst there is inconsistent information on this one, according to leading authorities such as FSANZ and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) say eggs should be stored in the refrigerator to maintain egg quality and considerably lengthen storage life. The CSIRO recommend eggs to be stored in their cartons to reduce moisture loss through the shell.
5. Tomato sauce
It is now recommended that tomato sauce is stored in the refrigerator after opening, to maintain best quality. Traditionally tomato sauce has been stored in the cupboard when it contained much more salt as a preservative, however a reduced salt content mean it’s a prime contender for some fridge shelf space.