Life Hacks | Did You Know

You Should Never Store Potatoes In The Fridge And The Reason Why Is Alarming

Not everything you eat is meant to be refrigerated, and although it may not seem like a big deal to let certain food products keep cool in the fridge, you could be putting your health at risk if you aren't too careful.

While storing produce in the fridge can make them stay fresh longer and save you money in the long run, there are some ingredients that you should never even consider placing in crisper.

If you're Team Put-Everything-In-the-Fridge, potatoes are one of the few vegetables you should stop keeping in the chiller.

There are a couple of reasons why experts are advising against this practice, and one of them is quite alarming.

Firstly, the cold temperature ruins the taste of the spuds because it makes the starch convert into sugar. Not only does this change make the potato taste sweeter, it also affects the texture and makes it tougher.

Secondly, and most importantly, when the starch turns into sugar it can cause a dangerous chemical reaction when you cook the taters.

Dangerous chemical reaction

When you fry or bake the potatoes at temperatures over 250 degrees Fahrenheit, the sugars mix with the amino acid asparagine to produce a chemical called acrylamide.

According to the National Cancer Institute, acrylamide is a carcinogen and has been linked to an increased risk of cancer. It is used in the production of plastics, paper, and dyes as well as to treat sewage, waste water and drinking water.

Cigarette smoke is one of the major sources of exposure to acrylamide, but some people can also ingest it through food sources, including potato chips, french fries, bread, crackers, cookies, cereals, canned black olives, prune juice, and coffee.

The levels in food vary depending on the manufacturer and there are no FDA guidelines that regulate the presence of the dangerous chemical in the foods we eat.

Expert opinion

There have been a number of studies focused on the link between acrylamide and risk of cancer, but so far only research in mice has shown consistent results.

There needs to be more studies on humans to figure out whether or not exposure to the chemical through diet increases risk of cancer.

Despite the inconsistent results, the National Toxicology Program has labeled acrylamide as a carcinogen based on studies involving lab mice drinking water tainted with the chemical.

The best way to ensure that you and your family are protected is by storing potatoes in a cool, dry place like the pantry. If you bake or fry them, avoid excessive browning to reduce acrylamide levels.

Refrigerated potatoes may pose a threat to your health, but there are other things that should be kept away from the fridge for various reasons. Here are seven of them:

1. Onions

These vegetables turn soft and moldy when you leave them in the refrigerator, because the moisture affects them badly. Leave them in your pantry until they're chopped and they'll last for months.

2. Tomatoes

You may think you don't like the taste of tomatoes, but you can't be sure until you've had a fresh one. Storing tomatoes in the fridge makes them stop ripening, so they turn flavorless. Leave them on the counter instead.

3. Bread

This is another food people can't seem to agree on, but the fact is a plastic bag will keep a sliced loaf fresh without any help from your fridge. The cold actually makes your bread go stale.

4. Peppers

We've gotten used to putting all our vegetables in the crisper, but these crunchy veggies actually taste better when you leave them in a basket on the counter.

5. Basil and other herbs

Leaving herbs in your fridge will actually make them wilt and absorb the smells inside, changing their flavor. Instead, leave them in a cup of water like cut flowers.

6. Cake

After a party your first instinct is to slide the leftover cake into the fridge, But not so fast! Cake will actually stay freshest in an airtight container in your kitchen. The exceptions are buttercream cakes, ganache cakes and ice cream cakes (obviously).

7. Anything besides food

There are lots of rumors and ubran legends that leaving household objects like batteries or makeup in your fridge will keep them "fresh." Aside from some medicated creams, there's no truth to this.

Do you keep any of these foods in your fridge? Let us know!

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.