4 Foods That Shouldn't Be In Your Fridge

cut open half avocado
Guess what?  The refrigerator is not the go-to storage unit for all your produce. Below are just some of the things that do NOT belong in there…

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Tomatoes. If you’ve ever grown tomatoes, then you know that they love the heat and hate the cold. Turns out even after they’re plucked from the vine, they still hold their aversion to cold. The fridge is not the ideal place to store tomatoes.

Store them there and your perfect tomatoes turn into a mealy disappointment. They’ll still be good for cooking, but not the best for eating fresh. Instead store them on your counter (not in direct sunlight) and enjoy them when they’re ripe.

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Potatoes. Potatoes like cool, not cold temperatures. They do best at around 45 degrees F, which is about 10 degrees warmer than the average refrigerator. Most of us don’t have a root cellar (a cool, dark place to store root vegetables like potatoes), so keeping them in a paper bag in a coolish spot (like a pantry) is best. Why paper? It’s more breathable than plastic so potatoes won’t succumb to rot as easily. And why not the fridge? Storing potatoes at cold temperatures converts their starch to sugar more quickly, which can affect the flavor, texture and the way they cook.

Onions. Onions don’t come out of the ground with that protective papery skin. To develop and keep that dry outer layer, they need to be “cured” and kept in a dry environment like a pantry, which is not as damp as the refrigerator. Also, lack of air circulation will cause onions to spoil, as will storing them near potatoes, which give off moisture and gas that can cause onions to spoil quickly. Store onions in a cool, dry, dark, well-ventilated place. (Light can cause the onions to become bitter.) Scallions and chives, however, have a higher water content, bruise more easily and have a shorter shelf life, so store these alliums in the fridge.

Avocados. Avocados don’t start to ripen until after they’re picked from the tree. If you’re buying a rock-hard avocado, don’t store it in your refrigerator, as it slows the ripening process. On the other hand, if you have a perfectly ripe avocado that you’re not ready to use, storing it in the refrigerator may work to your advantage by prolonging your window of opportunity to use it before it becomes overripe. So the bottom line on storing avocados is store hard, unripe avocados on your counter and store ripe avocados in your refrigerator if you’re not going to eat them right away.

 

Visit the BlackDoctor.org Food center for more articles and tips.

Sheets & Blankets: How Often Should You Wash Them?

messy bed sheets
Do you really know who, or rather what, you’re sleeping with? According to Philip M. Tierno Jr., director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, most people don’t know just what may be lying inside of their sheets and blankets.

Read: Allergy-Free Home: A Room-By-Room Guide

People’s bed linen washing habits greatly vary – some people wash theirs several times a week, while some, particularly younger adults, will leave their linens on their beds for much longer. But how much should you, ideally, wash them?

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Wash sheets and pillowcases once a week, and you’ll eliminate that debris that has accumulated in the bed for that week, Tierno says., adding that once-a-week washing schedule will make it safer to breath in that material.

Debris? What Debris?

Human skin cells become food for dust mites. That is one of the biggest problems associated with bedding. Mites accumulate, along with their feces. But there is also animal hair, dander, fungal mold, fungal spores, bodily secretions and bacteria. Also: dust, lint, fibers, particulates, insect parts, pollen, soil, sand and cosmetics.

“One person can perspire as much as a liter in a night—even more if you have a lot of covers,” Tierno says. And, of course, people eat in bed as they watch TV.

The Health Risks?

It is mainly a threat to respiratory tracts and not an infectious source. If you have allergies or asthma, this matter can exacerbate it. If you don’t have an allergy, you could develop one because you’re constantly challenged.

The Best Way To Wash Bedding

The water should be 130 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, typically the washing machine’s hot-water cycle. Then dry using a hot drying cycle. That is germicidal; it actually kills and destroys a lot of vegetative material. It also kills the dust mites. For extra protection, bleach is excellent. It is probably the cheapest germicide and can be used in a low concentration. Cold water non-bleach bleaches use peroxide, so they’re also germicidal.

One More Thing…

To protect the mattress, use an impervious outer cover. If you look at a mattress, it collects debris by gravity. All kinds of things collect on it that are absorbed into its core. Without the impervious cover, your mattress is a “zoological and botanical garden,” Tierno says. The outer covers are made of pliable, plastic vinyl and are commonly used by people with asthma and allergy symptoms. The covers should also go on pillowcases. “If you put an impervious outer cover over the mattress and mattress pad, your mattress won’t harm you.”