Don’t let those groceries go bad when you’re not looking.
Credit: Getty / marylooo

There's nothing more frustrating than reaching for an ingredient you thought you had in store, only to find out it's gone bad prematurely. You can prevent this frustrating scenario from happening to these seven ingredients by moving their home from the counter or pantry to the fridge.  

I know, I know, fridge space is at a premium. 

But knowing what to refrigerate (and what not to refrigerate, for that matter) is a foundational bit of knowledge to make your kitchen run smoother.  

Make sure key ingredients like butter and citrus don't go bad prematurely, and learn what kind of pies and syrups need refrigerated storage and which ones don't. So, open the fridge doors, clear out some space, and move these items to the refrigerator now. 


A bowl of fresh lemons and limes is quite tempting to keep out on the countertop — they just give an instant refreshing look to your cooking space. Plus, they're an MVP ingredient for boosting flavor in everyday cooking. 

But, if you want to keep them around much longer, opt for chilled storage. Specifically, in an airtight container or a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer. The difference? Lemons that last a whole month instead of just a week. 


If you store your slices of sourdough, whole wheat, and white bread on the counter, your first thought may be to add tortillas to this section of the kitchen. 

But they are actually more prone to molding, so keep them in the fridge instead. This means they'll stay fresh up to twice as long, leaving you prepared to whip up a yummy Mediterranean garden wrap or a roasted red pepper veggie hummus wrap for a satisfying lunch. 

Natural Peanut Butter

If you're a user of Jif or Skippy, scroll past this item. But if natural peanut butter is a frequent item on your shopping list, then this tip is for you.

The storage method will depend on how quickly you go through a jar. If your household finishes the natural peanut butter within a few weeks of opening, the pantry or any cool, dark place will suffice. But any longer than that, it's best to pop it in the fridge; the separated oil can turn rancid if left at room temperature for too long.


As someone whose day is thrown off if there's not spreadable butter ready for my morning piece of toast, at first I scoffed at this item. But if you keep butter on the counter for more than a few days, it can turn rancid and turn even the taste of a beautiful block of Kerrygold into a less-than-savory flavor. 

Instead, try only pulling out the butter dish a few hours ahead of mealtime, or only when you're about to bake and need softened butter. The rest can go in the fridge. 


This bit of kitchen storage advice falls to what Heinz tells us: The famed ketchup brand asserts that their product is shelf-stable due to its natural acidity but should be refrigerated after opening due to the instability of storage conditions. And other ketchup brands back up the advice, too.

So do yourself a favor, prevent a condiment-less grilled burger or plate of fries and put that ketchup bottle in the fridge. 


Once you've removed your pie from the oven, it's best practice to let it to cool to room temperature for two to four hours. After that, your filling will determine where to store it.

If you've made a fruit pie (Perhaps a Grandma-approved brown sugar-cinnamon peach pie?), it can stay on the countertop for up to two days. The sugar and acids in these desserts will actually ward off bacteria growth. 

If your filling has buttermilk, chocolate, or any other dairy products, place the pie in the fridge after cooling to ensure you can enjoy slices of classic chess pie or Southern buttermilk pie for many more days. 


Do you opt for pure maple syrup for top-notch pancakes at brunch or a unique take on an old fashioned at happy hour? Then your best bet is to store the syrup in the refrigerator after opening. This splurge-worthy product doesn't contain preservatives, so it can grow mold or go bad prematurely when left out.