Sunday, December 4, 2022


Small RV refrigerator? These 30 foods don’t need refrigeration


Have a small RV refrigerator? Refrigeration space is at a premium in an RV. These 30 foods don’t need refrigeration. Some of them may just surprise you.

Foods that don’t need refrigeration

Aged cheese

Aged cheese (like parms and goudas) is already hard and doesn’t need to be kept cold. Putting it in the refrigerator just takes it from hard to rock hard. If it is aged, keep it in a cool, dark place. Cheeses not aged still need refrigeration.


These should ripen at room temperature. They can then be refrigerated to preserve longer.


Basil will brown and turn to mush in the refrigerator. Store in a glass with water, similar to flower arrangements.


In a mild climate, butter can be stored out of the refrigerator in an air-tight container.


Eggs that have not been refrigerated before purchase can be stored for several weeks outside the refrigerator. If purchased refrigerated continue to refrigerate.


Chilling turns the potato starch into gooey and gritty sugar. Keep potatoes cool in the pantry. Once they are cooked, refrigerate.

Sweet potatoes

Keep in the dark, but not the dark refrigerator! If they begin to sprout, they are getting too much light.


Nope, no refrigeration. They get moldy and mushy in refrigerators and their starch is also converted to sugar. Leave it in the fridge long enough and watch it disintegrate!

Nutella and peanut butter

The sugar content prevents bacteria. Keeping Nutella and peanut butters out of the refrigerator keeps them spreadable. However, natural peanut butters will need refrigeration. The oil in natural peanut butters can go rancid. Read the label.

Olive oil

Refrigeration will cause a loss of taste and make olive oil cloudy and actually solidify.


Garlic will mold if kept airtight. Keep in the pantry in a ventilated container like this one, which is specifically made for garlic.


Refrigeration will make it tasteless. Don’t freeze unless bought in bulk and sealed well.

Photo credit Nanci Dixon
Photo credit: Nanci Dixon

Whole melons

Keep them sweeter and juicy by storing at room temperature. Note that they do need refrigeration after cutting.


Keep out of the refrigerator if using within a couple of days but keep away from bananas, tomatoes and melons. They are sensitive to the gases those fruits emit.


Whole carrots (not processed baby carrots) can be kept out of the refrigerator so they can avoid the white film that the chill brings.


If the pickles were not refrigerated in the grocery store, no need to refrigerate them. The pickling process with high salt and vinegar keeps them good. If they were bought refrigerated, continue to refrigerate.


Berries mold quickly. If using them soon, keep them out of the refrigerator. Only rinse right before using. If you need to refrigerate, make sure they are in a ventilated container.

Ketchup and mustard

Ketchup and mustard have high acidity and do not need to be refrigerated. Restaurants don’t. However, if extremely hot in your area, go ahead and refrigerate to increase their longevity.

Soy sauce

Soy sauce has high sodium content that keeps it good. But it should be stored in a cool place.

Photo credit Nanci Dixon
Photo credit: Nanci Dixon

Peaches, nectarines, apricots, pears and plums

These ripen best at room temperature. They will stop ripening in the fridge and will get chill damage. They turn mealy and flavorless. Only refrigerate ripened fruit but only when necessary.

Photo credit Nanci Dixon
Photo credit: Nanci Dixon


Refrigerating tomatoes damages their flavor cells. Keep ’em out.

Nuts and dried fruits

Keep them in airtight containers out of the refrigerator to not reduce their nutty/fruity flavor.


Leave out of the refrigerator until ripe. When refrigerating the ripe ones keep away other fruits and vegetables. The bananas emit a gas that will ripen other fruits and veggies.


Refrigerating chocolate can cause bloom and a gritty texture.


Refrigerating bread causes it to dry out and actually changes the starch content. If needed, freeze bread rather than refrigerate it.


They taste best at room temperature and refrigeration can actually damage them.


Apples produce ethylene gas that if kept with other fruits and vegetables can over-ripen the other fruits. They stay good on the counter for several days.

Did you know many foods don't need refrigeration? Oranges don't need to be in the fridge
Photo credit: Nanci Dixon


Putting citrus fruits in the fridge will just dry them out. Refrigerate only if needed to extend life.


Leave out of the refrigerator until cut.


Keeping corn in the refrigerator dehydrates it and makes it become rubbery.

Cookies, donuts, baked goods

Refrigeration will only dry them out. Eat and enjoy!

Of course, for RVers space is always an issue. Hopefully clearing out the refrigerator of these foods that don’t need refrigeration has provided some more storage. The question now is where to put all the stuff taken out?! Well, actually, I wrote an article about that


Did you enjoy this article?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.


Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
15 days ago

Food safety is critical. Do you have authoritative USDA / Health Department sources for each for each of these recommendations? I just checked a bag of Costco carrots and it says “Perishable, keep refrigerated”

15 days ago

Store bought mayonnaise does not have to be refrigerated as they use pasteurized eggs.
They only recommend refrigeration for appearances sake. Look it up.

15 days ago
Reply to  Gary

OK, I looked it up. After opening, no more than two hours unrefrigerated. If the container says “Refrigerate after opening” that’s what I do. I’ve had food poisoning, it’s not fun.

Ron T.
15 days ago

If your chocolate is getting bloom in your refrigerator, you’re not eating it fast enough. A problem I’ve never had to deal with!

15 days ago

Sweet corn has a high rate of respiration & needs to be kept cold to prevent the sugars from converting to starch. The dimpling will occur faster if left unrefrigerated.

Bob p
15 days ago

Other than getting the egg out from under the hen, where do you buy eggs that were not refrigerated when you buy them. I have bought eggs from a farmer who opens an old refrigerator and takes out what I’m buying?

Bob p
15 days ago
Reply to  Bob p

Another half researched article.

15 days ago
Reply to  Bob p

Eggs do not need refrigeration unless you wash them. Washing removes the cuticle, a thin membrane on the egg which keeps infection of the egg inside at bay. USDA requires egg producers to wash their eggs & then refrigerate. I don’t think the article is half researched; I think if you need deeper levels of info you should follow up. FYI: washed refrigerated eggs are good for about 45 day, unwashed un-refrigerated eggs are good in your pantry for about 21 days.

RV Staff(@rvstaff)
13 days ago
Reply to  Nanci Dixon

Thank you for all of your research, Nanci. That’s very informative and interesting. Have a great day. 😀 –Diane

Scott R. Ellis
15 days ago

Pickles are unrefrigerated in the store because they are CANNED GOODS. Briney as they are, they may be safe left out, but using “Well, it wasn’t refrigerated in the grocery store” as your standard is likely to acquaint you with hospital food.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Every Saturday and Sunday morning. Serving RVers for more than 20 years.