Food Items You Should and Shouldn’t Refrigerate


We all too often simply put all food items into the refrigerator because we tend to believe that all foods need to be kept chilled in order to stay fresh and not spoil. While many prepared items should be refrigerated, there are certain items, produce and products that should not be refrigerated. In this article we will let you know what items should be refrigerated and which ones should be kept at room temperature.

Items That Should Not Be Refrigerated



Sure, if you slice a tomato and only use half of it, you should put the other half in the refrigerator to extend its life an extra day or so. However, for whole fresh tomatoes, the refrigerator is a death sentence. When in the refrigerator, tomatoes tend to get soft in certain spots, and the meat inside begins to break itself down. Also, you will notice a duller flavor from refrigerated tomatoes, so store tomatoes outside of a bag at room temperature in a bowl or in a pantry.



Onions are not favorable of the refrigerator. Not only does the cold dull the bite the have, but onions will not last as long in the refrigerator as they will stored at room temperature. Store onions in a mesh bag or a container that allows them to “breathe.” Another point that is important to note: do not store onions near potatoes. Potatoes emit gasses from them that when absorbed by onions, causes them to begin to rot. If you find soft mushy spots forming quickly in your onions, you can bet that the potatoes are to blame.


Coffee Grounds

Coffee Beans and coffee grounds are very temperamental when it comes to keeping their flavor “in-tune.” The biggest factor in the change in flavor when refrigerated is the moisture that is in refrigerators and freezers. This moisture attacks the beans and grounds, and leaves the flavor altered in different ways — depending on the original flavor.


Any Type of Squash

Squash in its various forms (butternut, spaghetti, acorn, etc.) are naturally very durable with their skin. While refrigerating most varieties will not adversely affect or change the flavor of the squash, it is unnecessary.


Bread Items

The reasons you don’t want to refrigerate bread items such as loaf breads, bagels or tortillas is two-fold. First, the refrigerator will dry out the breads at an exponential rate. Second, there is still moisture circling in the refrigerator, which can lead to mold on the breads at a faster rate. Instead, store bread items at room temperature in a sealed bag.

Items That Should Be Refrigerated


Dairy Items

This is almost a no-brainer, but should be included as a reminder. One of the most misunderstood dairy items is butter; many believe it is safe to keep butter at room temperature, while many others disagree. Well, both parties are correct to a certain degree. Butter can be left in a covered butter dish at room temperature for 5-7 days, after-which it starts to go bad. You usually will not see the type of spoilage that occurs with milk or yogurt, because butter is mostly fat. However, bacteria will start to form after about a week at room temperature, and some of those bacteria cultures may make you sick.


Assorted Nuts

This one might be surprising to some, as nuts such as almonds, peanuts, walnuts and other varieties seem like they would be a “dry good” that doesn’t need to be refrigerated. However, you must remember that nuts are a form of produce just like carrots, lettuce and other fruits and vegetables. Make sure to keep them refrigerated to avoid spoilage and bacterial growth.


Maple Syrup

Probably the biggest reason why we forget to refrigerate maple syrup is that we constantly see bottles of maple syrup on the breakfast table, or near the condiments of our favorite breakfast diners. Maple syrup, however, can spoil if not refrigerated. Many will be surprised to know that maple syrup has an incredible short shelf life — as little as a month for real syrup without any preservative. When refrigerated, maple syrup’s shelf life can be extended for up to a year. Maple syrup is prone to developing mold, especially in the nozzles of bottles, so check you maple syrup often.


Dried Fruit

Another item that may take many by surprise, dried fruit seems like it would be fine sitting in the pantry at room temperature, but the truth is that people began drying fruit as a way to extend the shelf life of fruits. It is only an extension, and does not make the fruit non-perishable, but extends the shelf life to about 6 months — if refrigerated.

We have barely scratched the surface of what items should and shouldn’t be refrigerated, but these few examples should serve as a reminder that refrigeration is not a miracle worker that makes food items non-perishable. Refrigeration simply extends the shelf life of some items, and other items it can decrease the shelf life.

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The Best Tomatoes For Cooking Sauces


Every gardener knows that nothing beats the taste of biting into a freshly grown tomato from your garden. Selecting tomatoes for sandwiches and salads, however, is different than those used for cooking. Tomatoes for sauces generally are meatier and denser than those eaten fresh.

When selecting the best tomatoes for cooking sauces, the experts at the Italian Home Cooking Blog suggest planting the following varieties.

Super Italian Paste

This Italian heirloom is reddish-orange in color and has piquant and firm flesh along with a lot of flavor. Plants produce lots of elongated six-inch long fruit that hold well after ripening.

Amish Paste

Originating in the Pennsylvania Amish country, this tomato is also good for eating fresh. It is a large, meaty, bright red tomato that many cooks believe is the ultimate paste tomato.


One of the most popular varieties, Roma tomatoes have few seeds in a very meaty interior. It has high levels of sugar, acids and pectin. Roma packs an incredible taste that intensifies when it cooks.

Viva Italia

These vigorous plants yield 3 oz. fruits that are ideal for soups and homemade ketchup.

San Marzano

This heirloom tomato features long, blocky fruit that matures in 80 days. They contain a small seed cavity that can be easily scooped out, leaving behind savory meat that is ideal for making sauces and for canning.

Big Mama

Plum-shaped and extremely meaty, Big Mama is an enormous tomato that grows as large as five inches long and three inches wide. This variety is easy to peel and core and is geared toward thick, homemade sauces.

Little Mama

Little Mama produces huge clusters of small Roma-like fruit on vigorous vines. The firm, rich flesh cooks into a dense sauce, while the raspberry-red skin is thin and perfect, guaranteeing that every dish looks as good as it tastes.

Tangerine Mama

With a gorgeous orange color that stays that way even during cooking, Tangerine Mama has fruit with rich, tangy flavor that adds zest to any sauce.


If you do not growing your own tomatoes, always choose ones at the store that are firm and not overripe for the best results.

For more advice and delicious cooking tips, visit us often at the Italian Home Kitchen Blog.

Foods That Promote Liver Health


It is not something that people think much about, but the liver is one of the key players in the body’s digestive system. The food and drink that we take, including medicine, passes through the liver. Therefore, we need to treat it right so it can do its job and stay healthy. Part of treating the liver right is by eating foods that promote liver health. Here at Italian Home Kitchen Blog, we love to write, read, eat, and to read about eating. We also love to write about foods that are good for the body.

Everyone needs a liver to live. In fact, it is the body’s largest gland and it had a number of functions, including:
• Destroying old red blood cells
• Detoxifying the blood by ridding it of harmful chemicals
• It produces bile, which is needed to digest fast
• It stores iron and vitamins
• It breaks down insulin, hemoglobin, and other substances
• It stores sugar as glucose, which is needed for a quick energy boost

Every day, the liver works extremely hard to protect the body from adverse effects from disease, toxins, and pollution, and it is easy for it to become overworked, which can compromise one’s health significantly. Fortunately, there are foods that promote liver health. Some of the best foods to detox the liver include:

• Carrots and Beets: High in Glutathione, plant–flavonoids, and beta–carotene
• Tomatoes: Rich in Glutathione protein that helps detoxify the liver
• Spinach: Super rich in Glutathione when raw
• Grapefruit: High in Glutathione, vitamin C and antioxidants
• Citrus fruit: High in vitamin C, which helps stimulate the liver
• Walnuts: Good source of Glutathione, omega–3, and amino acid arginine, which is also good for the liver
• Turmeric: The liver’s favorite spice and helps improve detoxification
• Cabbage: Contains isothiocyanates, which provide detoxifying enzymes
• Avocados: Helps the body to ptoduce Glutathione
• Garlic: High in sulfur that activates liver enzymes that get rid of toxins
• Brussels sprouts: High in antioxidant glucosinolate and sulfur
• Apples: High in chemicals that cleanse the digestive system
• Dandelion: Assists the liver to break down fats
• Leafy green vegetables: High in plant chlorophyll’s that increase bile production, absorb chemicals, neutralize chemicals, pesticides, and heavy metals, and lowers the burden on the liver
• Cruciferous vegetables: Increase production of glucosinolate that helps flush out toxins
• Alternative grains: Increase the load on the liver’s detoxification function
• Asparagus: Helps in the cleansing process
• Green tea: rich in plant antioxidants known to assist liver function
• Olive oil: Suck up harmful toxins in the body

If the liver is prevented from producing even one of the many enzymes the body requires, there will be impairment in overall body function, which will result in greater metabolic stress. It is, therefore important to eat foods that promote liver health. Follow us for the most delicious articles on the web.

Types of Tomatoes and Tips for Cooking with Them


The process of cooking tomatoes becomes easier when you know the different types available on the market. They usually vary in size, design and taste but serve a common purpose of adding more nutrients and improved taste to your meals. Learning the different types of tomatoes also makes it easier for you to choose the right one for that particular meal you want to prepare.

Types of tomatoes


They are usually big, juicy and can weigh up to one pound. These tomatoes are well-known for their thick flesh and mild flavor that make them suitable for raw consumption. They also contain high water content, and that is why they are mostly used in sandwiches and salads.


Alternatively known as plum tomatoes, Romas are mostly used for sauce. This species is relatively drier than the others. Most tomatoes under this species are usually thin-skinned and tangy.


Minis are sweeter and have thinner skins. They can be consumed either raw or cooked because of their sweetness. They can also be packed and consumed as mid-afternoon snacks, cooked with herbs, or included in a salad.

Heirlooms and Hothouse

These two types of tomatoes come with a wide variety of colors, sizes and flavors.  Hothouse tomatoes are available throu

ghout the year and most of them come with a mild flavor. Heirlooms are usually bred with open-air pollination techniques and they do not contain genetically modified organisms.

Tips for Cooking with Tomatoes


Some people love peeling tomatoes before cooking with them. This is done especially when long-cooked dishes are involved. For successful peeling, make a shallow X at the bottom of the tomato, and then slice out the top core, and boil the fruit for approximately 10 seconds. This process loosens the skin of the tomato therefore making it easier to peel it off.

When seeding a tomato, slice it into two equal halves, and then squeeze the seeds out of the fruit. The juice and seeds should be squeezed into a strainer that has been placed on top of a bowl. If you want to make sundried tomatoes, you can use the oven for best results. This technique works better when smaller tomatoes are used. These fruits can be boiled, fried, grilled or roasted depending on the main meal that is being prepared.

There are hundreds or probably thousands of tips for cooking tomatoes. The most important thing is to consider the kind of meal you want to prepare. This makes it easier for you to choose tomatoes that come with the right size, color and flavor.