Fruits That Last Long Without Refrigeration includes: Avocados, Banana, Blueberries, Kiwi fruit, Melon, Mangoes. The above fruits don’t need to be refrigerated (they may be refrigerated though) and can last a few days without refrigeration. there are some fruits that have longer shelf lives than others. In this article, we’ll discuss the most durable ones and how to keep them fresh for longer periods of time.
List of Non-Refrigeration Foods
After a year of van life without a fridge, I’ve become a lot better at not wasting food. I’ve even mastered new ways to keep my cooler cold the longest!
You can still eat healthy and keep grocery bills low if you follow some best practices (check out my three favorite van life meals for under twenty bucks).
So, what are some of the best non-perishable foods for van life? And what tricks have I learned for maximizing their shelf life?
1. Vegetables That Don’t Need Refrigeration
To know which vegetables don’t require refrigeration, simply walk through a grocery store and look for the ones in the non-refrigeration areas.
But, there are some veggies that can last without refrigeration even if they are refrigerated in a store.
The trick is to store them in a way that minimizes bruising or extreme temperature changes.
Onions. Eat them raw, grill or sautee them.
Tomatoes. Cherry, heirloom, on the vine or roma tomatoes can all be left at room temperature.
Carrots. While you can use baby carrots, they may dry out faster than fulls-size carrots because they’ve already been peeled and moistened.
Potatoes. Potatoes keep for ages–this includes all kinds, such as sweet potato and golden potato.
Avocados. They can bruise easily but don’t need refrigeration. Try wrapping them in a fabric or paper towel to minimize bruising.
Bell peppers. Red, yellow or green bell peppers will all keep for at least 5-7 days without refrigeration.
Broccoli and asparagus can last 2-4 days without refrigeration. I recommend wrapping them in tin foil but leaving the ends open to help prevent bruising but release moisture (so they don’t rot).
Cucumber and zucchini can also last about 2-4 days without refrigeration. I recommend the same process as broccoli and asparagus.
Root vegetables are great because they can easily last a week or more without refrigeration. These include potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, kale, beets, radishes and onions.
Canned vegetables are always available and will last just about forever. Personally, the only canned vegetables I like are beets. But if you’re looking to add some health perks to an otherwise bland meal of rice or pasta, throwing in a canned veggie is a great option.
2. Meat & Proteins That Don’t Need Refrigeration
I have found that meats are easiest to deal with if they’re pre-cooked, canned or in the form of cold cuts.
Canned chicken. It seems you get what you pay for with this product. Costco has some amazingly moist and delicious canned chicken. Sorry I said moist. But then I bought canned chicken from Smith’s grocery store and it was dry and flavorless.
Cans or packets of tuna. I always have some of the Starkist tuna packets on hand. Canned tuna is cheaper but I can’t finish a whole can in one sitting and don’t want to waste or have smelly tuna cans in my van. Tuna is a power food–low in fat and high in protein.You can buy the flavored tuna packets as well, so they already have seasoning.
Beef jerky. Not everyone is a fan of beef jerky but it’s very low in fat and carbs, and high in protein.
Tofu. Well, sort of – there are some types of tofu that you can buy unrefrigerated. But the catch is that once they’re opened, they need to be refrigerated. So you need to use it all up in one meal! Tofu is a great source of protein.
Nuts. Nuts are rich in protein and complex “healthy” fats. One of the healthiest (and least expensive) is the almond. I typically get mixed nuts though because I love cashews and walnuts. I recommend buying them raw (as opposed to roasted) because they lose a lot of their health benefits once roasted.
3. Dairy (And Dairy Alternatives) That Don’t Need Refrigeration
Some hard block cheese don’t need refrigeration. But dairy without a fridge is really tough. Here are the options:
Parmesan or sharp cheddar block cheese. These cheeses are so dehydrated they can last fine without refrigeration.
Powdered milk. Yeah, not my first choice either.
Condensed or evaporated milk. These have a thicker consistency than milk and are sweet, but can be added to dishes for cooking.
Personally, I just buy dairy products when I know I’ll use them all up right away.
4. Fruit That Doesn’t Need Refrigeration
Fruit–nature’s dessert! Thankfully there are lots of fruits that don’t need refrigeration.
Grapes (will last a few days)
Blueberries (will last 2-3 days)
Applesauce cups (no sugar added)
Fruit cups (will last but contain lots of sugar)
Dried fruit (long shelf life but contain lots of sugar)
Fruits that come with an outer skin as a protective layer naturally “package” themselves so they don’t need to be refrigerated. But keeping them cool will help increase shelf life.
5. Grains & Starches
Grains are the easiest to store in a van because none of them require refrigeration. The ones that I find the most versatile, healthy and/or tasty are:
Quinoa. Ha! Actually this is technically a seed–but it cooks like a grain and is insanely rich in protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. I like the crunch paired with the grainy texture.
Oats. Traditional (not instant) oats are rich in fiber and protein. Boil them in water for 15 minutes and add anything from fruit, peanut butter, protein powder, honey, sugar, maple syrup, or whatever your heart desires for a tasty and hearty breakfast.
Rice. I prefer jasmine or brown rice because they’re a little richer in nutrients than just white rice–but a great “blank canvas” for meats and veggies.
Pasta. Pasta gets a bad rap for just being a “carb bomb”–but anything in moderation is fine. Especially if you opt for whole wheat or veggie pasta, they add a little more nutrients.
Wraps/bread. The shelf life of these items will reduce without refrigeration, but they’ll still be fine for a week or so. I find if I buy these items from Trader Joe’s or more health-conscious grocery stores, these items go bad quicker because they aren’t loaded with preservatives. But, I’m willing to deal with that if it means not filling my body with preservatives.
10 Surprising Foods You Don’t Need to Put in the Refrigerator
Certain items taste better—and are actually healthier for you—when they’re stored at room temperature.
My refrigerator is so jam-packed for no good reason. I don’t have one of those college dorm-sized ones. I also don’t have a house full of growing children. My fridge issues all stem from one simple fact: I was raised by a family that literally kept everything from bread to nut butter at a chilling 35 degrees Fahrenheit. (Fun fact: You should set your refrigerator temperature at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler.) The first time I tried a room temperature PB&J was a magical, unforgettable moment. So, unless I really focus when I’m unpacking groceries, I typically go on autopilot, shoving 95 percent of my bounty inside my fridge, which isn’t always good news for my food. But it turns out, that’s not the best way to do it—there are plenty of foods that don’t need refrigeration.
While certain things simply taste better and maintain a better texture when they’re kept out of the cold, other foods actually maintain more of their nutrients when left out. Cold air can break down the antioxidants in certain fruits and stop the ripening process of others, for example. Then, of course, there are the items that simply just don’t need to be in there, like soy sauce.
One easy way to make your produce last longer is to keep tomatoes out of the fridge. They’re best stored in a cool, dry place at room temperature, where they’ll maintain their moisture.
To keep bananas fresh, store them at room temperature with plastic wrap around the stems. The plastic wrap will stop them from releasing ethylene gas, which speeds up the ripening process.
Citrus favorites like lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits are all great examples of food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated. These juicy fruits are best preserved in a countertop fruit basket instead. If you don’t think you’ll get around to eating your fruit for a few weeks, carve out a cool, dry, well-ventilated place, like your cupboard, for them to hang out in until you’re ready to gobble ’em up.
Unlike fully ripe avocados, which should be stored in the fridge, underripe berries (yup, the green superfood is technically a berry) should be kept at room temperature. Not sure whether an avocado is ripe yet? Avocados that are ready to be turned into guac will yield to light pressure.
Capsaicin, the compound that gives chiles their signature kick, has been shown to increase body heat, boost metabolism, and decrease appetite. Oh, and it has an addictive fiery taste that makes everything from chicken to popcorn tastier; there’s really no wrong way to eat the stuff. But there is a wrong way to store it. After opening a new bottle, most people pop it in the fridge. But according to Frank’s RedHot, an uber-popular hot sauce manufacturer, that’s almost always an unnecessary move. Check the label of your favorite brand to see if you can get away with keeping it in your cabinet.
There are two distinct camps of people in this world: those who would rather eat a chip off the floor than use butter that’s been out all night, and those who wouldn’t dream of storing their butter any other way. Since butter is a dairy product, it’s easy to see why most people think it needs to be kept cold. But that’s not actually the case: It turns out, butter can be stored safely outside the fridge in an airtight container.
While some cakes need to be stored in the fridge, frosting-free cakes and those topped with ganache or buttercream will be fine for up to three days stored in an airtight container on the counter.
If you’re worried that a whole cake will spoil before you can eat it, cut it into small slices and store them in the freezer, where they will be less apt to dry out.
In warmer climates, many people store their bread in the fridge as a means of keeping it away from hungry ants. Though it’s a decent strategy, it’s one that will leave your loaves of rye and whole wheat harder than a rock. Unless it’s a variety that’s supposed to be frozen (like Ezekiel bread), store your bread in a cool, dry place. If you tend to take a very long time to polish it off, opt for freezing your bread over refrigerating it. And make sure to let it thaw completely before eating or toasting for the most enjoyable texture and flavor.
Think about it: This leafy green herb grows just fine on a sunny window sill, so why could it possibly also thrive in an icebox? After trimming off its ends, store this flavorful plant in a glass or mason jar filled with fresh water, where it will thrive until it’s ready to be used.
Stored inside a paper bag in a cool, dark place like your pantry, potatoes should last for about three weeks. Popping taters in the fridge will cause their starch to convert to sugar, resulting in spuds with an unpleasantly sweet taste, according to the United States Potato Board.
Humans have been preserving food with snow and ice for at least 3,000 years, but the first commercial refrigerators, produced around the turn of the 20th Century, were a game-changer. Home refrigeration units made it possible for the first time in history to keep perishable foods fresh in quantity.
But every advance comes with a dark side. In the case of refrigerators, one downside is that many people store everything in the fridge, regardless of whether it needs to be.
Foods You Don’t Need To Refrigerate:
While some foods absolutely require refrigeration, many don’t, and others that should be left at room temperature. Here’s a list of foods that do better if you skip the fridge.
- Tomatoes: If you take nothing else away from this article, please heed this. Never, ever, under any circumstances, store tomatoes in the refrigerator. Tomatoes begin to lose their flavor and texture when put in the fridge, turning mealy, mushy, and flavorless. Leave them right out on the counter.
- Potatoes, sweet potatoes: Yes, potatoes are supposed to be kept in a cool, dark place, so the fridge should be ideal, right? Wrong. The refrigerator is actually too cold. Low temperatures wreak havoc on potatoes’ natural starches, affecting both their texture and flavor. Instead, store them in a paper bag.
- Apples, Pears: You can refrigerate these fruits, but you don’t need to. The cold air inside the refrigerator tends to break down their crisp texture. Leave them out on the counter. But if you prefer your fruit cold, go ahead and refrigerate.
- Peaches, plums: Stone fruits should not be refrigerated if they’re unripe as they will not ripen in the fridge. Store them out on the counter and enjoy them as soon as they’re ripe. Be sure to follow the “wash as you eat” rule.
- Oranges, lemons, limes, clementines: Store citrus fruits on the counter. Keep close tabs on them, though, as one moldy fruit will infect the others.
- Berries: Fresh berries aren’t meant to last long. Leave them out and enjoy them over a few days. Wash before eating.
- Melons: Store whole melons on the counter. The refrigerator will turn their flesh mealy. Once cut, leftovers can be stored in the fridge.
- Bananas: Refrigerating bananas will turn their peels prematurely brown and change their texture. Store them out on the counter. Peel and freeze them for smoothies and banana bread once they become overripe.
9 Fruits With Long Shelf Life Without Refrigeration
The Fruit storing process makes sure to discuss with everyone. The storing process only decides how long they are going to stay fresh without the help of refrigeration. The techniques for how to store are the game-changers in the entire process. Fruits that consist of a high moisture lock don’t need to be refrigerated. The common denominator in fruits is once it is sliced, there is no way to store that fruit in the long run.
All kinds of fruits don’t need to be stored in the same method, right! This unwanted attention in their storage process makes their natural phenomenon get disturbed. Some fruits aren’t suitable to be in the fridge after immediate harvesting. They need some time to ripen before. Let’s see the fruits that don’t need refrigeration to have a long shelf life.
Fruits that last long without refrigeration
Being a tropical fruit, it doesn’t need a cool climate. In case they are stored in the refrigerator, it gets the reverse effect by shifting into black colour quickly. It is better to buy slightly raw bananas sufficient to ripen in your kitchen at room temperature.
They start to ripen immediately after picking. They should store where sunlight and heat are absent until they get a soft texture.
3. Apples and Peaches
Apples and peaches tend to break down their texture, flavour, and flesh as mealy if they are refrigerated. Distributors try to deliver these fruits right from the firm side to avoid damage while shipping. As these are stored with paper bags or paper rolls, there is haste to ripe at the desired time.
Avocados are picked when they are hard. It doesn’t take much time to ripe, and it takes only 4 to 5 days from harvest. The taste varies from day to day until it ripens, which is delicious. They don’t taste good when they are refrigerated.
These get harvested from the tree at the raw stage because, if they are allowed to get ripe on the tree, the sweet taste gets low compared to fruit ripening stored on the countertop.
6. Watermelon and muskmelon
There is nothing beneficial about placing them in the fridge. Its cool temperature develops ‘chill injury’ bacteria to melons which grow on the fruit surface, and it is harmful to consume.
These genetics are identical to peaches. They ripen only in 2 to 3 days at normal room temperature. The skin is smooth when compared to peaches which have a puffy coating. The best way to store ripe nectarines is to leave small gaps in white storing, which hastens them more when placed in brown bags. Make sure they are disrupted.
8. Citrus fruits
Oranges, lemons, tangerines, mandarins, etc., are the best to store at room temperature to avoid preventing them from going hard, their skin gets dried, and pulps get hard as rock which makes it difficult to eat. So allow them to be at normal temperature.
These become hard, and dark color, taste, and aroma change when stored in cool temperatures. To avoid the loss of nutrients and natural properties, it is best to store them at room temperature.
As mentioned above, all climacteric fruits belong to the orchard family. They produce Ethylene gas which makes it stay fresh longer but, due to cooler temperature, stops the emission of gas. And they don’t ripen if they are stored in the refrigerator before being ripened, so place them on the kitchen counter for them to ripen. If you are interested in having your own orchard backyard in procuring the equipment, many dedicated websites do orchard supplies that enhance your ideas, and skills and make farming easy and approachable for more.