To refrigerate or not to refrigerate, that is the question. At least, it's the question if you're talking about eggs. Here in the States we refrigerate our eggs. This isn't because we're overzealous and freaked out about disease for no reason -- there's science behind our madness!
Because in America, our hens aren't immunized against salmonella like the hens in Europe. Additionally, we refrigerate our eggs because our intense egg-cleaning process strips the egg of its naturally protective cuticle. If you live in Europe, by all means, keep your eggs in the cupboard. But if you live stateside, it's not a risk you should take based on how the eggs are prepared.
More from The Stir: 5 Crazy Things You Didn't Know About Eggs
But eggs aren't the only thing we fret about when it comes to proper food storage. For every person who thinks they've finally got it down, there's another study out there that says everything they're doing is wrong. So what IS the right way to store these foods? While my research hasn't been exhausted (because of boredom), I think I can help you out with a few.
In the cupboard or the fridge, which is best? I know some folks in humid climates keep their bread in the fridge to prevent mold. But sadly, chilling your bread this way will make it stale almost immediately. You're better off leaving it on the counter, but if the mold makes you nervous, the freezer is a better option when it comes to preserving freshness.
2.) Soy Sauce
The bottle insists that you refrigerate after opening. But a little digging and you'll learn that's not because the soy sauce is going to poison you if left out -- that's just a flavor-preserving tactic! Keep it in the cupboard and away from the stove and you'll be just fine.
I thought for sure that when it came to refrigerating ketchup, I'd get a resounding "yes," and that's true if you don't use it very often. BUT the acid level in ketchup is high enough that it can chill out just fine for up to a month in your cupboard before it starts to change colors and other gnarly stuff. So if it's a staple of your diet, leave it out!
4.) Maple Syrup
Refrigerate, refrigerate, refrigerate. This sucker is eager to grow mold and will do so if you even look at it twice, so keep it chilled, baby. This is for the pure stuff, mind. For artificial syrup there's a bit more wiggle room since it's riddled with preservatives.
5.) Parmesan Cheese
I'm speaking here of the canned, grated stuff, not the fresh cheese. Kraft advises that you keep it in the fridge and, having once not done this and then eaten some rank-ass pasta-ruining Parmesan as a result, I agree 100 percent.
What stuff are you firm about keeping in the fridge regardless of the rules?
Image via George M. Groutas/Flickr; Jeanne Sager