Stop Putting Produce in the Fridge!

During lockdown my boyfriend and I decided we would cohabitate and support one another after a paltry year dating. We negotiated who would manage dishes and laundry, how we would spend time together and apart. Everything has been steady and going well until this week when he did the unthinkable; he placed a fresh, first of the season nectarine in the refrigerator. After much debate that followed, I realized that many of you poor souls out there are committing the ultimate disaster of placing your fresh Farmer’s Market produce into a vessel that has the potential to do irreparable damage! Alas, a list of summer fruits and vegetables that should not go into the refrigerator:



They are almost here. I’m guessing next week we will see local tomatoes hit the market. Place your tomatoes on the counter, in sunlight if you have it, so that these beauties can ripen to absolute perfection. Refrigerated tomatoes have mealy flesh and unpleasant texture. Period.




Honestly, it can go in there, but let me give you something to think about. I’m going to say, without doing any research on the topic at all, that cold food tastes different than room temperature food. The best way I know how to illustrate this is ice cream. Taste ice cream when it is super cold. Now, taste the same ice cream after it is melted. You will get a full range of its full sweetness and complexity when melted. There is science behind this, but I’m just telling you to trust me. Want your corn to taste sweet? Don’t make it cold.



Garlic, Onions, and Shallots (but do keep scallions and spring onions in the icebox)

These bulbs benefit from being kept in a cool, dry, dark place. And make sure to avoid wrapping them in plastic bags. Your shallots, onions, and garlic want to breathe! If you are buying the pre-peeled, pre-chopped garlic, please email me so that we can set up an appointment.


Berries (if purchased from the Farmer’s Market)

I know, I know, they will ripen quickly and mold quickly. Who cares? The texture and the taste are vastly improved at room temperature. Berries do not ripen at all after they have been picked, so purchase the ripest you can find, enjoy them quickly and do not rinse or clean until right before you plan to eat. If you don’t think you can get to them in time, better to put them in an airtight bag and put them in the freezer than to put them in the fridge – where damp conditions will lend to even damper berries.



Stone Fruit (plums, peaches, cherries, nectarines)

Cold, mealy fruit? Gross. Juice-dripping-down-your-chin bite without muted flavor? Exactly. Leave them out on the counter.




Once you pick a pineapple, it doesn’t get any riper, so you should try to buy a perfectly ripe pineapple with the intention of eating it sooner rather than later. That also means that you should just leave it at room temperature—keeping it in the fridge isn’t going to have an effect on its ripeness.



Like corn, you can put melons in the refrigerator if you enjoy cold melon. But I find on the counter, with flesh that is as soft as possible, the sweet is just that much sweeter. Changing the temperature of the melon will tense up the interior, possibly making it a tad less succulent.



  • The latest from Nicole
Head Janitor, Chef, and Proprietor | Stomping Ground
Nicole’s cooking style is rooted in, but not limited to, her love of southern biscuits and her diverse culinary upbringing. A military brat, she spent her childhood in the Chicago suburbs enjoying her great-grandmother Mae’s Lithuanian cooking. As a tween, she moved to Paulding County, Ga. where she begrudgingly fell in love with the charmingly perplex small towns of the Deep South. She fondly remembers grubbing on Martin’s biscuits, late-night Waffle House debauchery and cooking with her family. After graduating from the University of Georgia, Nicole started a marketing career at an art nonprofit in Atlanta. At 25 years old, she became the youngest executive at the local Atlanta NPR affiliate. Chasing her dreams, she moved to Alexandria, Va. where she took a short post in the Whole Foods marketing department. Realizing that cooking had been her true love all along, she began night courses at L’Academie de Cuisine. She completed her apprenticeship at Blue Duck Tavern where she was promoted to a line cook after graduation. From there, Nicole worked as a private chef for busy Washington D.C. executives and their families. As grown-ups tend to do, Nicole realized something about her childhood — the best parts were enjoying small town communities, cooking with her great-grandmother and sharing meals with family and friends. She opened Stomping Ground to build a safe and welcoming community around yummy, handmade food from local sources. As her first foray running her own kitchen, she has shamelessly hired better, smarter cooks to fill her kitchen and your bellies. Her great-grandmother’s recipes often appear on the Stomping Ground menu without advertisement and, no, she won’t tell you the secret ingredients. Nicole lives in Del Ray and won’t shut up about how much she loves living there.

If you wander down Del Ray’s, “The Avenue,” you won’t miss the farm-red building with a rustic fence bordering the patio. Stomping Ground opened two years ago and quickly became popular for its made-from-scratch biscuits and its neighborhood vibe. On weekends, excited guests line up before Stomping Ground opens hoping to be the first to get a just-out-of-the-oven biscuit or a fresh salad. Stomping Ground is mostly known for its fast casual breakfast and lunch but on Thursdays and Fridays they provide a full dinner service after 5:00pm. All meals are built from local, seasonal food that is organic whenever possible.

2309 Mt Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301


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