The Ultimate Canadian Grocery Savings Guide

13 Food Items That Do Not Require Refrigeration : The Grocery Game Challenge 2018 #1 Mar 5-11

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13 food items that do not need refrigeration



I have to admit before I met my wife there were food items I thought needed refrigeration but really, they didn’t. Growing up you may have learned about food storage in home-economics class, reading books/magazines, cooking shows or your parents shared their knowledge with you.

If you grew up on a farm you probably know more than your friends do and sometimes I’m envious of the farm friends I have because they know so much about the earth and how foods grow. I do have a green thumb but need to find time to get back at it.

In the meantime I’m foraging when I can and will continue to do so all thanks to my father-in-law who taught me where to look for mushrooms, asparagus, herbs and berries in Ontario. There are so many foods you can forage but even then you must know how to store food items or risk wasting them or losing valuable nutrients and flavours.

Coming from a gardening family Mrs. CBB had a dad who knew exactly how to store food items that he grew in his garden and on his fruit trees. He was a master gardener that always read books and continued to educate himself right up until he recently passed away. He was a nut for all things nature and I learned so much from him over the 12 years that I got to know him. He was like my second dad.

Although we may not see the bounty of his large garden again I did take away some tips about food items that don’t do so well in refrigerated conditions. One of my favourite memories was the half tomato I put in a bag to store in the refrigerator. Oh, did I hear about that.

Come on now just eat it. You don’t put tomatoes in the refrigerator.

His theory was you could always find a little more space in your stomach or make a tomato salad and leave it at room temp until your next meal. He lived for tomatoes that guy and the refrigeration of tomatoes would send steam out his ears. I’m sure he had a basket stash next to his bed.

Today I chose to write about the foods my father-in-law would garden along with other food items where refrigeration is unnecessary. I know I’m only skimming the surface but I kept the list to common, everyday food items that consumers might put in their shopping cart.




Onions do not need refrigeration especially cooking onions or red and white onions. Even shallots can be left out for use in the pantry where it dry and dark.

Onions are always kept in a basket outside of the refrigerator on our basement landing where they will not rot or mould unless left for long periods of time. You might notice that onions begin to sprout if not used and from there they will break down and mush.

Once we cut an onion we store it in a sandwich bag on the counter which typically gets used up pretty quickly when you’re cooking homemade meals.

How to store spring onions?

Spring onions on the other hand are a bit different where you can store them in the refrigerator for long-term use.

Looking to have those onions last a while? Then it’s best to keep spring onions in the refrigerator. They contain more moisture than mature onions, so keeping them out at room temperature for longer than a couple of days could cause them to mold. Keep them in the crisper drawer, sealed well in a plastic bag, and they’ll stay fresh for about two weeks.




How to store garlic?

My father-in-law was a garlic expert and with over 1000 bulbs of organic garlic coming from his garden each season I’ve learned that you NEVER refrigerate garlic. Some people say that once the garlic breaks open that you must use the cloves quickly but that’s not always the case.

I find the organic garlic to last us right through the winter hung in our garage in bunches. Ideally a not so cold garage or even in the basement would do. If we break the cloves we keep them in a basket and use them as we go along.

The easiest way to store garlic at home is in mesh bags or loosely woven baskets. Garlic with flexible tops can be made into pretty braids to hang. But garlic with a stiff central stalk—often called hardneck garlic—will shatter if you try to braid it. Garlic keeps longest when stored at 60 to 65 degrees and in moderate humidity. – Rodale Organic Life

Another idea is to peel the cloves then put them into a jar filled with extra virgin olive oil. Not only do you preserve your garlic but you get garlic flavoured oil too!




We store our potatoes in our basement and in the bag they came in. If we buy potatoes in a plastic bag we remove the bag and put them into a paper bag or cardboard box. I remember my father-in-law had baskets full in his garage after picking season and that’s where they stayed.

Potatoes keep best when placed in a well-ventilated container and stored in a dry location, away from sunlight, and at temperatures between 45 and 55 degrees F. That isn’t too easy to find in most homes today but if you place them in a paper bag, cardboard box, or bowl (not in a plastic bag) and keep them in the coolest part of the kitchen or a dry part of your basement, it should help their longevity.

Related: How to grow potatoes in a pot




Should you refrigerate nuts?

There’s no need to refrigerate or freeze nuts as they will do fine in a cool, dry storage area but many people do freeze them when they buy in bulk. When you freeze nuts or keep them in the refrigerator they tend to take on the flavours or odours that might linger.

For short-term storage, up to three months, storing in the pantry is fine and is the most commonly used form of storing. For storage up to six months, store in the refrigerator and keep away from onions and other strong-smelling foods as the nuts will pick up their smells. For longer term storage, the freezer will keep your nuts fresh up to a year. As the water content is low, freezing won’t affect the taste. Just make sure that you don’t forget to add the label. – Tropical Foods


Tomatoes and Fruits


Just don’t do it even if they say you can because in no time your tomatoes will turn to mush and lose taste. I’m a huge tomato lover especially since we used to grow them ourselves but my father-in-law was passionate about them. You’d never, ever find tomatoes in the refrigerator at their house.

My mother-in-law keeps tomatoes in a basket next to the cooker along with other fruits grown on their trees such as peaches and plums that also don’t need to be refrigerated. You also don’t need to store bananas, apples, berries, oranges, mango, papaya, persimmons or mandarins in the refrigerator either.

Tomatoes are meant to be eaten as soon as they are cut. Don’t save half if you can eat it all. If you must, well read what Taste of Home has to say below.

Skip the fridge if tomatoes aren’t ripe. Store them at cool room temperature.

Should You Store Tomatoes in the Refrigerator?

  • Not unless they’re fully ripe. Chilling stops ripening in its tracks, so unless your tomatoes are at their absolute peak of ripeness, you’ll never get a ripe tomato.
  • But if you have perfectly ripe tomatoes that you just don’t have time to use at that moment, you can store them in the fridge.
  • How long do tomatoes last in the fridge? Ripe tomatoes can go a day or two in there without ill effects.
  • Always eat tomatoes at room temperature for optimum flavor and texture. Just let them warm up to room temperature before slicing and putting on a salad or sandwich.
  • What happens if they’re in the fridge too long? Chilled tomatoes will start to dehydrate, so kiss that juicy tomato slice goodbye. Also, the flesh of the tomato will get mealy or mushy.




If you want your bread to mould and dry faster store it in the refrigerator. There is no need to ever put bread in the refrigerator where moisture and humidity levels vary. We also freeze loaves of bread and thaw on the counter for use during the week.

How to store bread?

Bread actually goes stale faster in the refrigerator than it does at room temperature. The best way to keep bread at its best is to keep it at room temperature for a day or two, then wrap it up and freeze it for longer-term storage. Wiki


Vinegar/Hot Sauces/Mustard/Ketchup/Soy Sauce


Most things that are vinegar based are perfectly fine outside of the refrigerator as vinegar is a natural fighter of all things bacteria related. Keep your vinegar and bottles of hot sauce in the cupboard and save space in your fridge.

When you use vinegar to pickle, the high acidity of the vinegar prevents most bacteria from thriving, thus preserving the food as long as it is submerged in the vinegar solution.- Source

Dijon, Horseradish, and Sooo Creamy & Light mustards will lose their distinct flavors if not refrigerated, so we encourage refrigerating both. For all other mustards, refrigeration will help maintain flavor; however, it is not necessary to refrigerate if you prefer to consume your mustard at room temperature. There are no ingredients in mustard that spoil. “Refrigerate After Opening” is not required for food safety–we only recommended you do so to maintain optimal product flavor. – French’s Mustard




13 food items that do not need refrigerationI’m sure if you love avocados you know how expensive they can be which is why I look on the reduced rack first although there are some good sales once in a while.

Either way storing your avocados are best on the counter where they will ripen fairly quickly so only buy the amount you will eat with-in a week.

If by some miracle we only eat half an avocado we either rub some lemon juice on top then cling-wrap it before refrigerating or a trick I learned was to save the skin of the half you ate and place it over.

The best way to store and keep avocados

Over at The Spruce they offer tonnes of information for avocado lovers including freezing and pickling avocados.

Most importantly, do not refrigerate your avocados, at least not initially. Once picked from the tree, avocados, much like bananas, produce ethylene, which triggers the ripening process.

The optimal temperature for this is 68°F/20°C. Fresh-picked avocados should ripen under these conditions within three to six days. When ripe, the avocado should yield gently to pressure, but not be squishy.

If you want to accelerate the ripening process, place the avocados in a paper bag. This concentrates the ethylene gas. If you add other fruits, such as bananas and apples, they will all ripen more quickly together.

Once an avocado is ripe, you can hold it in that state longer by placing it in the refrigerator. While this will not halt the ripening process altogether, it will retard it greatly.




Just don’t do it! Honey is meant to be silky and slide out in streams however you choose to serve it but when you refrigerate it the flavour and texture changes. If you find that your honey crystallizes in the cupboard after you open the container simply sit in a bowl of hot water to melt it back to honey consistency.

If bacteria cannot grow in honey, then it cannot spoil. This basically gives it an indefinite shelf life. Liquid honey however should be stored in your cupboard at room temperature as if it is kept in the refrigerator; the cooler temperature will promote and speed up the crystallization of liquid honey. Bee Maid Honey

Related: How to harvest honey with photos


Peanut Butter/Spreads


If you are one of those people who like to keep your peanut butter, chocolate spreads or other spreads in the refrigerator you know there is a vast flavour and texture difference between eating it cold and at room temp.

We never keep any type of nut or chocolate spread in the refrigerator because similar to cold, hard butter you have to wait until it’s spreadable to use. It not only takes time for room temp usage but the flavours are far better when not chilled. Besides, spreads don’t last long in our house.

How long will peanut butter last?

Peanut butter’s shelf life may depend on the way you store it. An open jar of peanut butter stays fresh up to three months in the pantry. After that, it’s recommended to store the peanut butter in the fridge (where it can maintain its quality for another 3-4 months). If you don’t refrigerate, oil separation can occur.

Food Average Shelf Life in Pantry according to the National Peanut Board

Peanut Butter, unopened 6-9 months Refrigeration not needed
Peanut Butter, opened 2-3 months Lasts 6 -9 months in refrigerator
Peanuts: Bagged, in the shell or out 1-2 months Lasts 4-6 months in refrigerator
Peanuts: in cans or jars, unopened 2 years
Peanut Flour, unopened 1 year
Peanut Flour, opened 2-3 months Lasts up to 9 months in refrigerator
Peanut Oil, roasted, aromatic, unopened 9 months
Peanut Oil, roasted, aromatic, opened 2 months Lasts 4-6 months in refrigerator
Peanut Oil, refined, unopened 1 year
Peanut Oil, refined, opened 4-6 months




Coffee should be kept in an air-tight container in a cool place and no-where near the refrigerator. You know that smell of coffee that blasts up your nostrils when you first grind it? Well, if you want to enjoy that smell and taste of roasted coffee your best bet is to brew it up fast. Keep only what you need on hand.

Proper Coffee Storage

The fridge is not the place to store coffee in any form, ground or whole bean even if in an airtight container. It isn’t cold enough to keep your coffee fresh, and because coffee works as a deodorizer, it will absorb all the aromas in your fridge. This will definitely have a negative impact on the final taste of your cup of coffee.




We grow lots of herbs in the summer especially Italian basil because fresh herbs really turn a dish into something special and herbs are great for garnish. One thing you don’t need to do is refrigerate your herbs. Simply keep them in bunches in a jar on your counter with a bit of water at the bottom and tear off as needed.




There really is no need to put oil in the refrigerator as it will do perfectly fine on the counter in a bottle. On our counter you will find avocado oil and extra-virgin olive oil that we use just about every day. The only oils we do refrigerate are nut based oils such as sesame oil, walnut oil, sunflower oil because of the low fat content in them.


If you don’t want to refrigerate your olive oil, keep it in a dark, cool cupboard away from the stove or other heat-producing appliances. Olive oil connoisseurs recommend storing premium extra-virgin olive oils at room temperature. If refrigerated, condensation could develop and adversely affect their flavor. Refrigeration does not affect the quality or flavor of other olive oils.

Olive oil will keep well if stored in a sealed container in a cool, dark cupboard for about one year. If unopened, the oil may keep for as long as two years.- Ultimate Guide to Olive Oil


Don’t waste money


Your grocery budget is critical to your monthly budget which means you only spend what you can afford and I’m sure wasting food is not something you bargain for. Whether you choose refrigeration for any of the above food items above is up to you but remember you’re paying for the food to get the best quality so store it properly for optimal taste.

Discussion: What other foods do you notice people refrigerate but they really don’t need to? Share your comments below.


March Grocery Game Challenge


Join the 2018 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) but before you do you must read The Grocery Game Challenge Rules and Print the 2018 Schedule which includes new prizes!


Free Money Saving Tools 2018


Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!

This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE. We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.

2014 Free Money Saving ToolsDon’t pay someone for these services, I’ve done the work for you along with some help from other amazing bloggers.

You can download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel It’s FREE! We use it to budget and in large part a reason we could pay our mortgage off in 5 years, check it out!

Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists created to get us on track working towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.

Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.

CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.


Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2018


the ultimate grocery shopping guide cbbEverything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is packed into this amazing FREE grocery shopping guide that has taken 6 years to create.

The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing with new informative money-saving posts added every month.

Even if you don’t live in Canada there are some amazing budget saving tips that will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.

Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder especially if they are struggling with their grocery budget.

The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the  many money-saving posts in the The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.


2018 Grocery Shop Results


Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2018: $3600 or $300/month (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.

Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings or that you would like to track on your own)

  • Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $300
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $300
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
  • PC Optimum Points to Spend: 2,800,000
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0

Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

  • Zweet -$0.
  • Checkout51- $1.50


Our Grocery Shop This Week



  • 2 x NN garlic baby dills sale $2.49 each $4.98
  • 2 x Pepsi Zero Sale $3.99-$2.00 coupons $1.99 each 12 pack
  • Cheerios Jumbo $4.99
  • NN Sour Cream $2.49
  • 18 Large Eggs $4.79
  • Liberte Fraise Cheese $5.49-50% $2.75
  • Liberte Greek Yogurt $5.39-50% $2.70
  • 2 x Kraft Singles 24 packs $1.00 each-50% =$1.00
  • 2 x Kraft Swiss Slices $2.00each -50% $2.00
  • Mini pizzas for jr $3.99
  • 2 x Krisda sugar-free chocolate chips sale $8.49 each lol $16.98
  • PC Mushrooms $1.99
  • PC Spinach $1.99
  • Grape Tomatoes 1lb $5.99
  • Bananas $1.14
  • Lemon $1.29 holy crap
  • Green onions $0.99
  • Fennel Sale $2.49
  • Cucumber $1.29
  • Romaine Lettuce $2.79
  • Manns Sugar Snap Peas 1lb $5.99-50% =$3.00
  • 2lbs strawberries $5.99-50% $3
  • Lean ground veal $5.04 x 3-50% =$7.55
  • Veal stewing beef $9.09-50% =$4.55
  • Strip-loin Steaks $15.03-50% =$7.52
  • 2 x D’Italiano Bread 2/$5-50%= $2.50
  • 2 x Jalepeno Laughing Cow Pkgs $4.49 each -50%=$4.49
  • Saputo mini bocconcini $11.99-50% =$6.00
  • 2 x Mild Gouda Frico $9.79 each-50% =$9.79

 PC Optimum points earned 6400

Total Out-of-Pocket $119.03

Note: All totals below already have tax factored into them.

  • Total to spend this month : $300
  • Stockpile budget 2018 : $25.00/month
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $0
  • Christmas Reserve Fund : $35/month  Jan,Feb $105 Saved
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $0
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $64.90 (not too bad for 2 months)
  • Total spent this week: $119.03
  • Total spent so far this month: $119.03
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: over
  • Total left to spend for the month: $181.00
  • Total Spent To Date 2018: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $323.04+Feb $169.42+March $ + April $+ May $ + June $+July $+August $+September $+ October $+ November $ + December $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

We picked up a few hundred (haha) bits this week to stock up since we’ve been away and found some great deals. We didn’t meal plan this week as it’s been to hectic so we’re just going with the flow.

After Sunday dinner at my sister-in-laws we came home with a tonne of cooked food. They are going away on holiday for March break and didn’t want it sitting around so we got it. This week there will be lots of ham! Now I need some recipes to create with ham.


2018 Coupons and Coupon Apps


Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons! These are your latest Checkout 51 offers which you can use to help save money.

Related: Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?

If you notice I’m missing a valuable link please message me and I’ll add it below.

Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!!

Where can I find Canadian Coupons 2018?

Plus check out these other hidden areas online to get more coupons!!

If any of the links below don’t open properly please report them to my email address or use comment form.


Grocery Game Challenge 2018 FAQ’s


  • Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible. The rules have been updated to reflect changes for the 2018 challenge year.
  • Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
  • What is prize payout?- I’ve changed the prize to yearly so I’ll be tracking everyone’s shop and draw accordingly for larger prize payouts.
  • When does the Grocery Game close each month? Ideally you would want to have all your shops in by the end of the month for review in order to make improvements for the next.
  • Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014-2018 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly our budget.
  • Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
  • Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
  • Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
  • What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
  • What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon. Some of these coupons have an expiry date and others no expiry date so be sure to check.
  • What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
  • How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?:  If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
  • How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.

If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2018 get ready to look at your grocery budget by learning;

  • Where you are spending money
  • How much money you are spending
  • How much money you are saving every month

If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide!  You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!

Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2018!


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