Pantry vs fridge, where should you store your groceries?

jars in a pantry

Who knew tomato sauce was so divisive?

Do you store it in the fridge or pantry? Pantry all the way for me, but apparently that exposes me to germs, mould and a possible, painful early death, according to the in-the-fridge diehards.

As someone who makes their own tomato sauce, I know the amount of sugar, salt and vinegar I tip in will mean only the fittest germs survive, and I have to admire that and honour that by firmly leaving it in the pantry.

However, and it’s a big one, Heinz has weighed in firmly on the fridge side.

In a statement on its website, Heinz states: “Because of its natural acidity, Heinz ketchup is shelf-stable. However, its stability after opening can be affected by storage conditions. We recommend that this product, like any processed food, be refrigerated after opening. Refrigeration will maintain the best product quality after opening,”

The sceptic in me says this is to avoid possible litigation from food poisoning cases, but apparently Heinz has also lowered the salt content, which in turn decreases its preserved life.

But what about your other groceries? Check our quick guide.

Vegemite: pantry. The amount of salt and small amount of water in Vegemite means it may very well outlast religion. Just make sure you don’t leave butter tracings in the jar – the detritus of poor spreading technique – because that will go off if it’s in sufficient quantities.

Other sauces: pantry. With mustard, barbecue sauce, soy, let the packaging be your guide, but generally, the high salt and/or vinegar content of most sauces means they can be kept in the pantry.

Jam and peanut butter: jam in the fridge if it’s been opened – especially if it’s homemade – peanut butter in the pantry at all times. Jam will grow mould and yeast, and if your jam is looking a tad furry, don’t be tempted to be like everyone’s nanna and scrape it off and crack on. Quite often the mould will send spores you can’t see down into the jar.

Potatoes: pantry. In a dark part of the pantry in either a paper or cloth bag or basket, something that lets in a bit of air.

Onions: as above for potatoes.

Butter: on the bench in southern states, in the fridge for warmer states. I live in Victoria and my Queenlander sister constantly puts it into the fridge when she visits. Then I spend too much time softening it in the microwave to make it spreadable. Infuriating.

Eggs: fridge. I went to the source and Australian Eggs says the fridge and that’s good enough for me.

Aussie flavour for Aldi

Australian Aldi chief executive Tom Daunt has been appointed to global joint managing director of the German supermarket.

Mr Daunt grew up in Ballarat, worked for Schweppes Australia, and got his start in retail working in London.

He was appointed to the top role in Australia in 2000, turning the brand from a retail curiosity to an Australian favourite.

Mr Daunt has committed to three years in the Salzburg-based role, and is expected to eventually return to Australia.

This week’s best deals


Sensible: Golden Crumpets, half price, $2. The weather is turning cold, so expect more crumpet and English muffins specials. This appears to be the first shot off the bow. I don’t have any strong opinions on what should go on crumpets apart from the fact that whatever it is, there must always also be enough butter to leak through the bottom.

Indulgence: Darrell Lea Share Pack, varieties, better than half price $2.45. I for one am glad the Darrell Lea brand got its act together when it went into administration in 2012 because we wouldn’t have their delicious chocolate bullets otherwise.

See the catalogue here.


Sensible: Blackmores, Nature’s Own, Swisse, Cenovis and Centrium vitamins and supplements, half price. With winter approaching, give your immunity system all the help it needs with these specials.

Indulgence: Cobram Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil varieties, $10.80. A good price for an excellent Australian product. With an estimated 70 per cent of the world’s olive oils estimated to be fake, it’s good to know there is a reliable Australian alternative.

See the catalogue here.


Sensible: Vittoria Freeze Dried Instant Coffee, half price $16. I understand the Australian obsession with coffee means having this in your house makes you some sort of pariah, but sometimes you just need a coffee quick smart and not the judgement. Jars are handy when empty too.

Indulgence: Arnott’s Cream or High Tea favourites, $4.80. The rate at which Arnott’s is dropping lines means you should crack on with these while you can.

See the catalogue here.


Sensible: Ingham’s Turkey Breast Steaks, $7.99. As the price trajectory of red meat continues to make us wince, it’s time we explored other proteins. I’m not sure what one does with a turkey breast steak, but it can’t be all that different from a chicken breast steak, so experiment and substitute where you can.

Indulgence: Wurstel Caramelised Onion Salami Sticks, $4.49. You have to admire Aldi’s dedication to coming up with new products. Some are completely bonkers, but others make a great deal of sense. Onions and salami, of course, why not?

See the catalogue here.

Do you have a pantry/fridge regime? Where do you store your tomato sauce? Why not share your opinion in the comments section below?

Also read: Inflation forcing shoppers into unhealthy habits

Written by Jan Fisher

Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.

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  1. I’m sorry Jan but I cannot agree with you about the eggs I grew up with my grandmother having them in racks on the bench and I do this myself, by putting them in the fridge you cause the whites to go runny and the moisture from in the fridge waters down the protective coating that the chooks put on the shells as they are being laid which in turn allows bacteria into the eggs.

Is this the calm before another winter COVID peak?

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