/ Food & Drink

Where do you keep ketchup?

Tomato ketchup on shelf

Following a poll on Twitter that divided opinion pretty much straight down the middle, a branch of Asda has started stocking bottles of tomato ketchup in the fridge as well as on the shelf.

The poll of over 2,600 people saw 54% vote in favour of the cupboard and 46% the fridge, and led to quite a heated debate on social media.

Cupboard love

Naturally, the news sparked our own mini discussion about what should go in the fridge and what shouldn’t, so we figured it would make a perfect topic for convo.

When it came to ketchup, we were firmly in the cupboard camp.

Despite the fact that it says: ‘After opening refrigerate and eat within eight weeks’ on the bottle, I never have. Neither has my mum and nor did my nan (who used to call it ‘red sauce’ and certainly didn’t get through a whole bottle of the stuff within eight weeks!)

It’s a preserve (OK, it’s actually a condiment, which, in my opinion, amounts to pretty much the same thing). It’s packed with vinegar, sugar and salt, and was invented way before fridges existed. Surely keeping it in the fridge is a bit like shoving pickled onions or jam in there. To me, it defies logic.

In or out?

Once we’d concurred with each other on the matter, we got round to discussing other food ‘essentials’ – and it wasn’t as clear cut.

With mayonnaise, we all agreed it should live in the fridge and are wary of eating it if it hasn’t been kept in one. However, we weren’t so sure about eggs and butter.

With cheese, we decided it depended on provenance, and with chocolate, we said you risked destroying its consistency or breaking your teeth if you chilled it.

As for actual tomatoes? My foodie friend assures me they should be kept out on the worktop, something I’ve always scoffed at.

But it seems she’s right. According to research, chilling them below 12ºC inhibits their ability to generate substances that contribute to aroma and flavour.

So, to chill or not to chill, that is the question. What foods should definitely go in the fridge and what should be kept in the larder?

Where do you keep your ketchup?

In the fridge, like how it tells you to on the bottle (56%, 114 Votes)

In the food cupboard (44%, 90 Votes)

Total Voters: 204

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With most things these days, once it is opened it goes in the fridge. Our exceptions are honey, peanut butter, Lea & Perrins, oils and vinegars.

Whether it is necessary or not, I think it is better to be safe than sorry just in case something goes off because it is not refrigerated. I am sure things last longer if kept in the fridge.

We don’t always eat things within the time stated and use common sense whether it can still be consumed. I didn’t know it said with 6 weeks for ketchup and ours usually lasts several months !!! 🙂

I have always refrigerated eggs although my mum used to keep them on a marble slab. Butter would soon go rancid if left out so is refrigerated.

we keep our tomato sauce on the table – occasionally, if we tidy up, it goes in a deep kitchen drawer.

The problem with fridges is you can easily overlook the contents. The shelves are too deep. I’d design a fridge with deep shelves on the door and shallower ones fixed in the cavity, so you have more chance of seeing the contents.

Eggs – on the worktop.
Cheese – in the fridge, but if you want to eat it with crackers or bread, best to get it out to reach room temperature. Apparently its structure changes when cold.
Bread – I’m told you shouldn’t but we find it keeps much better. However, we don’t but pappy white loaves.
Chocolate – never refrigerate. it’ll try to break your teeth and the whole point of chocolate is to melt gently in your mouth at tongue temperature.

In the fridge. Ketchup should be cold. 😉

Doesn’t it lose its gloop and go stiff if it’s kept in the fridge? I like it a bit runny so we keep it in the cupboard.

Tomato ketchup is an everyday example of a time-dependent non-Newtonian fluid. Some people shake the bottle and pour out the sauce without even thinking about the concept of shear-thinning. And yes, the rheological properties are also temperature-dependent, hence the change in gloopiness when stored in the fridge.

We need a shaking head emoji. The first time I take a peek at this topic and see the exhilaratingly mind-boggling lines “Doesn’t it lose its gloop and go stiff if it’s kept in the fridge? I like it a bit runny so we keep it in the cupboard.”. Not having read the header I started wonder to which reality I’d been transported.

I was very impressed by Wavechange’s scientific discourse until I arrived at “gloopiness” and I burst out laughing! Still very impressed, but also amused. Perfect.

Thank you Sophie, but it was inspired by John’s post. I enjoyed your comment about Dante and his usurers in the banking topic, but that’s off topic right now.

This all started when the makers of Sunny Delight insisted that supermarkets put it in the chiller cabinets. There was no actual necessity but it gave the product a more genuine character as if it were a perishable juice.

I have noticed that jams and marmalade now also carry a “keep refrigerated after opening and consume within N weeks” warning on the label. This was never necessary when I was growing up and we had several jars on the go [including mother’s home-made] and some of them were in the cupboard for months after opening. Same with pickled onions and other heavily preserved items. Are the manufacturers scared of the health consequences if someone leaves the lid off or doesn’t screw it back on tightly enough to keep the air out?

Tomatoes are best kept at room temperature, as Melanie says. There is little more disappointing than tasteless tomatoes. Unfortunately, what happens before we buy them may be more important. Unless tomatoes are going to be used within a day or two they are best are stored in the fridge.

Butter and cheese are kept in the fridge but allowed to reach room temperature before use. I don’t want to create mass listeria but is important to keep soft cheeses in the fridge.

Bread goes in the fridge unless it is to be used promptly. Yes it is better if kept at room temperature but it won’t last long in warm conditions. Mould will be present long before you see it growing on bread.

Eggs are kept in the fridge for safety reasons (who can forget Edwina curried eggs), as are preserves and jams after opening jars.

Chocolate is stored in the cupboard and lasts longer if kept out of sight.

I don’t buy ketchup because it is too sweet, though I do use unsweetened tomato sauce in cooking.

My only interest in mayonnaise is avoiding the stuff. ‘No Mayo’ is a welcome food label for me.

4 points for an unnecessary abbrev.

You have a point Malcolm, but I am simply quoting what the manufacturers use on their labels. Marks and Spencer, private limited company sell Egg Mayo and Prawn Mayo sandwiches but I seem to recall that they have some varieties that feature Mayonnaise.

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From the Heinz website:
“Q: Do I need to refrigerate Ketchup?
A: 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. ”

On the basis that bugs can grow in vinegar, and many bugs use sugar I reckon it is a good idea to keep ketchup in the fridge.

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Don’t panic, Duncan. Courtesy of Ocado, Heinz Tomato Ketchup contains: “Tomatoes (148g per 100g Tomato Ketchup), Spirit Vinegar, Sugar, Salt, Spice and Herb Extracts (contain Celery), Spice”, and says that it is Kosher. I could not find this on the Heinz site.

Are we meaning “kosher” in the sense of compliant with Jewish law, or in the slang sense of “all right” [or “cushtie” as Del Boy had it]? I would imagine that tomato ketchup would pass both tests.

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When you were asking whether the UK tomato ketchup was “fully kosher” I was just wondering in which sense you meant that, because the word ‘kosher’ is frequently used in a slang sense, and indeed I seem to recall you have used the word in that sense in respect of hi-fi equipment.

I am not sure why we are considering the US versions of tomato ketchup. The bottle of Heinz ketchup in our cupboard [address: Hayes, Middlesex] , says it contains no artificial colours, no artificial flavours, no artificial preservatives, and no thickeners. If, as Wavechange reports, Ocado describes Heinz tomato ketchup as Kosher I take that to mean it complies with the Jewish doctrines. As you say, this is important also to many people outside the Jewish faith. I think it is helpful of Ocado to declare it.

There are several other makes of tomato ketchup available including supermarket own-label versions. There are also several different varieties of Heinz tomato ketchup with numerous flavours and additives to appeal to particular tastes. The extent to which they contain artificial ingredients might be interesting.

How many people have died from not refrigerating their ketchup? To treat this problem seriously we need some factual analysis that can be passed to Hayes Trading Standards Dept. What about those who cannot read? Those without fridges? Those who prefer warm ketchup? We need to think about others, not just ourselves.

What about those, like Duncan presumably, who pronounce it ‘tom8o’?

My parents always called it ‘tomato sauce’ – when did we start calling it ‘ketchup’? – Is this another annoying invasion from the USA?

Malcolm – From the information provided about Heinz Tomato Ketchup, it appears that refrigerated storage is useful to maintain quality of the product once the bottle has been opened. I’m not aware that there is a safety issue.

The composition of some products has been changed, making them more likely to spoil without refrigeration. For example the sugar content of many jams and marmalades has been decreased, making them more susceptible to mould growth if stored for without refrigeration. Since brands differ it is obviously wise to follow the guidance on the labels.

Even more disgusting is “Catsup”. The English language is perverse but entertaining. They are tomartos, and they are pot8os – I like your concise illustration John. We should resist transatlantic language and uphold true English with all its colour, and our sauces with all their flavour (both words that this Convo wants to Americanise (oops – Americanize)) – just as the Welsh have preserved their language. Unnecessary but life is about more than that.

I’m thinking we shall have to get a little fridge to go inside the food cupboard.

I presume the appeal of ketchup results from the popular sweet/sour combination combined with the bright red colour (due to lycopene in red tomatoes), which makes food more appealing. Brown cooked meat may not be appealing to children without a dose of ketchup.

We buy M&S Tomato Ketchup at half the price and as nice, or nicer, in our view. I wonder how people survive the ketchup stored in plastic tomatoes in cafes? Do you think that having been out in the steamy atmosphere of the greasy Spoon all day they are put in a fridge? All that might do is to arrest the development of whatever until they spend another18 hours out in the warmth the following day. I wonder whether the local councils food inspectors have this on their check list?

It is probably better to supply sachets of tomato and brown sauces because they only get opened and used up.

They are nasty little things that, when you manage to tear them open, seem determined to squirt material in the most inappropriate places. I also dislike tiny packs of frozen butter that never spread on your toast, and are too small to cover it, and little tubs of Jam that lack proper pieces of strawberry. They all waste plastic and add to landfill. I can happily work with a dish or jar of jam, and a decent pot of butter or even those squirls on a dish. I won’t die. 🙂

Hmmm….without wishing to become ostracized or exorcize any linguistic demons might I remind folks that the -ize suffice is originally English and listed in the full OED as the correct spelling.

I don’t like sachets but have no problem with their sauce contents as found in pubs and eating places. Better than dirty bottles or open dishes. I haven’t encountered a squirt problem – I think it’s a question of how you go about opening them; I have seen people try to do it with their teeth.

The problem with the butter packs is that they are chilled and have not been taken out of the fridge early enough for service – a catering malfunction rather than a product deficiency.

Some ‘jam’ sachets seem to contain just jelly. In the UK we prefer places where there is a selection of Tiptree jams and marmalade in little glass jars on the table which the waiters will gladly replenish. What you get overseas is anybody’s guess.

Oxford Dictionaries:
“The situation is slightly complicated by the fact that certain verbs must always be spelled with ‘-ise’ at the end in British English, rather than ‘-ize’: this is generally because they have come into the English language in a different way. You can also check out a list of these verbs. The difficulty in remembering which words belong to this group is perhaps one of the reasons that –ise spellings were adopted more widely in British English.

The dictionary on the UK/World side of our website gives alternative ‘-ise’ spellings at the main entries for all ‘-ize’ words where it’s appropriate. In British English, it doesn’t matter which spelling convention is chosen: neither is right or wrong, and neither is ‘more right’ than the other. The important thing is that, whichever form you choose, you should use it consistently within a piece of writing.

ostracize (also ostracise) exorcise (also exorcize)”

The Americans still keep many of the older English forms and still use the subjunctive mood in both speech and documents.

In, vaguely, this theme I looked up Trump, and some selected definitions are:
– A valuable resource that may be used, especially as a surprise, in order to gain an advantage:
– A helpful or admirable person:
– trump something up: Invent a false accusation or excuse
– informal Break wind audibly.

Who wouda thunked a yak of an innocuous plastic bottle of red stuff could make me laugh so much. 🍅
Thanks for brightening my morning guys. 😅😂🤣

It’s quite amusing, Alfa. I suppose we could bring in the relative merits of glass vs plastic ketchup bottles, normal vs inverted versions of the latter, and whether a red bottle is better because it protects the contents from light while making it difficult to estimate the amount of ketchup remaining.

In my student days I was fascinated by the simple process of silanization (silanisation if you prefer) of glass to make it water repellant. The food industry has been playing ketchup (sorry – catchup) and we now have a food-safe product suitable for glass bottles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPJa_eZBPGI Enjoy.

Of course plastic ketchup bottles allow their contents to slide down the inside of an inverted bottle, but the process is not as quick as it might be.

Are the plastic bottles a fire hazard, wavechange? 🙁 I’d rather have a squeezable plastic bottle that hurries the contents than one you have to shake. They also sit exit-end down so the remaining contents are ready to be dispensed. Just how much do such features contribute to modern life?

As supplied, the plastic bottles are filled with an aqueous fluid that should make combustion unlikely, but once partially emptied the risk could be greater. If a hazard is deemed to exist, an effective solution would be to place a partially used bottle of ketchup in a metal tin. Cheap and simple.

I expect that whoever thought up the idea of an inverted ketchup bottle has contributed greatly to our cultural heritage, whether or not he was an expert.

Heinz, presumably, employ a team of highly-qualified scientists, engineers and ergonomists who not only designed an upside down plastic squeeze-operated dispenser with a bi-valve exit aperture, but also put the label on correctly orientated. I believe we may be drifting into no-mans land.

We never put ketchup in the fridge. It lasts perfectly well on the table or in a drawer, is more pleasant at room temperature and anyway doesn’t last long enough to suffer from any noticeable degradation.

I wonder just how serious this topic is. We have very few comments about what people store in the fridge or not. Perhaps this line of discussion could be encouraged? We find eggs crack if boiled from the fridge, so we keep them at kitchen temperature without ill effects.

Mel mentions eggs in her introduction so hopefully its OK to discuss their storage. Morrisons recommends that their eggs are kept in the fridge and so, I believe, do other retailers. If I am going to boil eggs I put them in a pan of cold water for a period to allow them to reach room temperature before cooking. I’m baking a cake later this evening and have already taken the eggs out of the fridge in case this produces better results.

I suggest that the Food Standards Agency is a useful source of information about natural foods such as eggs. The FSA provides links to the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Foods and ACMSF even has an Ad Hoc Group on Eggs. 🙂 I’m playing safe and keeping my eggs in the fridge. Since Edwina Currie warned us about salmonella in eggs I have also avoided runny yolks.

With processed foods such as ketchup there will be differences between brands, so following the manufacturer’s advice is the best bet.

I have a small plastic gadget with a pin that appears from its sheath and punches a very small hole in the base of the egg. It then boils without cracking in four and a half minutes. Ketchup? just thought I’d mention it to keep on topic. It’s not something I use, but can see that it might enhance certain cooking recipes. My sister keeps hers in the fridge for ever and ever until I quietly remove it.

I was brought up in times before refrigerators were common place and do not seem to come to much harm by eating things that today will be thrown away because the label gives at date to use by . People today do not use common sense but do as instructed . Silly regulations rule for many people

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I don’t think we are being “forced” to do anything, Duncan. This remains a free country and we have plenty of choices. There is nothing wrong with people choosing to eat at American-style restaurants any more than at Indian or Chinese restaurants. Denim is an international material [it originated in France] and pizza is certainly not of American origin [I remember in Florence hearing an American woman say to her husband “Look, they even have pizza over here“!]. I don’t recognise the “propaganda (adverts)” you describe and nothing is “force-fed down our throats”. I am, however, rather amused by your reference to “the Englishman playing ‘second fiddle’, sometimes in an effeminate role, next to the ‘butch’ Americans”. I should love to have some examples – or do you mean ‘polite’, ‘well-mannered’, ‘properly dressed’, and ‘well-behaved’? In any case, Sean Connery, if that’s who you were thinking of, is a Scotsman.

And who would condemn you as a nationalist for flying the Union flag, and why would they? It is a perfectly normal gesture at times of national celebration. Many public and commercial buildings fly the flag, and hundreds of companies use the symbol with pride on their advertising or packaging. I think you will find the world at large is not as you imagine it, Duncan. You claim to be ‘nationalistic’ but that is surely a virtue, not a fault [so long as it is not a cover for xenophobia and extreme reactions which I am sure is not the case].

When my local Tesco introduced a display of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts near the store entrance I was surprised that these products were not described as Donuts, which I believe is the spelling generally used in the US. I was even more surprised that the US website also shows them as Doughnuts. I’m curious about the marketing strategy. I don’t know if the Tesco store still stocks these Doughnuts but the display near the door has gone.

In the interests of research I might buy a bottle of ketchup but it would be interesting to know which version is least sweet.

Heinz do one with 50% less sugars and 25% less salt.
I prefer the normal one.

I wonder why the Krispy Kreme Doughnuts display has gone from your Tesco store, Wavechange. Their lavish illuminated cabinet is still prominently installed near the entrance to our local big Tesco store.

I suspect the reason that Krispy Kreme use the ‘doughnut’ spelling is because they want to avoid at all costs any confusion between their brand and Dunkin’ Donuts which is the other global purveyor of these fattipose confections.

Maybe your store will be investing in a bigger cabinet to satisfy local demand after new people moved into the area.

The word you’re looking for, Duncan, is ‘hegemony’. There’s been quite a bit of research about the US influence throughout the world and much of it is centred on the effects of Hollywood and the US TV industry in general.

Because of the ubiquitous nature of the Hollywood blockbuster there is. indeed, a school of thought that views the US as the purveyor of a perspective – and one with which many don’t agree. The important question, however, is to what extent we’re influenced by the stereotypical portrayal of US life, beliefs, norms and expectations.

Hollywood’s idealisation of US values may, indeed, influence our own lives, but there’s little evidence either way. I suspect it has an effect on younger minds.

Ian – I have a juvenile mind but I believe I remain unafflicted.

I don’t think we should criticise those who acquire their tastes from Hollywood movies, so long as we bear in mind that the America they portray is not the same place as you find when you get there.

You were right when you referred to Hollywood’s idealisation of US values; the reality is somewhat different in my experience.

I will have a look next time I visit the Tesco store, John. The Doughnuts may still be on sale but I’m sure that the illuminated cabinet has gone. They might be beside the tomato ketchup, in which case I’m likely to have missed them.

You may have invented a new word with ‘fattypose’ – presumably a synonym of obesogenic.

Alfa – I have not tried the low sugar and salt version of Heinz ketchup. I know it uses stevia-based sweetner and I had assumed that it would be as sweet despite having less sugar.

I like to think I, too, remain uninfluenced by US movies. I suppose the key question is ‘How would I know?’. But I suspect the bigger issue is how US film makers portray US attitudes; and I have found those replicated in some places around the US. The sad truth is that the US intelligentsia are badly served in their own country.

We haven’t heard much about subliminal messages lately – have they disappeared from view?
I must say the USA could do with a marketing makeover because it does not project a particularly good image – well, not in my eyes, anyway. Perhaps it is just the bad things that stick – gun laws, inept politicians, belligerence, greed, selfishness, excess. I doubt these are the attributes of most of their individuals. A bit like views some have of business elsewhere in the world.

Well, subliminal messaging in the UK is illegal, other than for experimental purposes. But you make an interesting point, since it can be argued some portrayals of US life in Hollywood movies amounts to a form of subliminal messaging.

I wouldn’t try an ersatz ketchup. Try the real thing – in small doses it will not pose a fatty threat. I rarely eat it, but it goes well with burgers and fishcakes. You could make this:

I am full of admiration for the way US goodies manage to kill lots of baddies in films without even getting a flesh wound, and the acrobatics they perform in doing so. In war films the baddies seem to keep pouring out of their places of concealment despite walking into a constant hail of lead. And the never ending number of shots that emanate from a small handgun. Clearly the gun laws produce a breed of super-enforcers. Do we have a lesson to learn?

However, back on topic – do Heinz or Kraft have the special effects contract?

“if I hoisted the Stars+Stripes half the country would put their hand on their heart.” A factoid too far duncan 🙂

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Nope. It wasn’t. Well known, in fact.

Is that a real fact, or an alternative fact?

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Hi all, this is a conversation about ketchup/tomato sauce and whether you chill or keep products in a cupboard. Any off-topic discussions, please go to The Lobby: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/the-lobby/

I would always ask you to think of the many visitors to our conversations who haven’t yet built up the courage to make a comment on a subject that interests them. Imagine how disconcerting it can be to see a discussion that has nothing to do with the original subject matter. This is why we now have The Lobby: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/the-lobby/

Thank you

@patrick, quite right to admonish me Patrick. However, at the risk of seeming a little churlish on this miserable day, as you monitor these conversations I presume you see the questions that are asked of Which?. But we do not receive answers. Hence they keep being repeated in hope. 🙂

Presumably, as you read all these comments before they are posted you can always keep us on message!!

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You almost had me there Duncan, until I saw that you’d like to ‘uncyclopedia’ which is a fake Wikipedia to try and trick people hehe….

Anyway back to sauce…

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