This is Pointless Debate, where we argue the toss about stuff that really doesn’t matter, but actually really matters a lot. This time we’re squabbling about…
Ketchup: in the fridge or in the cupboard?
It’s the nation’s favourite condiment, but never has a sauce caused such controversy. Ketchup itself is beyond contestation (“an absolute dinner table essential”, “really very good indeed” – all of Britain), but people have very strong views on the proper method of storage for Tommy K.
There are two clear factions: larder or fridge. Ambient or chilled. Cupboardite or Refrigerteer. But which side do you fall on? You can cast your vote in the poll at the bottom, but first, let’s consider the arguments.
The argument in favour of putting ketchup in the fridge
There. It says it there, in plain English: refrigerate. What is there to debate? If the ketchup bottle itself recommends – nay, commands – us to put it in the fridge, then who are we to disagree? Look, we’ll quote Heinz themselves on the matter:
“We recommend that this product, like any processed food, be refrigerated after opening. Refrigeration will maintain the best product quality after opening.”
Okay, we’re done here. Everyone can go home. Go home and put your ketchup in the fridge.
No? That’s not enough?
Have you, then, considered harnessing the power of chilled ketchup to cool your piping-hot food? If you’ve got some red-hot sizzling sausages on your plate and you just can’t wait another second, dunk it in a blob of cool ketchup and you’re good to go. Good food is all about contrasts, and a nice dash of cold red sauce is the perfect compliment to a bowl of hot chips.
Have you also considered that it’s a free country, and that if a free man wants to put his ketchup in the fridge, there’s not a man alive that can stop him? The fridge is as good a storage space as any; it’s probably the best storage space of them all. Your ketchup will last longer and taste better in the fridge. That’s a fact.
Keep your ketchup in the fridge. It’s weird if you don’t keep it in the fridge.
The argument in favour of putting ketchup in the cupboard
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Not so fast with the Heinz quotes, there. You missed this bit out:
“Because of its natural acidity, Heinz Ketchup is shelf-stable.”
From the horse’s mouth: putting ketchup in the fridge is literally and completely unnecessary. Yes, the bottle says it needs to be refrigerated, but that’s just Heinz being overly-cautious in case someone tries to sue them over gone-off ketchup. Which, by the way, doesn’t go off – it’s not in the bottle long enough for it to go off.
Millions of people have been keeping ketchup in the cupboard for decades, and if there has been a spate of cupboard ketchup-related deaths, it has thus far gone unreported. It’s 100% fine to keep your ketchup in the cupboard. In fact, it’s not only fine, it’s the right thing to do.
Plenty of things do need to go in the fridge: meat, fish, some vegetables, leftovers, but ketchup is not one of these things. If you’re keeping the Tommy K in the fridge, you’re wasting valuable space. That’s one less pint of milk, one less can of beer that you can fit in there.
Not only is it unnecessary, it’s inconsiderate – you’re not the only one who’s using that fridge, y’know. Housemates, family members and romantic partners all have one thing in common: they all have refrigeration needs, and your ketchup bottle is an infringement on their refrigeration rights.
Do the responsible thing and keep your ketchup in the cupboard. Any rational person would.
Only you can settle this debate, so which side are you on?
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