Over 300 million Americans used ketchup last year according to a Simmons National Consumer Survey, but apparently most of us have no idea how to properly store this tangy, sweet condiment, Does ketchup need to be refrigerated after opening or can it just hang out on your counter? It turns out that mostly depends on where in the product’s life cycle you are.
Nicole Kulwicki, director of brand building for Heinz Ketchup, says the product doesn’t need refrigeration until after you open it. “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 be refrigerated after opening to maintain the best product quality.”
If you’re wondering why restaurants and diners seem to keep open bottles of ketchup on their tables all day and night long, it’s basically just a facade—they’re dumping the bottle contents, whether they’re homemade ketchup or popular brands, into the trash each night. “We portion each order of ketchup that will be served that day,” explains chef Luke Venner of Elm Restaurant in New Canaan, Connecticut. “We always return the larger container immediately back to a refrigerator. Any unused portions are discarded at the end of the shift.”
Verdict: You need to store open ketchup containers in the fridge, no ifs, ands, or burgers about it.