If you’re someone who is a firm believer that ketchup should be kept in the fridge and not the cupboard, we’re afraid we have some bad news for you.
Which? gathered the feedback 444 consumers on Twitter relating to how they store their condiments and said it discovered ‘a lot of confusion, misinformation and downright bad habits – including ones that could put our health at risk’.
Most of us have never looked at the back of our bottles to follow the guidance on how they should be stored.
Despite a Heinz Tomato Ketchup recommending users to refrigerate once open (and eat within eight weeks), the Which? team of experts made up of a public analyst, a special adviser on food and drink, and registered dietitian Dr Sarah Schenker said it’s just taking up unnecessary space in your fridge.
They said: “There’s no need to keep ketchup in the fridge. Not only does it contain vinegar, but tomatoes are naturally acidic, and this helps to preserve the product in ambient (room temperature) conditions.”
Dr Schenker added: “Sometimes people keep ketchup in the fridge, simply because they prefer a chilled taste, but otherwise it doesn’t need to be refrigerated.”
It’s a different story for mayonnaise, which they say should be stored in the fridge as, although it contains vinegar, there isn’t enough to keep it safe at room temperature.
Keeping it cool will limit the growth of bacteria that can be introduced when you dip cutlery into the jar.
The team had their say on 21 of the most popular condiments and whether they should be kept refridgerated. Here’s the summary:
Fridge: Mayonnaise, pesto, salad cream, maple syrup, tartare sauce, redcurrant jelly.
Cupboard: Ketchup, brown sauce, honey, mint sauce, pickle, olive oil, soy sauce, mango chutney, malt vinegar, hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce.
Fridge or cupboard: English mustard, Dijon mustard, wholegrain mustard, piccalilli.
Which? also advised that ‘use by’ dates are about safety, while ‘best before dates’ relates to quality. It even provided a lovely rhyme which goes: “Use by; say goodbye. Best before; eat some more.”