A short rant about not keeping ketchup in the fridge

should you keep ketchup in the fridgeForget Brexit, forget Trump – the next big debate is apparently all about tomato ketchup. Specifically, whether or not you keep it in the fridge.

In a recent survey, the question of how to store tomato ketchup has proved to be a contentious one, with 53% of people opting for fridge storage and 47% of people just leaving their ketchup in the cupboard.

Let me just settle this debate once and for all – TOMATO KETCHUP SHOULD BE KEPT IN THE FRIDGE.

This may seem like an odd thing to get upset about, but I have very good reason. 

When I was 19, I worked in a village pub. It was run by a very nasty little man – the sort who turned the charm on for customers and then berated you in the kitchen for slicing the cucumber too thickly for the side salads. I hated it there and only ended up staying for about six weeks. In the end I walked out in the middle of a lunchtime, after muttering something about working rights. It was very liberating, especially the bit where I stopped at a garage on the way home and ate a Magnum in the car, just because I could.

One of my responsibilities at the pub was to make up the salads that the pub was well known for. I would do this during quiet times, cover them with cling film, write on a date and put them in a massive fridge. When someone ordered a ‘delicious and fresh’ salad I would take out a plate, ideally from within the last week, trim the browner bits off the lettuce, and send it out.


Another one of my responsibilities at the pub was ketchup.

We had a sideboard for cutlery and condiments, which included about a dozen jars of Heinz tomato ketchup. At the start of every shift it was my job to top up the bottles from a huge vat of the very cheapest tomato sauce known to man and then to pick any crusty bits off from around the top of the bottles. Finally, I had to wipe around the tops with a dirty old cloth.


That job represented to me everything that is wrong in the world.

I would not be able to keep my tomato ketchup in the cupboard without thinking of that man, and the lined up bottles of ‘Heinz’ ketchup, all nicely ‘cleaned’ with the ketchup cloth.


And so ketchup has to go in the fridge, where it belongs.

Don’t you agree?

Image – Faiz Zaki/shutterstock






  1. glenn hutton
    8 February, 2017 / 9:22 pm

    I agree it should be stored in the fridge… The main reason for us is that we prefer the contrast of cold sauce on hot chips or whatever food we are using it with! ;)

  2. 8 February, 2017 / 10:05 pm

    Ugh, the ketchup cloth. Shudder.

    I agree, ketchup in the fridge . The clue is on the bottle : ‘after opening keep in the fridge’. Simples.

    I think Asda has taken it a step too far by putting them in the fridges in the shops though.

  3. ElizM
    8 February, 2017 / 10:47 pm

    No! ketchup is a conserve, a bit like jam or pickles. It has been made to last although once opened should be used reasonably quickly and hygienically. If you’re going to stick your fingers, damp cloths or whatever on the rim of the bottle, no amount of fridge time is going to keep it free of bugs. Your old boss, the pub landlord, however, should be kept well away from the general public, employees or any kind of food unless he’s willing to eat it all himself.

  4. Boo Oatham
    8 February, 2017 / 11:02 pm

    Fridge all the way for me too Jo!

    Your old employer sounds like a right w!!!!r. I really hate it when you pay a decent price for a meal and then get palmed off with what you think is a fresh salad and dodgy ketchup. Whilst I hate those little sachets of ketchup and mayo at least with them you know what you are getting!

    Nice rant Jo, look forward to the next one.

  5. Claire Martin
    8 February, 2017 / 11:42 pm

    I think we might have worked in the same pub!!

  6. Spencer Broadley
    11 February, 2017 / 9:14 am

    I keep ketchup/brown sauce in the cupboard, but once opened they get transferred to the fridge

    • Spencer Broadley
      11 February, 2017 / 9:16 am

      Oh – and the landlord is not capable of his job

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