The debate is over: Here’s where you should store the ketchup

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 lifecycle you are. (These 16 condiments are secret health bombs.)

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.”

RELATED: More food storage questions answered: 

18 PHOTOS
How to store every single type of fruit
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How to store every single type of fruit

Apples

How to Store: As soon as you bring them home, stash ‘em in the fridge. They should be good for up to three weeks.

If You’ve Eaten Some: Cover the remaining half (or slices) in tightly pressed plastic wrap and stick the apple back in the fridge. This will help prevent browning, which is caused by oxidation.

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Pears

How to Store: You should refrigerate them for a shelf life of about five days.

If You’ve Eaten Some: Same deal as apples, cover the slices with plastic wrap.

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Avocados

How to Store: Pop them in the fridge as soon as they’re ripe. That way, they’ll keep for about three days. (If they’re not ripe, store them on the counter.)

If You’ve Eaten Some: Brush lemon juice on the uneaten half to prevent it from browning, the press plastic wrap against the surface before putting it in the fridge.

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Bananas

How to Store: These can sit on your countertop and should stay fresh for about five days.

If You’ve Eaten Some: Ideally, the uneaten half is still in the peel. If it is, just wrap the exposed end with plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge.

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Grapes

How to Store: Stick them in a bowl (or ventilated bag, like the one they come in) in the fridge and they should stay fresh for up to a week.

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Raspberries

How to Store: To maximize their shelf life, you should remove the bad ones from the carton first, then lay them out on a paper towel-lined plate in your fridge. This way, they should keep for three to four days.

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Blackberries

How to Store: Ditto the raspberries.

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Tomatoes

How to Store: You can store these guys in the fridge, just let them come up to room temperature before you eat them. (They should stay fresh for about a week.)

If You’ve Eaten Some: It’s best to store them in the fridge with the cut side down on a paper towel inside Tupperware.

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Melons

How to Store: Keep it in the fridge and it should last for a week or more.

If You’ve Eaten Some: Keep any sliced up leftovers in a plastic dish covered with plastic wrap.

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Mangoes

How to Store: Fridge storage is best to keep them fresh for about four days.

If You’ve Eaten Some: It’s fine to keep chopped up mangoes in a plastic bag in the fridge.

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Blueberries

How to Store: Get rid of any overripe berries, then keep them in their original plastic container inside the fridge. (They should last a full week.)

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Cherries

How to Store: Stick them in a bowl and keep them inside the fridge for a three-day shelf life.

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Oranges

How to Store: Just set them in a bowl on your countertop and they should stay fresh for a week or more.

If You’ve Eaten Some: Keep any uneaten slices in a plastic baggie.

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Grapefruit

How to Store: Just like oranges, this can also rest on your countertop for about a week for maximum freshness.

If You’ve Eaten Some: Store leftovers (plus, whatever juice you can save) in a plastic container.

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Kiwi

How to Store: Tuck them in the fridge and they should last three to four days.

If You’ve Eaten Some: Just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

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Peaches

How to Store: If they’re ripe, pop them in the fridge and they should keep for five days.

If You’ve Eaten Some: Ideally, you can slice it up and keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Pineapple

How to Store: If it’s whole, keep it on the countertop and it will keep for five days. But if it’s sliced, you should keep it in the fridge.

If You’ve Eaten Some: Cover it in plastic wrap.

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Strawberries

How to Store: Just like blueberries, you should get rid of any gross-looking berries first, then store them in perforated container (like the one they came in). 

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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. (Next, end the debate about where you’re supposed to store your butter.)

RELATED: Cooking with ketchup

7 PHOTOS
7 ways to cook with ketchup
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7 ways to cook with ketchup

Stir-Fry

No hoisin sauce in the fridge? Ketchup can stand in for it in many stir-fry recipes.

Get this recipe

Photo credit: AOL

Chicken

Switch up your roast chicken game with one of our favorite ingredient combos: Toasty garlic, onions, and ketchup, plus a kiss of brown sugar and cinnamon.

Get this recipe

Photo credit: John Kernick/Epicurious

Ribs

Ketchup plays a major role in these sweet-and-sour ribs.

Get this recipe

Photo credit: Johnny Miller/Epicurious

BBQ Sauce

Skip the bottled sauce and make your own. This one gets an extra layer of complexity thanks to bourbon, and kick of sweetness from the ketchup.

Get this recipe

Photo credit: Hans Gissinger/Epicurious

Russian Dressing

Because Russian Dressing.

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Photo credit: Shutterstock

Sloppy Joes

What makes a Sloppy Joe great? A whole bunch of ingredients: Red peppers, tomato sauce, mushrooms, onion, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, anchovies, garlic, mustard powder, hot sauce, and...that's right: ketchup.

Get this recipe

Photo credit: Epicurious

Secret Sauce

Ketchup on a burger is boring. But when you combine it with other ingredients for a carefully balanced, creamy blend condiment with just enough acid, spice, smokiness, and sweetness, it becomes not boring but secret.

Get this recipe

Photo credit: Charles Masters/Epicurious

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