The great ketchup debate: to refrigerate or not to refrigerate?

June 13, 2015, 9:33 AM GMT+0

Should you keep items like eggs and ketchup in the fridge? A new YouGov poll settles the age-old controversy

The choice between fridge or cupboard, the words 'ketchup' or 'tomato sauce' and even the use of the condiment itself have recently picked up class connotations as the debate has become more heated. Even Boris Johnson has waded in (his ketchup is in the cupboard).

New research seems to settle the issue, along with nine other items for which refrigeration is a maybe. If you're one to go with the crowd, take note.

There is broad agreement that you should not store potatoes, bread, onions or apples in the fridge. All of these have a lead for 'out' of at least 41%. Eggs, over which there are loud arguments on both sides (which, incidentally, scientists have found to be pointless), split the country down the middle – 50% for 'out' and 46% for 'in'.

On ketchup, most of the public (53%) have finally decided that it should be kept in the fridge. The main argument on this side is that it says so on the bottle – for the sake of freshness it's better off chilled. However, those in the 'out' camp question why you'd want something cold on your hot food, and note that with sugar and vinegar as main ingredients there is little chance of it going off.

There is one case where public opinion runs counter to scientific wisdom. With tomatoes, many experts suggest that refrigeration degrades aroma and texture, but British people on the whole (71%) say they should be kept in the fridge.

There may well be logic to the public verdict – while leaving tomatoes out of the fridge is good for the ripening process, beyond that stage they can get too ripe. As many tomatoes sold in Britain are already ripe, keeping them in the fridge helps to stave off the damaging heat effects.

See the full poll results

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