Tomato ketchup is a red-coloured condiment that is made from tomato concentrate, sugar, salt, emulsified starch, vinegar, spices, and water. It is cooked at a very high temperature to attain its rich texture and flavour. It is a highly consumable food item that usually doesn’t last beyond its expiration date. It is a flavorful foodstuff that children and adults alike would love to dip just about any food on it. However, you need to know how to store it properly to avoid spoilage and bacterial contamination.
After opening, tomato ketchup can be stored in the refrigerator to retain its freshness and prevent the microorganisms to thrive. Food-borne diseases cause by salmonella and e.coli can result in serious illness such as Hepa-B, gastroenteritis, gastritis, and typhoid fever, to name a few. People die from serious complications caused by food poisoning.
Tomato ketchup can keep for a year at room temperature if unopened. Once opened, it can only stay for three to six months before it loses its freshness. Cooler temperature slightly prolongs its life.
When buying tomato ketchup, don’t forget these reminders:
- Always check the label and look for the date of manufacture and its expiration.
- Don’t buy products so close to its expiration date, even for half its price.
- Always follow the “first in, first out” rule when storing in the pantry. Arrange the early purchases closer to the pantry door so they are the first to be used.
- Follow the “keep refrigerated after opening” instruction.
- Keep the cap or lid tightly closed after each use. Flies and bugs may leave their eggs or microbes on the exposed condiment.
- Use a clean spoon when scooping condiment from the jar. Unclean handling can cause contamination.
- Don’t return left-over ketchup in its container.
- Buy familiar brands. If you want to try a new brand, make sure you check the physical appearance and read the guidelines on the label.
Tomato ketchup has become a way of life to many people who claim they can’t eat without it flavouring their food. It is a rich source of Lycopene that is good for the body. The US market value of condiment was projected to rise at USD 7 billion marks this year, slightly higher than the other types of condiments.