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condiment conundrums

where do you keep your soy sauce and where do you keep your ketchup? it seems that this varies from kitchen to kitchen.
personally, i have to keep my ketchup in the fridge but my soy sauce is more flexible. sometimes it stays in the cupboard/pantry and sometimes i store it in the fridge.

what's the deal? is there a right or a wrong?

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  1. We keep our ketchup in the fridge too, don't know why, I guess cause that's just how my mother did it. I checked the ketchup label and it says "for best results refrigerate after opening". The last time I bought a bottle of soy sauce I was really taken aback to see on the label "refrigerate after opening". In 30 years I'd never been made sick by soy sauce kept in the cabinet. I don't know if it really matters, but what the heck, it's in the fridge now too.

    1. We don't use ketchup. We keep tamari, salsa, hot sauce, etc in the fridge after they've been opened.

      1. I've seen several different occcasions of fermented ketchup; sadly a few of them on diner counters. Yep, that refrigerates. As for soy, I have never considered refrigerating that. Hum. Now I am thinking. Any one seen examples of "bad" soy?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Quine

          "I've seen several different occcasions of fermented ketchup"

          Yep, me too. I worked in a diner type place when I was a teenager and I can remember we had to "marry" the ketchup bottles (pouring emptier bottles into fuller ones to make a full bottle) and they would often start to ferment - ugh. They were storedd on the shelf too. I keep ketchup in the fridge and soy sauce in the cupboard.

          FYI, I keep butter in the fridge for long term storage and a stick in the cupboard for every day use (toast, rolls, sandwiches).

          1. re: lynnlato

            I store my butter in the same way as you. I refuse to buy the spreadable butter as I grew up store butter that was in use in the cupboard, generally the ambient temperature (except in the middle of winter) is enough to keep it to a spreadable consistency (and it tastes far nicer than the 'spreadable' stuff).

            I keep commercial 'ketchup' (I think it's just referred to as tomato sauce in Aust.) in the cupboard along with my soy sauce (it's already a fermented product) but I keep my sister's homemade tomato sauce in the fridge once I open it.

            1. re: irisav

              My SO and I sat down to dinner a couple of years ago. We had the cupboard butter and spread it on our bread. We took a couple bites and then I remarked, "does something taste strange to you?" He agreed but we couldn't figure out what it was. It almost tasted of blue cheese.

              After racking my brain, I had a light bulb moment - It was the butter - unsalted - that I had kept in the cupboard! From that day on, I always make sure to keep salted butter in the cupboard!

        2. I put them in the fridge after opening, but usually keep them in the cupboard before opening.

          1. My big can stock of Kikkoman is in the ref. The good local soy sauce gallon jug is in the pantry. Opened ketchup is in the ref.

            1. Ketchup is always in the fridge. Soy goes either place. My grandmother always kept her giant canister of Kikkoman beneath the kitchen sink (probably the only place it would fit), but I tend to keep my Kikkoman in the fridge and leave my Chinese soy sauce in the pantry.

              1. I refrigerate ALL of my condiments. Now I'm looking for a special condiment refrigerator with narrow pull out racks like those cabinet pantries that are only one bottle wide. I need one with six or seven slide out racks to hold all the stuff I have!

                ATTENTION: Any appliance manufacturer who reads my idea and take such a product to market owes me one FREE...!!!

                God, I hope somebody does that. '-)

                6 Replies
                1. re: Caroline1

                  Caroline1, I would buy this condiment fridge - have you considered starting a company?

                  I refrigerate most of my condiments, but I must admit I'm not sure why. I guess it is because they say "refrigerate after opening", and I am a ravenous lemming-like creature. But I suspect it in not necessary for many of these items, especially in the depths of a Montreal winter. I really have my doubts that much would grow in my bottle of tuong ot toi. I also doubt kochuchang would support much microbial growth. Same for my large collection of Indian pickles, my overly sweet jams and jellies, all my salted pickle products. I think it would be fine to keep them in a cooler area of the house, and be careful to avoid contamination (ie. no fishing out food with used spoons or fingers, leaving the jar open for entire meals, dishing up appropriate quantities for consumption and never throwing the leftovers back into the jar, etc).

                  My problem is that I have too many condiments from too many cultures, and I don't use them fast enough. If I used them faster, I'd be happy to put my money where my mouth is and leave them out. Our fridge is way too stuffed with condiments. Global eating does have disadvantages after all!

                  So yes, I would love a condiment fridge. I am sick of pulling out 20 items to find the gooseberry pickle. I have no room to put in main ingredients. Have you ever tried to make a meal of condiments? Oddly unsatisfying. I am also tired of overeating condiments in an effort to clear some fridge space. It is bad when your roast beef sandwich is 10% beef, 90% Branston pickle. Condiments are meant to be eaten in small quantities, to enhance rather than overwhelm.

                  What is a ravenous lemming to do?

                  Oh yes, I actually keep all of my soy sauce in the pantry. I too have a gigantic tub of Kikkoman, and I have never kept it in the fridge, and it seems to last just fine. Same with all the tamari, and oils and vinegars. If I had to keep these things in the fridge, I'd have to bite the bullet, and replace my dear hubbie with a second fridge. Too much space honey!!! You're taking up too much space!! Love you, but I need someplace to put my olive oil!!! (speaking of honey, I leave this in the pantry too.) The ketchup oddly enough has found space in the fridge door. But we really go through ketchup very slowly.

                  1. re: moh

                    Oooh count me in on the condiment fridge! I wonder if you can adapt a wine fridge for condiments. Our wine fridge has these slots where you put the metal racks. If one designs a sliding tray, I think that would work. I also do a lot of cooking from different nations. So I've got all these little jars and bottles all over the place that can potentially lie around for a very long time. I do keep all of my condiments in the fridge after I had a bottle of Sriracha turn on me. It wasn't foul -- but the color changed and it didn't taste as vibrant. The only things I keep in the cupboard is soy sauce, tamari, sesame oil and a West Indian hot sauce -- only because I've run out of room in my fridge!

                    1. re: Miss Needle

                      I've had the same thing happen with Sriracha...mine changed color and the bottle got a little bloated...did not notice until I went to use it and it exploded all over my food! So now I put it all in the fridge.

                      1. re: bubbles4me

                        Ooh, that's not good. My Sriracha was just off in taste. It wasn't explosive.

                        Moh, I also store my chocolate in the fridge! Much better than the fridge and leaving it out. I definitely agree that there's the whole issue of finding room as most of DH's wines are at a friend's wine cellar. You know, a cheaper option would probably be to get one of those college dorm mini-fridges and outfit it with sliding drawers. I wish I knew how to build things. Otherwise, I'd be on that project right away.

                      2. re: Miss Needle

                        Send me one of your condiment fridges, Caroline.

                        All unopened condiments are in the pantry. All opened jars and bottles of ketchup, soy, hot sauces, etc., etc., etc. are in the fridge.
                        I need the Caroline Condiment Refridgerator NOW!

                        1. re: Miss Needle

                          I think a wine fridge might be better than leaving the condiments at regular room temperature. I think it would depend on how low a temperature you can set the wine fridge at. I will store chocolates in the wine fridge, to keep the cream fillings from going off as quickly, and to prevent excessive cooling of the chocolates. I find the wine fridge is a nice compromise between room temp and the fridge. Of course, the real issue is finding room... I think if I started storing condiments there, I'd have to convert an entire room into a wine fridge...

                    2. Ketchup doesn't say Refrigerate After Opening so I keep it the pantry and never had a problem.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Rick

                        HHMM,Must be a brand think because mine does say it.

                      2. Ketchup goes in the fridge after opening. We use much more soy sauce -- in fact I buy my Kikkoman from warehouse clubs -- and I have never refrigerated it. I do refrigerate oyster sauce, plum sauce, hoisin sauce and other thicker sauces, for some reason.

                        1. I agree with the original poster! We always refrigerate our ketchup after opening, but don't need to refrigerate our soy sauce when we have it.

                          By the way, you might find this "Table of Condiments that Periodically Go Bad" mildly entertaining: http://chewonthatblog.com/2008/05/13/...

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Chew on That

                            I first saw that table of condiments some months ago,copief it, then deleted it when I got around to looking it over. It says honey goes bad in 8 months. Absolutely untrue. Honey is the only food that never spoils. Archaeologists have found ancient honey, reliquified it with heat and ate it. No problems.

                            I'm constantly amazed at the number of people who don't refrigerate their soy sauce. It probably doesn't spoil since it's fermented, but it certainly changes flavor when not refrigerated. I have lots of soy sauces but my favorite is plain old Kikkoman, and if I don't keep it refrigerated I have to throw it out in about a month because the flavor is so off. I've never left my other shoyus and soy sauces out long enough to find out what happens to them.

                            1. re: Caroline1

                              Honey spoils quite easily.(Mead makers unite!). Honey provides an excellent medium for some nasty stuff to grow off of. Sure..is it the honey that spoiled or just the stuff growing from it? It also can last an extremely long period of time if stored well. But it is very untrue to say it is the only food that does not spoil.

                              1. re: Quine

                                Well, when you contaminate something, what can you reasonably expect? Two things I can tell you. My favorite archaeology professor said she had eaten honey that was over a thousand years old on a dig. And I can tell you I have raw dark honey stored in glass I keep in a cool dry place that is well over three years old, as I brought it with me when I moved, that is still in great shape. Well, except for enough for a couple more English muffins, it's now all gone as I used the last of it a week ago in making a "country" baklava. It may have been as old as five or six years. I'm just not sure. Wish I had more...!

                          2. http://www.myheinz.com/faq.asp

                            So you can keep ketchup out, but they RECOMMEND you keep it in the fridge. I've always left mine out.

                            1. As I always make my own condiments including ketchups, mustards, kecap manis, sambal olek, and so on I always store in the fridge.