14 August 2008

Reduce ketchup waste with single-serving cups

Alison's thinking about ketchup conservation:

At my house, one of the things I despise most is rinsing globs of ketchup off of plates after meals. The smell makes me gag, and if it has dried at all it requires a fairly intensive scrubbing before putting it in the dishwasher. Additionally, it's wasteful. Perfectly good ketchup - GONE.

We have a one year-old so we currently have a stockpile of the small Take n' Toss snack cups with lids. When we eat a meal that requires ketchup, I have started putting the ketchup in the small cup instead of on the plate. When we are finished eating, if there's a lot of ketchup left I just put a lid on it and put it in the fridge for the next time. There are different color cups so we can tell them apart. If only I could get my husband on the ketchup cup bandwagon, my ketchup woes would be solved!

My only caution: double-dipping. If one uses a little spoon to take out tiny bits of ketchup, then ok, but if there's any food going directly into the ketchup, you risk contamination and spoilage. Another idea: much smaller servings directly on the plate.

Ketchup at 12 o'clock
Reduce mess by putting ketchup under the hot dog

Your comments

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Yeah, I wouldn't re-use anything that had actually had food dipped into it. I agree that ketchup left sit on a plate gets gross fast. My tip is to make sure you rinse it all off as soon as you clear the table. It took a while for my husband to catch onto this! Dried ketchup can make it all the way through a dishwasher cycle and emerge as baked-on goo. Blech!
We have 2 little ketchup dippers, and just use smaller amounts and dole out more as necessary. Much easier.

I don't think I'd store the ketchup after it's been used (it's cheap enough, anyway!), but I like the idea. We actually use little metal 'condiment cups' for just this purpose. I picked up four of them at Target for about $2 and they've lasted for about three years of heavy use so far. They're great for ketchup, honey, a bit of syrup to pour on pancakes, the right amount of jam, etc. Anything that needs to be dipped and or portioned, and they'll hold around 1.5 Tbsp.

So I understand the wastefulness concern, but at the same time, isn't rinsing dishes before you load into the dishwasher wasteful too?

I don't think I'm spoiled with a good dishwasher.. Even when i had the cheapy rollaway kind, as long as i used a good detergent like Cascade Complete, I could get away with only scraping off the giant blobs and then not worry about post wash residue. We also only run the dishwasher every 2 or 3 days.

If you're concerned about waste, just pick up a couple extra packets of ketchup when you go out to eat.

If you're concerned about the mess on the plate and having to rinse it off, make a little bowl type thing out of foil (or even just a small square of foil) off to the side of the plate. When you're done, just toss the whole thing in the trash.

Call me wasteful, but I think that's too much work for a tablespoon of ketchup. When they are under 2 I would do save table scraps because 1 slice of ham or one spoonful of leftovers is almost a whole meal at that age but once they get older I just don't have the time or patience to be saving all the table scraps. And contamination is a concern since it had been sitting out on the table for 20-30 minutes, I presume.

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