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


  1. Big GUM (Heather) says

    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.

  2. says

    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.

  3. Katy says

    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.

  4. says

    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.

  5. says

    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.