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Bulk condiment storage: Stop playing ketchup

By on June 29, 2009

photo by Lance Fisher

DEAR SARA: What is the best way to store opened containers of ketchup? I buy my ketchup in the club pack. I did the math, and the club pack is extremely cheap compared to the regular size. It also helps save the environment because it’s less plastic being sold and put into this household. I am having an issue with ketchup cans, primarily. I bought a club-pack-size ketchup can and filled my regular-size plastic container until full. Then I had extra ketchup left over and decided to try to put a large coffee lid on top of it to seal it. The seal wasn’t very good and, alas, the lid formed a black layer all around it. I then tried plastic wrap around the top of it and a rubber band to hold it in place. I’m not sure whether this is working or not, but I wanted to get some ideas. What is the best way to store extra condiments that come in a can with no lid? — Tisha, forums

DEAR TISHA: You should place the remaining ketchup into a glass or plastic storage container. Don’t use an open can (even with plastic wrap or your own lid) for storage. The metal can leach into the food and give it a bad taste and make you sick. You should throw away your ketchup since it has turned black. Look for a No. 10 pump dispenser and jug for your ketchup. Call Heinz at 800-57HEINZ to order its Pour Store & Pump Jug, or look for similar options at restaurant-supply stores or where bulk food is sold.

DEAR SARA: How do you keep your yarn from becoming a total mess? I learned to crochet from my mom many years ago when I was a teenager. I remember her using a couple of 2-liter soda bottles as a way of storing the skeins she was working with on the current project. I am just getting back in the mood for crocheting and have bought the yarn for my first afghan in about 15 years! I was wondering what you would suggest to use as storage or for organizing the skeins I am using for whatever current project I may be working on. I don’t want to end up with a tangled mess! — Mrs. Ocean, Indiana

DEAR MRS. OCEAN: Pop bottles work well. You can reuse baby-wipes containers, or cut a hole into the top of plastic coffee containers, plastic milk jug, margarine or large ice-cream tub or bulk pretzel containers. I’ve seen people use glass or plastic pitchers, reusable water bottles, plastic snap-top containers by Rubbermaid and even paper-towel holders.

DEAR SARA: How can I remove the decals from the bottom of a bathtub? I put them on the bottom of a tub when it was new. Now it looks terrible. Help! — Shirley H., Michigan

DEAR SHIRLEY: You can heat the decal using a hair dryer, or pour boiling water onto it. Soak a washcloth with vinegar, and set it on top of it. Leave the wet washcloth on the decal for at least half an hour. See whether the decal begins to give by trying to lift the edges from the tub using a plastic putty knife or spatula. If it’s not working well, try soaking a washcloth with rubbing alcohol and letting that set on the decals. You’ll need only a small edge to lift and you can grab it and pull it off. Once the decal is removed, the remaining adhesive can be removed using Goo Gone, rubbing alcohol, vinegar or Vaseline. You might need to use a nylon scrubber to get it all off.


  1. Joe Todd

    6/29/2009 at 1:36 pm

    Just stopped by to say Hi. My garden is doing well. (other than groundhog problems) Strawberries are done. Eating red raspberries for a couple weeks. May have enough tomatoes to make my own ketchup.. Have a great day….Joe Todd

  2. Sara Noel

    6/29/2009 at 1:48 pm

    Hi Joe, If you do make your own, let me know. My sil made me some years ago. It was delicious. She made it chunky, so I used it in various recipes and not just as a condiment. My raspberries aren’t ready yet.

  3. Elisa

    12/25/2009 at 7:21 pm

    The trick with a ball of wool is to pull from the CENTRE, not the outside. Spend a few minutes digging into the end of the ball, and pull a thread as close as you can to where you guess the centre would be. It will drag out a small handful, but don’t worry, you’ll use this up quickly in your knitting, and from then on, the ball won’t roll across the floor or tangle up. The same trick works for twine and for giftwrapping ribbon.

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