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A sauce that is typically smooth yet fluid-textured, made of tomatoes and flavored with sugar, vinegar, onions, garlic, and spices. It has a sweet but sharp taste and is generally used as a condiment sauce for dipping or layering on meats, such as sausages, hot dogs, or burgers; potatoes such as french fries or hash browns; and other food dishes such as eggs or hash. It is also used as an ingredient to season various food dishes however, use caution as it may overpower other flavors if used excessively.

Ketchup is a very acidic substance and therefore, is not prone to spoiling easily or quickly. It can be stored in a cool dry area, unopened for long periods of time without spoiling. However, as the additives in ketchup and other processed foods are removed to create different versions of the product, refrigeration is suggested once the container is opened to preserve it longer. Since foods are easily affected by bacteria at temperatures below 41ºF or 5ºC, it is best to decrease the potential for bacterial growth by keeping ketchup refrigerated. There are mixed opinions about the taste of refrigerated ketchup, some believing it improves the flavor while others like the taste of warm ketchup, so the purpose of refrigeration may be more for presevation than flavor. If a substitute is needed for ketchup, use 1 cup of tomato sauce mixed with 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1/4 cup of sugar. Ketchup may also be referred to as catsup or catchup.

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