99 Burning Food Questions: The Complete List

Get the full list of the most common food questions from cooking to food prep and more.

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Should Ketchup Be Refrigerated? (2:36)

1. Is artificial food coloring something to worry about?

While the FDA states that most children have no adverse effect to artificial food coloring, a number of new studies have presented a strong correlation between food dyes and hyperactivity, behavioral issues, and ADHD among children. The adverse effects of food coloring are not just a children’s behavior issue; these dyes can also cause allergic reactions as well. 

2. Do you need to refrigerate ketchup?

Ketchup lasts on the shelf for at least a month. The salt and sugar in ketchup acts as a natural preservative, and its acidity prevents bacteria growth. However, every time you open the bottle, bacteria gets in and sugar breaks down. You can get much more mileage if you keep it in the fridge – where it can stay for at least six months – where you maintain the preservatives, acidity, and keep it below the mold danger zone.

3. Does adding salt really make water boil faster?

It is a big misconception that salt makes water boil faster. There are lots of variables when boiling water – your burner, temperature of the water, your pot – but salt does not speed the process up.

4. What are the halves in fat-free half and half?

Halves are technically whole milk and cream, but when you remove fat from the recipe, you gain thickeners, artificial flavors, and sweeteners to retain that thick and creamy taste. So, halves of fat-free half and half are essentially fat-free dairy and additives – it’s not real! 

5. Should I really not be washing mushrooms before I cook them? Does washing them change their texture?

The theory that the texture of mushrooms gets ruined when washed due to water absorption is a myth. Mushrooms are 80 percent water, so there is little room for them to absorb excess water. Not only can you wash your mushrooms, you should! 

6. Why do I have to rinse grains before I cook them?

When grains are together they rub against each other, which adds flour to the outside of them. When you don’t rinse them, you get a starchy coating on your grains. Rinsing is particularly necessary when it comes to quinoa, as it has an outer coating called saponin that will make it taste bitter without a rinse.

7. Does hot food need to cool before putting it in the refrigerator?

No, putting hot food in your fridge does not move the temperature above the 40-degree mark, meaning the rest of your food will remain safe. The basic rule of the thumb is to store hot food in smaller portions in shallow containers. In addition to this, make sure not to leave your food on the counter for over two hours, as bacteria can start to grow.

8. Can you freeze cheese?

Yes, you can freeze cheese. By freezing it, it will remain safe to consume later on. Just remember, the texture will probably change once thawed.

9. How low can you set your slow cooker without bacteria forming?

As long as you leave your slow cooker on low, and the temperature does not drop below the 140º F mark, you’re out of the danger zone. If you use a timer, make sure to eat the food or store it within two hours, to avoid bacteria growth.

10. Does scooping out a bagel reduce the calories enough to make it worth the hassle?

It’s not worth it unless you fill your bagel with a healthier option like tuna salad made with olive oil. While scooping a bagel can save you between 50 to 75 calories, this allows for more room to pack on cream cheese and other unhealthy fillings, which can lead to an increase in the amount of calories being consumed.