The Super-Smart Reason Why You Should Save Those Leftover Ketchup Packets

updated Jun 9, 2021
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Ketchup packets on kitchen counter.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

Remember the Great Toilet Paper and Disinfecting Spray Shortages? And those nightmares of empty grocery store shelves? The pandemic made a mess of the economy, including that little thing called supply and demand, as some unexpected items became nearly impossible to find.

Mini ketchup packets included! After more than a year of people ordering easy takeout and drive-thru meals (instead of eating in the establishment), single-serving ketchup packets became scarce. If you were lucky enough to find any in your takeout bag these last few months, hopefully you didn’t throw them away. For one, because unnecessary waste is bad! (Save these things and use them up before you open a new bottle of ketchup!)

Credit: Sarah Crowley

But also because leftover ketchup packets — when frozen — are perfect for soothing little ones’ owies. Whether it’s a mosquito bite, a paper cut, a minor burn, or any boo boo in between, paying attention to and doing something about bumps and bruises allows children to feel seen, heard, and cared for. At my house, we’ve traditionally grabbed packs of frozen veggies, but they’re big, and after an hour or so thawing at room temperature, they can get messy with condensation. Plus, if they melt too much, I’m left with a solid block of frozen peas or corn once the bags are back in the freezer. 

Tiny condiment packs have none of these issues and work just as well to comfort kiddos. And, better yet, they’re exactly the right size for small hands! When the moment passes, just put the “first aid packs” back in the freezer for future use. You might even find that you want to use them for yourself: They make for a handy, inexpensive beauty treatment for puffy eyes right before that morning Zoom call.

Do you have any clever uses for condiment packets? Tell us in the comments below.