Little sauce packets. We hang onto them because they’re too small to notice much, or because we don’t want to throw them out if they haven’t been used. But at some point they have to spoil, right? We now have a pretty definitive answer on their shelf lives. Plus: today’s the start of the annual Corn Palace Festival in Mitchell, South Dakota.

What’s the Shelf Life of a Ketchup Packet? (HowStuffWorks)

Taco Bell gives man ‘saved’ by hot sauce packets while stuck in snow free food for a year (Fox2Now)

Corn Palace Festival (Travel South Dakota)

Keep Cool Weird Awesome shelf-stable as a backer on Patreon!

We’re way behind on our coverage of condiments, so today we’re gonna ketchup…

I’m talking about those little sauce packets from fast food places. Go through your kitchen or the storage areas of your car and at the very least you’ve probably got a few of those little ketchup packets floating around somewhere in your world.

And we hang onto them either because they’re too small to notice much, or because we don’t want to throw them out if they haven’t been used.

But at some point they have to spoil, right? They can’t last forever.

Well, we have close to a definitive answer.

Meg Sparwath of HowStuffWorks went to the source, ketchup giant Kraft Heinz, and they said that little ketchup packets have shelf lives of around nine months.

After that, they’re probably still ok to consume, but the flavor starts to taper off.

Now, common sense is important here. If you have a ketchup packet that was a proud sponsor of the Summer Games a couple decades ago, or is swelling up like Violet Beauregarde in Willy Wonka’s factory, then don’t consume it.

But if it’s relatively recent, and looks and smells ok, it’s probably a keeper. Not to say you’ll need little sauce packets in an emergency, but there was that truck driver who ate hot sauce packets for days when he was stuck in the snow… I mean, these things happen, right?

Here’s what’s happening in Mitchell, South Dakota: the annual Corn Palace Festival. The World’s Only Corn Palace is a concrete structure, but it’s covered in murals made of corn, in more than a dozen colors. And the festival is when they unveil the new murals, so it’s your chance to get in on the ground floor of the hottest large-scale corn art installation.

Can’t make it? There is a 24/7 Corn Palace webcam, so a little Corn Palace is never too far away.