Pasta, meatloaf, stews, tacos, and sauces! They just taste better when you have tomato paste in the mix, right? This pantry staple is a concentrated version of tomato sauce minus some added flavorings. It serves as a base ingredient for cooking the most delicious recipe you can imagine with it.
How many times did it happen to you that you always end up having leftover tomato paste in your fridge? After all, not a lot of recipes will require you to use a whole can of tomato paste, especially when you are just cooking for a few people. Well, that is indeed the sad part because when you open a can of tomato paste, you will only need a tablespoon or two, but there is so much left in the can. It’s still the same story even if you have bought the smallest can or pouch in the market. So, what do you do with the rest?
You may even agree that you will only remember it again when it is time for you to clean the insides of the fridge, only to find it at the farthest part that there is an old leftover tomato paste that has already turned black because of molds. Don’t feel guilty, though. We all have experienced that. It just happens that we just sometimes forget about them.
In this post, you will explore the storage, shelf life, and spoilage of tomato paste. And, we will give you extra solutions on what to do with the leftover tomato paste that you have left after cooking. Just read on and enjoy!
How to store tomato paste?
Tomato paste comes in cans, jars, tubes, or glass for most, and other countries have tomato paste in pouches too. Earlier, we have acknowledged that tomato paste is a staple ingredient for most recipes and that most of these recipes only require a minimal amount of it. Yep, that is the worst thing about this red puree paste. Either of the kind, it can be more problematic for you to store it as you have to find a suitable food container to preserve the leftover tomato paste for future use.
Whatever kind of package of tomato paste you bought from the store, the storage application is basically the same.
How to freeze tomato paste?
Yes! It is great news that you can actually freeze tomato paste. It is an option you can choose, especially if you see that you are not going to use the leftover tomato paste anytime soon. So, you can have them frozen for a few more months! At last! We got a solution! Now, you do not have to “punish” yourself for forcing your meals to be tomato-based for the next few days just because you have opened a pack of tomato paste.
However, the only disadvantage of freezing tomato paste is that its quality will slightly weaken once you have it thawed. But that’s just it. Anyway, you are going to use tomato paste to cook your dishes. You can do some cooking tricks to achieve a good-tasting quality of your dish. Such a slight change in the taste of your tomato paste will hardly be noticeable in your cooked dish.
Okay! As mentioned earlier, you may transfer the tomato paste inside a freezer-safe container or a freezer bag and then toss it into the freezer. To be a little more creative, grab your ice cube trays!
Freezing your tomato paste in the ice cube trays is easy, and it does not require you to make so much effort. Here’sHere’s how to do it:
It is so easy, right? Don’tDon’t forget to wash your ice cube trays after using it!
And oh! If you do not have some ice cube trays or they just happened to be in use at the moment, you can use a muffin or cupcake pan to mold and freeze it. This way, you’ll have a bigger portion or serving compared to the small cubes of your ice cube tray.
Still got no muffin or cupcake pan? There is still a way! Grab a tablespoon and do it this way:
The advantage of freezing your tomato paste is that it would be easier for you to just get what you need for a recipe out of your freezer. You do not even have to thaw it if your recipe requires cooking soups, sauces, and the like.
Of course, as you already know, tomato paste doesn’t last that long. Fortunately, with only a bit of extra work, we can prolong its shelf life for months.
Can tomato paste go bad?
Yes, it goes bad. It spoils faster once you have already opened a pack of tomato paste. As mentioned earlier, all the time, we don’t get to consume all of the tomato paste in a container, and we end up tossing it in the fridge and forget about it. Storing it in unfavorable conditions will spoil your tomato paste faster.
How long does tomato paste last?
Let’s say your tomato paste’s shelf life relies mainly on the storage conditions it is in.
Any commercially produced tomato paste that is packed and distributed to the markets typically comes with a “Best-By” day, “Best if Used By,” date, “Best Before” date, or “Best When Used By” date. However, that does not imply a safety date. That is only the manufacturer’s estimate on how long their tomato paste product can hold its peak quality.
Under ideal room temperature storage or in the pantry, an unopened pack of tomato paste can generally retain its best quality for about a year and a half to two years.
Tomato paste in tubs has a shelf life that can extend up to 45 days even after you have opened it.
An opened jar of tomato paste can last 7 to 10 days in the refrigerator.
For canned tomato paste, you can still have it stored beyond its “best by” date for another six months. Ensure that it is away from the sun’s exposure, and it should always be placed in a cool place. Once it is opened, it can last in the fridge for three to seven days.
Any refrigerated leftover tomato paste that is stored or transferred in an airtight food container can last for three to seven days.
If you wonder whether or not it is still safe to consume an already expired unopened can or a pack of tomato paste, provided that you have kept it stored adequately with no signs of damages, yes, you can still open that for use. After some time, your tomato paste’s quality in terms of color, texture, or flavor may change a little bit, but it can still be useful for consumption.
How to tell if your tomato paste has gone bad?