Tomato paste, an intensely concentrated tomato sauce, is a valuable kitchen essential. Crafted by simmering and straining tomatoes, then reducing the mixture to a thick consistency, it comes in various variations with additives like citric acid, salt, herbs, or spices.
Some are even double or triple-concentrated, but improper freezing can lead to spoilage.
So Can You Freeze Tomato Paste, And If Yes Then How Do We Freeze It?
Yes, you can freeze tomato pasta. It stays good for 2–3 months. To do so, cool it, portion it into airtight containers, label it, and date it. Thaw in the fridge and reheat as needed, making for a convenient meal option.
How To Freeze Tomato Paste?
Freezing tomato paste is a handy solution for preserving this kitchen staple when you have more than you can use in one go. With the right approach, you can keep it fresh for several months. Here’s how:
- Portion Control: Before freezing, consider portioning the tomato paste. Use an ice cube tray, or silicone molds, or spoon it onto a baking sheet in small portions. Once frozen, transfer the portions to an airtight container or a zip-top bag.
- Seal It Tight: Ensure an airtight seal to prevent freezer burn. Remove as much air as possible from the container or bag.
- Labeling: Don’t forget to label with the date, so you can keep track of its freshness.
- Freeze: Place the sealed container or bag in the freezer. Tomato paste can be safely stored for up to six months.
- Thawing: When you need tomato paste for your recipes, transfer the required portion to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw slowly.
- Storing: If you only need a small amount, consider buying tomato paste in a tube. This way, you can easily squeeze out what you need without the hassle of freezing and thawing.
How to Keep Tomato Sauce for Longer?
Here are some tips for making tomato sauce last longer:
- Refrigerate unused tomato sauce in an airtight container. It will be kept for 5-7 days.
- Freeze sauce in freezer bags or containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Frozen, it will keep for 2-3 months.
- Can the tomato sauce be in jars using a water bath canner? Home canned sauce stored in a cool, dark place will last 12 months or longer.
- Cook the sauce down. Simmer until reduced by half. The reduction process boosts flavor and acidity for longer-lasting sauce.
- Add acid like lemon juice or citric acid when cooking. The extra acid helps control bacteria growth.
- Store cooked sauce in the freezer. Freeze in portions for easy use later.
- Prevent contamination and food safety issues by following good kitchen practices when making sauce.
How To Tell if Tomato Paste Has Gone Bad?
Check for these signs that indicate tomato paste has spoiled and should be discarded:
- Mold growth – fuzziness, dry fuzz, or slimy mold on the surface means tossing it.
- Off odors – spoiled tomato paste gives off unpleasant odors. Discard if the smell is vinegary, alcohol-like, or unpleasant.
- Change in consistency – separation of oil or watery liquid is a sign of spoilage.
- Discoloration – faded, grey, or dark spots means degradation has occurred.
- Can rust, bulging, or dents – damage to the can compromise safety. Do not consume contents.
- Expired date – paste well beyond the ‘best by’ date has decreased quality and safety.
When unsure, remember the golden rule: If in doubt, throw it out! Rely on your senses. Frozen tomato paste with freezer burn or signs of thawing and refreezing is also unsafe to eat.
How to Thaw Tomato Paste?
Thaw frozen tomato paste overnight by transferring it from the freezer to the refrigerator. This slower thawing helps maintain quality.
For a quick thaw, place the frozen tomato paste in a bowl of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes so it stays cold. Gently turn the bag over in the water as it thaws.
Microwave thawing is not recommended. Microwaves heat unevenly and can cause hot spots that affect the color and flavor of tomato paste.
Once thawed, use the tomato paste immediately. Do not refreeze thawed tomato paste. Make sure the thawed paste retains its typical texture and scent before use. If signs of spoilage, discard them immediately.
How To Use Tomato Paste?
Tomato paste is a versatile pantry staple that boosts flavor. Here are some ways to use it:
- Add 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste to stews, chili, soup, or braised meat to add rich umami flavor.
- Mix 1-2 tablespoons into ground meat as a binder and season before making burgers or meatballs.
- Stir a tablespoon into rice or grains before cooking for added flavor.
- Whisk tomato paste into tomato sauce or gravy as a thickening agent.
- Make a quick pasta sauce by sautéing garlic in olive oil, then adding tomato paste and cooking for 2-3 minutes. Finish with red wine.
- Add tomato paste to roasted vegetables like eggplant or mushrooms. The rich sweetness balances out the bitterness.
- Blend tomato paste with chickpeas, tahini, lemon, and spices for quick hummus.
- Use in marinades and rubs for meats. The natural glutamates boost savory flavors.
Refrigerate leftover paste in an airtight container for 5-7 days. Freeze portions for longer storage.
How To Store Tomato Paste?
Follow these tips for properly storing tomato paste:
- Store unopened cans in a cool, dry pantry away from direct sunlight. Avoid storage above the stove or near heat sources.
- Write the purchase date on cans with a marker. Use the first-in first-out method, moving older cans to the front.
- After opening, transfer the paste to an airtight container and refrigerate. Use within 5-7 days for best quality.
- To freeze, divide into 1/4 or 1/2 cup portions in freezer bags or airtight containers. Remove excess air.
- Place bags flat in the freezer until solid, then stack. Frozen tomato paste keeps 6-8 months at 0°F.
- Look for signs of spoilage before use – mold, off smells, texture changes, or corrosion. Discard if compromised.
- Do not store the paste in the can. Transfer to a container once opened. Tin can corrode over time, contaminating food.
- When freezing, leave 1/2 inch headspace in containers as the paste will expand when frozen.
With proper storage methods, tomato paste can be kept on hand and ready to use in recipes. Its concentrated flavor makes tomato paste a handy staple.
Q1. What’s the best way to freeze tomato paste?
A1. The best way is to freeze tomato paste in an airtight container leaving headspace, or in ice cube trays.
Q2. Why can’t you freeze tomato paste?
A2. You can freeze tomato paste. Freezing it in airtight packaging prevents freezer burn.
Q3. Can you freeze canned tomato paste after opening?
A3. Yes, leftover canned tomato paste can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Q4. Can you freeze tomato paste in a Ziploc bag?
A4. Yes, but an airtight rigid container is better to prevent freezer burn. Remove excess air from the bag.
Q5. How do you store tomato paste long-term?
A5. For the long term, freeze tomato paste in airtight freezer containers leaving 1⁄2 inch headspace.
Q6. How do you defrost frozen tomato paste?
A6. Defrost frozen tomato paste overnight in the refrigerator. Use immediately after thawing.