Tomato puree is versatile and is a handy ingredient in many dishes. The most basic use is in sauces and dips. Use it as the base on a pizza or in pasta sauces such as puttanesca and Napolitano.
Try it in soups, stews, and any other dish where you want a tangy tomato flavor (see also Freezing Mariana Sauce) but not the texture of chopped tomatoes. Add it to chili con carne or curry or dahl. Bean and pasta soup is delicious as is beef goulash. Tomato puree not only adds flavor but it gives you extra vitamins and minerals. Yes, you can buy tomato puree but what is better than making your own?
You can then add the herbs and spices you want to your dish. Basil and oregano are delicious if you are making pizza or pasta while cumin and cilantro are great in chili. However, is it possible to make a big batch of it and then freeze some?
The simple answer is yes, and you can easily divide it into portions with different flavorings so you have ready-made tomato puree whenever you need it. In this article, we will tell you how to freeze tomato puree and how to defrost it (see also Can You Freeze Tomatoes?).
How To Freeze Tomato Puree
There are two different ways in which you can freeze tomato puree, that is, either in freezer bags or in the slots of an ice cube tray. It all depends on how much puree you need for your recipe. You might want it to be the predominant flavor or, on the other hand, you may want just a hint of tomato.
How To Freeze Tomato Puree in Freezer Bags
If you want the tomato puree to be dominant as in a pasta or pizza sauce, you should freeze it in freezer bags. Generally, you will want around 200 gr for a recipe. This is the way to freeze it:
1. Make the puree, adding whatever flavorings you want.
2. Cool down the puree.
You don’t want to put the puree in the freezer while it is still warm as it will bring up the temperature and other food will start to defrost and may spoil. Don’t leave the puree out at room temperature for longer than two hours as after this time, bacteria may start to develop. To speed up the cooling process, transfer the puree into a cold bowl.
3. Put the puree into freezer bags.
Make sure that you divide it into meal-size portions so that you only defrost what you need for one recipe. This saves waste. Squeeze out all the air so that freezer burn doesn’t occur as this will ruin the taste and texture of your puree. Don’t fill the bag up to the top as the puree will expand and your bag could burst and make a mess in your freezer. Alternatively, you can use airtight containers. Put labels on the bags or containers with the date and contents.
If you are using bags, lay them flat as it makes it easier to store them.
How To Freeze Tomato Puree In An Ice Cube Tray
This is a great method if you just want to add a little puree to your dish. You can even add a couple of cubes to your smoothie or juice. This is the way to freeze tomato puree in an ice cube tray:
1. Make and cool down your tomato puree.
2. Put the tomato puree into the slots of an ice cube tray,
Alternatively, you could use muffin molds if you want larger portions. Whichever you use, make sure that you don’t fill them up to the top as the tomato puree will expand when put in the freezer.
3. Flash freeze.
Put the ice cube tray or muffin molds in the freezer and leave them to freeze for about two to three hours. They should be frozen solid by this time.
4. Put the cubes in a freezer bag.
Squeeze out all the air so that freezer burn doesn’t occur. Put a label on the bag with the date and contents.
5. Put the bag in the freezer.
Tips For Freezing Tomato Puree
- Make sure that your freezer bags are airtight so that freezer burn doesn’t occur. Freezer burn will ruin the taste and texture of your tomato puree.
- Put a label on the freezer bags particularly if you have frozen several freezer bags of tomato puree with different flavors. There’s no way you will be able to tell what flavor the tomato puree is by just looking at it.
- Think about how much tomato puree you need for your dish and freeze accordingly, either in freezer bags if you need a lot or in the slots of an ice cube tray if you need a little.
- Experiment with different flavors. Garlic is always a good addition as are fresh herbs such as basil, thyme, oregano, and marjoram. Chili, cumin, and cilantro add a touch of spice and nutmeg goes surprisingly well in savory dishes, especially in a vegetable recipe. Try roasted vegetable casserole with tomato puree and nutmeg.
For How Long Can You Freeze Tomato Puree?
Tomato puree lasts for up to six months in the freezer so it’s a great idea to make up a big batch and freeze it in portions for future use. This will save you lots of time. Think about what meals you want to make and flavor the tomato puree accordingly. The flavors will become more intense with freezing but if you don’t know what you are going to make you can still add the herbs and spices after you have defrosted the tomato puree. Just remember that the flavors won’t be as strong.
How Do You Defrost Tomato Puree?
There are different ways in which you can defrost tomato puree. If you are defrosting a freezer bag of puree, put it in the fridge overnight. You can also defrost it in the microwave on the defrost setting but you need to be careful otherwise you can ruin the texture of the tomato puree. To do this, take the puree out of the bag and put it in a bowl. Microwave it for a few seconds, stir, and then microwave again. Repeat until the puree has thawed out. Some dishes allow you to put the frozen tomato puree straight in. This works well with sauces.
If you have frozen your tomato puree in an ice cube tray, don’t bother defrosting. Just pop the cubes straight into the dish or drink.
Can You Refreeze Tomato Puree?
If you don’t use all the tomato puree, it is better to throw the rest away rather than refreeze it. Taste and texture change with freezing and defrosting and while you might not notice it the first time around, you will tell the difference the second time around. In addition, refreezing increases the chances of bacteria growing. However, if you have used tomato puree in a dish and have some of the dish left over, you can refreeze this.
Is It A Good Idea To Freeze Tomato Puree?
Yes, it is a good idea to freeze tomato puree. It doesn’t split because the fruit has already been broken down. It can be frozen either in freezer bags or in the slots of an ice cube tray, depending on how much you need for your recipe. There can be a slight change in texture because it contains a lot of water but once you use the tomato puree in a dish you won’t notice the difference.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing tomato puree but in case you still have questions, we will answer a few here.
Yes, you can but you will probably need more of it than tomato puree for a dish, so we recommend that you just freeze it in freezer bags, not in an ice cube tray. Lay out the freezer bags flat so they don’t take up too much room in the freezer. It is best to defrost passata in the fridge overnight as that helps it to retain its texture. Passata is good when used in pasta sauce or soup.
Yes, you can, whether they are whole, chopped, or diced. As you will probably use a lot of them in any dish, you will need to freeze them in freezer bags.
You can but the shelf-life of shop-bought tomato puree is long so there isn’t much point. You can keep it in the fridge for a few weeks.