It’s easy to buy a tube or can of tomato paste and not to use it all. After all, you don’t need a lot of it for a dish. Yes, you can stick the leftovers in the fridge but the paste probably won’t last longer than a week. So, what do you do with the leftovers? The answer is simple, freeze them.
It’s so easy to freeze tomato paste and only takes a few minutes. In addition, when it is defrosted, it tastes just as good as it did when it was fresh. There really aren’t any downsides to freezing tomato paste (see also Can You Freeze Tomato Juice) and in this article, we will tell you how to freeze it, how to defrost it, and how to use it once it has been defrosted.
Freezing Tomato Paste
Here’s a step-by-step guide to freezing tomato paste.
- Take a baking sheet and line it with plastic wrap or a silicone mat. You need to have a lining otherwise the tomato paste will stick to the tray.
- The next step is to portion the paste. You don’t need a lot of tomato paste for a dish, so take a teaspoon and put a dollop of tomato paste on it. Then drop this on the baking tray. Repeat until you have all the tomato paste in dollops on the baking tray. If you think you might need to use larger dollops, you could always use a tablespoon. The choice is yours, but you can always use more than one dollop if needed.
- Flash freeze the dollops. Put the baking tray into the freezer and leave for a few hours. The dollops shouldn’t be touching each other. In this way, they won’t stick together when you put them in a freezer bag.
- The next step is to take the baking tray out of the freezer and transfer the dollops into a freezer bag. It is best to use a spatula to put the dollops in the bag. Your fingers will start melting the tomato paste as soon as you touch them. Then squeeze all the air out of the bag. If you don’t, you might get freezer burn on your tomato paste. This can alter the taste and texture of your tomato taste and it might not be as appetizing. This could change the whole flavor of your dish.
- Put a label on the bag with the contents and the freezing date. It is all too easy to forget when you put food in the freezer, especially if you freeze lots of items. You don’t want your tomato paste languishing in the freezer long after it should have been used. Generally, if food is kept longer in the freezer than it should be, it doesn’t become detrimental to your health, but the taste and texture will probably change and it won’t be as tasty.
- The final step is to put the freezer bag in the freezer.
There is an alternative to the dollops and that is freezing the tomato paste in an ice cube tray. It may take a little more time to get the paste in the tray, but the cubes will end up an equal size.
What is the Length of Time That You Can Keep Tomato Paste in the Freezer?
You can keep tomato paste in the freezer for at least six months, if not longer. This is because it doesn’t contain a lot of moisture. If you freeze something with a high water content, the food can be compromised. The moisture will remain on the food and you won’t have the pure product. If tomato paste had a lot of moisture, it would be watery when defrosted and this would impact your recipe.
There’s no rush to use the tomato paste dollops or cubes, but, as with any other food, the sooner you use or eat them, the better the taste will be.
How to Defrost Tomato Paste
The time will come when you need to defrost the tomato paste and there are two ways of doing this. Just choose the one that suits your circumstances the best.
Defrosting Tomato Paste in the Fridge
If you have frozen one teaspoon dollops of tomato paste, it will take one to two hours for them to defrost. If you have frozen larger dollops, it will, of course, take longer. To defrost them, put them separately on a plate. In this way, they won’t mix together. You can put them in an airtight container, but then the tomato paste may mix. Of course, you can just take a teaspoon out of the container at a time so there isn’t really that much of a problem. It is better not to defrost the dollops in the freezer bag, as it will be difficult to get some of the paste out and you will probably waste some.
It is essential to thaw out the tomato paste if you are using it in something like a pizza sauce as you would then want to just spread it on the pizza.
Forget About Thawing
You don’t always need to thaw your tomato paste in the fridge. If you are preparing a dish on the stove such as soup, chili, or goulash, you can just throw the dollops in. It won’t take long for them to melt into the dish, just a few minutes in fact. Give the pot a few stirs so that the tomato paste is incorporated into the dish.
An advantage of doing this is that you don’t have to remember to thaw out the tomato paste. It is all too easy to start preparing a meal and then remembering that you haven’t defrosted the tomato paste.
How to Use Thawed Tomato Paste
As we have said, tomato paste freezes very well so there is nothing stopping you from freezing it for future use. The great thing is that it tastes the same as it did before it was frozen. It can be used in innumerable dishes including soups, stews, casseroles, chillies, sauces, and pizzas. You are in a win-win situation when you freeze tomato paste.