Tomato paste is a great, inexpensive ingredient to stock in your kitchen. It can be used to make delicious and comforting pasta sauce and stews and make an excellent base for many other dishes. You will soon learn the one method that has worked for many years – how to preserve tomato paste.
When you open a can of tomato paste, it may not seem like much, but you’ll soon find that it goes a long way. And while canned tomato paste can be stored in your pantry unopened for up to one year, if you’re not going to use it right away, there are other ways to preserve it.
Tomato paste is widely used in Haitian cooking. It is used to make our Haitian spaghetti and brown meat version to add color to our favorite Haitian stew recipes and many other dishes. It’s also one item that goes bad very quickly and can quickly be improperly stored or preserved. Fortunately, there are many ways to preserve leftover tomato paste. But in this post, you’ll discover one of the tips that have worked for me and many other people (primarily Haitian and Caribbean, to my knowledge) for many years.
What is tomato paste?
Before learning how to preserve tomato paste, it is good to know a little bit of information about it. Tomato paste is a thick, concentrated tomato sauce with a deep red color. It’s popular in many cuisines and can add rich flavor and texture. It is sold in cans, jars, and tubes.
Chefs and home cooks use it to add flavor to dishes. It’s perfect if you’re making a sauce or soup that needs to be cooked down because it can help bind everything together without becoming too watery (as long as you don’t overdo it). It’s also great for adding flavor without too much liquid—remember that tomato paste contains some water, so use it sparingly!
How to store or preserve tomato paste
If you have leftover tomato paste, don’t let it go to waste. Here’s how to preserve your leftover tomato paste so you can use it later:
- Purchase a glass container or mason jar for storing the tomato paste only.
- Clean and sanitize the jar and dry it – remove any excess water. (this step is very important
- Pour a little oil into the mason jar and ensure that the jar’s interior is well coated. This will prevent the oxidization of the paste in the jar.
- Spoon the tomato paste into the jar.
- Pour the oil into the jar until about 1/4 inch of oil covers the top of the tomato paste. You want enough space between the top of the oil and the lid for air circulation so mold doesn’t grow inside your jar!
- Then, put the lid on tight, and store the jar in your refrigerator until you’re ready to use it again!
It’s an excellent method for preserving leftover tomato paste and only takes about 30 seconds to execute.
How to use tomato paste
Tomato paste is a staple of many recipes, from sauces to soups to pasta. It adds a rich, deep flavor that can’t be replicated with other ingredients. But there are some tricks for using this versatile ingredient that you might not know.
- If you want to use tomato paste in your recipe, try adding it to thicken the sauce or soup at the end of cooking rather than at the beginning. This will give you a more concentrated flavor without needing to add more liquid later on.
- If you’re making a sauce or marinade that needs to simmer, add a little sugar to the mix before adding any liquid. This will help caramelize the sugars in the tomato paste and give you even more depth of flavor when cooking!
- If you’re making a dish that calls for a lot of tomatoes (like pasta sauce), consider adding some tomato paste as well as fresh tomatoes. The paste will help keep things smooth and consistent while giving it an extra kick!
Additional tips for preserving tomato paste and Method #2
We recommend storing the tomato paste in glass jars. They’re sturdier and more environmentally friendly. Tomatoes’ low acidity means that mason jars are also an excellent choice for this method since they help retain flavor longer. However, plastic and aluminum are both safe to use.
- One teaspoon of tomato paste makes roughly 1/2 cup of tomato sauce when cooked – so use as much as the recipe calls for.
- There’s no need to add oil to the jar before adding the tomato paste. The oil will eventually go down to the bottom.
- Store unopened tomato paste in a cool, dark place. The pantry is a good option.
- Once opened, store tomato paste in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days.
- To extend the shelf life of opened tomato paste, you can freeze it. Freeze it in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. Or add the oil for a longer shelf life.
- When freezing tomato paste, it’s best to do so in small portions so you can thaw only what you need. You can freeze it in tablespoon-sized dollops on a baking sheet, then transfer the frozen dollops to a freezer bag.
- When thawing tomato paste, do so in the refrigerator overnight. Do not thaw tomato paste at room temperature.
Takeaways to preserve tomato paste
You can follow either method for preserving tomato paste. This will help you recycle your leftover tomato paste. Because of its versatility and usefulness, tomato paste can be turned into a product that lasts much longer than the actual tomato. By following the steps above, you won’t have to throw away the leftover paste from your cans of tomatoes. Instead, you can enjoy it for weeks to come.