How To Freeze Canned Tomato Paste ~ Ideas for how to freeze canned tomato paste so it does not go to waste after the can has been opened!
Canned tomato paste is a handy ingredient to use in cooking but often only a small amount needs to be added to a recipe. The problem then becomes what to do with the remaining tomato paste.
What is Tomato Paste?
Tomato Paste is a concentrated puree made from tomatoes that have been cooked for several hours to reduce the moisture content of the tomatoes. Afterwards the tomatoes are strained to remove the skin and the seeds. Then the contents are cooked again to make a thick and intensely red coloured and flavoured paste.
What Is Tomato Paste Used For?
I like to add tomato paste to soups, stews, pasta dishes and casseroles. A small amount goes a long way to add a richer colour and more intense tomato flavour without adding more liquid to a cooked dish. It also can act as a thickener.
I prefer to only add a small amount because adding too much can spoil the flavour and give it too much of a tomato flavour. The problem then becomes what to do with the extra tomato paste because it is usually purchased as a canned product.
My Issues With Buying Canned Tomato Paste
Tomato paste can be homemade, purchased in squeeze tubes and in cans in the canned tomato section in the grocery store. It is pretty common to buy it in the small 6 oz. (177 ml) or the 13 oz. (396 ml) size. I try to avoid buying the smaller size because it is very inconvenient to work with. It is difficult to open with a can opener because of its small size and it is even more difficult to get a spoon into the narrow can and scrape out all of the tomato paste. It is a bit messy to work with because it is so thick and I inevitably get tomato paste on me trying to scoop it out. I have also scraped my hand on the rim of the open can trying to scrape out the paste from the bottom. So I just buy the larger convenient size.
As I mentioned earlier adding too much tomato paste can ruin the flavour of the dish. I tend to add about 2 – 4 tablespoons to a recipe depending upon the quantity that I am cooking. The problem then is what to do with the extra tomato paste leftover in the can? Here are some ideas for…
How To Freeze Canned Tomato Paste
There are few different things you can do to save the extra canned tomato paste. A common method is to open the both sides of the can with a can opener, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer. After it is frozen push the paste out of the can and slice it with a knife into smaller portions. Then pop the frozen smaller portions back into the freezer. I tried this idea and I did not really work for me.
Another idea is to freeze the canned tomato paste in ice cube trays. After the tomato paste is frozen pop the tomato paste cubes out of the tray them and store them in a resealable bag in the freezer. This is another idea that is not quite my favourite.
Another tip is to scoop the tomato paste out of the can and plop dollops onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and place it in the freezer. When the tomato paste dollops are frozen transfer them to a resealable bag. This idea is very convenient too but I prefer to wrap things really well that are being stored in the freezer.
The last idea and my favourite one is to create packages of the tomato paste ahead of time. Instead of waiting to work away a can of tomato paste while cooking I take the time to prepare pre-measured portions of tomato paste. This way the tomato paste is ready to be added to a recipe without a lot of fuss and mess.
I prefer to freeze the tomato paste packages in about ¼ cup portions wrapped in foil. The foil wrapping helps keep the tomato paste fresher longer.
There are several reasons for doing this. The paste will thaw more quickly. It is also easier to break the paste into smaller pieces before adding to the dish for faster cooking. The last reason is that I can also break off a smaller portion, re-wrap the remaining tomato paste and pop it back into the freezer for the next time.
Rather than label each package I just label an index card for the re-sealable bag with the quantity and the date the tomato paste packages were made. This makes a nice looking, neatly packaged, convenient to use pre-measured frozen tomato paste! When I notice my stash of tomato paste is running out I purchase another larger can and make a new batch to store in a new resealable bag newly labeled with a new date.
I wrap the tomato paste in foil and have not had any flavour issues. As a matter of fact I added some to the chicken fajitas I made last night and it was yummy. I like using foil because it makes nice neat air tight packages and is easy to work with. Another option is to first wrap the tomato paste in plastic wrap and then give it a foil cover. Tomato paste or any canned food should never be left in the can once it is opened.
So that is it! That is how to freeze canned tomato paste. It is quite inexpensive and you do not have to use very much. Taking the time to pre-measure and pre-package portions for the freezer just makes it even more inexpensive and convenient to use in your cooking!
It is quite surprising what other foods can be frozen. I invite you to check out these ideas too…
My family loves avocados and I tend to buy several at a time when I see them at Costco. They can be frozen into pre-measured packages too!
When lemons are on sale I like to buy extra and cut them up to use as frozen lemon slices in a glass of water.
Now it is your turn. What are your thoughts on freezing and using tomato paste? Are there other interesting foods that you buy and store in the freezer?
Thanks so much for stopping by!