Q. I use tomato paste in a few recipes I like to make, but I find that I never need the whole container. I like to buy the small cans of tomato paste, because they are inexpensive and convenient. I’ve tried refrigerating the leftovers, but they start to grow mold before I have the chance to use them again. I think that it's a waste to only use a few tablespoons of a can of tomato paste and then throw the rest out each time I need it, but I’m not sure how else to preserve it. Can you freeze tomato paste?
A. Yes, you can freeze tomato paste! In fact, because it has a very low water content, it actually freezes quite well and resists freezer burn easily. Still, it must be packaged carefully to avoid taking on the flavours of other items in the freezer. If using tomato paste from a metal can, it must be removed from the original container before freezing. It is best to use fresh tomato paste for freezing, and to freeze it as soon as possible after opening. Once opened, store the tomato paste in the refrigerator until ready to freeze.
How to Freeze Tomato Paste?
It may make the most sense to freeze tomato paste in single use serving sizes, to avoid the need to defrost large quantities at once and risk having some left over. To do this, you will need a spoon and an ice cube tray. Scoop out about 1 large tablespoon of the tomato paste at a time, and place the scoops into an ice cube tray. Freeze the cubes in the ice cube tray until frozen through. Remove the tray from the freezer, and pop out the tomato paste cubes. Place the cubes into a small freezer bag. Squeeze out the excess air and seal the bag. Label the bag and date it. Tomato paste will last up to a year in the freezer without losing taste or consistency.
Alternatively, the entire remainder of the container can simply be scooped out and placed in a freezer bag. Squeeze out the excess air, seal and label the bag before placing in the freezer.
How to Thaw Tomato Paste?
To thaw tomato paste, remove the desired number of cubes from the freezer bag and place them in a small bowl in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight, until thawed completely. Alternatively, the cubes can be added directly to recipes such as soups, stews, or sauces, as they will thaw during the cooking process. For best results, use thawed tomato paste cubes within 24-48 hours of thawing. Discard any excess.