Happy Friday! I’m sure you’re busy getting your big Friday night plans together, so I wanted to leave you with this quick how-to (new recipe tomorrow). If you’ve followed Budget Bytes for a while, you already know that I always freeze my leftover tomato paste. Why? Because, despite coming in a super small can, I rarely use the whole thing in one recipe. Instead of tossing the rest of the can, I keep the leftovers in the freezer, so I don’t have to buy a new can for the next recipe.
It sounds easy enough, but after freezing my tomato paste for years I’ve developed a better method for freezing and storing my leftover tomato paste. I used to just shove it in a freezer bag, squeeze it all down to the bottom, and pop it in the freezer. But that presented problems the next time I wanted to use it. How do you measure a frozen clump of tomato paste? What if I only wanted to use part of the clump? I would end up breaking off a chunk, never truly knowing how much I was using.
So this tutorial is for all of you who have been throwing away their partially used cans of tomato paste and those who have been just spooning it into a freezer bag like I used to. This is what you should be doing with your leftover tomato paste, and it’s as easy as 1-2-3.
How to Freeze Tomato Paste – Step by Step Photos
Step 1: Prepare the Tomato Paste
Measure your leftover tomato paste into 1 tablespoon dollops and place them on a plate or baking sheet covered in plastic wrap. The plastic wrap keeps the paste from sticking to the plate while they freeze and will be used to wrap the tomato paste within the freezer bag. Make sure the dollops are not touching, so they freeze individually and are easy to separate into 1 tablespoon servings later. Plate the plate or baking sheet into the freezer uncovered for 2-3 hours, or until the dollops are frozen solid.
Step 2: Transfer the Tomato Paste
Freezing the tomato paste uncovered on a flat surface helps them stay separated into individual lumps, but leaving them like that for an extended period will cause them to dry out and get freezer burn. So, as soon as they are solid you need to transfer them to an air-tight container for long term storage. I used a quart sized freezer bag, which I made sure to label with the contents. Just lift the plastic wrap up off the plate and wrap it around the balls and place the package inside the freezer bag. Since the balls are already frozen solid, they won’t fuze together if you just wrap them up in the plastic.
Step 3: Freeze for Long Term Storage
Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible before sealing, then return it to the freezer. Now you can just grab one or more lumps of tomato paste as needed for your next recipe! Because tomato paste has such a low moisture content to begin with, I find that they last quite a while in the freezer. I tend to use tomato paste often, so I’ve never had any in the freezer longer than 4-5 months, but it’s always maintained its quality up to that point.
So how about that? Pre-measured tomato paste ready and waiting to be used in your freezer. Because the lumps are small, I usually just drop them into whatever soup or sauce I’m using it in, straight from the freezer. They melt and stir in within moments.
I hope you found this quick tip useful! Have a great weekend!
This is a great tip, thank you.
Use a dollar store ice tray to store unused tomato paste.
Love the tomato paste guide to freezing
You have been a great help in the kitchen. Even though I thought I could cook, your recipes and hints help me shop better and make good food with less money.
Thank you, Nancy!
I’m going with the spoon method. Ice cube trays are too big. Fill each cube with paste, chances are you will still be wasting, and a half full cube is wasted freezer space. Those trays will take up a lot more room than the tablespoon-size dollops. But since I avoid plastic whenever possible, I’m dropping spoonfuls onto a plate lined with compostable parchment paper and transferring frozen dollops to a small, freezer-safe glass container with silicon sealed lid. The container is about half the size of an ice cube tray. The parchment paper can then separate layered dollops w/out wrapping them. Easy and efficient, Love that spoonful idea! Thanks much!
Just as a tip for those of us (like me) who won’t remember to transfer the paste into the bag after putting it in the freezer- You don’t have to do that step. I just individually plastic wrapped each tablespoon and put them in a bag together. No issues with leaking.
…both ur processes and the one in the article r ridiculous.
….just put in ice cube trays….geez…also do the same with concentrated soup broth(just take out one or 2 cubes, add water and u have a cup of soup), pasta sauce, etc….. only use ice cube trays which have silicone covers….u can put them in the freezer even on their sides and they do not collect odors and mold spores from the air in the fridge
…ur fridge, especially the new ones, have tons of mold spore floating around as the bottom section is connected at the back to the freezer and being there is no way to clean that chamber it fills with mold….found this out decades ago when I just for the hell of it tore an old fridge apart and was discussed with the amount of mold….every 6 months wipe down the entire fridge interior with a natural disinfectant (vinegar) as do my best to use NO chemicals….then place bowl with about 2 oz of pure vinegar, u can use bleach as ur food should all be in sealed containers that way if the item gets moldy it will not be spread thruout ur fridge
I had bought a can of tomato paste the other day for cooking, and I was thinking about how I always end up tossing the rest! This saved me! Just put mine into the freezer now!
Whenever I open afresh tube of Tomato Puree – or Garlic Puree – I use what I need and then freeze the remainder in Ice-Cube Trays. Once frozen, I then put them into Zip-lock Bags – which I re-use after using the last of the contents!
You may find that the Garlic Puree needs to be wrapped in TWO zip-locks ;-)!!!!!
No more wasted tubes of Puree as they have to be used within a very limited space of time.
Wonderful advice! I waste so much. And I need it with almost everything I cook.
WOW! I’ve been wasting tomato paste for years
THANK YOU SO MUCH!! You made my Day👍🙋
Hi, not sure if anyone has mentioned it, but I use ice cube trays to portion the paste. Once it is frozen, you can just pop them out into a freezer bag.
Just did this! Glad i won’t be wasting anymore tomato paste! Thanks