Tomato paste is a common ingredient in most cuisines around the world. But most dishes only need a few spoonfuls of it, which means that you end up opening a fresh can only to have most of it go to waste.
Making it fresh every time is not an option for everyone, which means that it is important to know how long tomato paste lasts in the fridge. It doesn’t feel great to throw away half-used cans and it doesn’t help if you’re trying to save money either.
There are some tips and tricks to make tomato paste last longer. Read on for everything you need to know about storing tomato paste and its shelf-life in the fridge.
The Right Way to Store Tomato Paste
Tomato paste needs to be stored the same way whether it comes in a can, a glass jar or a tube. Unopened containers of tomato paste can be kept out of the fridge as long as they stay in a cool and dry spot.
If you are keeping it in a kitchen cabinet, make sure it is away from the stove or any other source of heat. Glass jars obviously need to be kept out of the sunlight; otherwise, they might shatter.
A pantry is a good place for storing unopened tomato paste. Just make sure it doesn’t get hot and stays dry.
Opened containers of tomato paste should be kept in the fridge. Remember to put the lid back on or cover the mouth if it doesn’t come with a resealable lid.
You can wrap it with plastic and use a rubber band to secure it or transfer the paste into an airtight container. Using a glass jar or plastic container is better as it is an eco-friendly method of storing tomato paste.
As you probably already know, tomato paste doesn’t have a very long shelf-life. Storing it the right way can increase its shelf-life and keep it fresh for a longer time.
Can Tomato Paste be Frozen?
Tomato paste can be stored in the freezer too. It tastes a little different when you defrost it, but the change isn’t all that noticeable since tomato paste is usually cooked before it is eaten.
You can always put the rest of the tomato paste in a freezer-friendly container and chuck it in, but there are other ways of freezing it too.
The most convenient way is to use ice trays. It is easy and doesn’t take too long. Here’s how you do it:
- Dole out the tomato paste into the tray.
- Keep the tray inside the freezer. The cubes will be frozen solid in a few hours.
- Take the tomato paste out of the freezer and put them in freezer bags. Stick a label with the date on the bags for convenience.
- Keep the bags in the freezer.
This way, it takes up less space in the freezer and all you need to do later is to wash the ice trays. You can just take out as many cubes as you need for your recipe and the rest will stay safe in the freezer.
You don’t need to thaw the entire batch every time you need tomato paste and you can even skip thawing and put the cubes directly into the dish you’re cooking. If you need larger potions, you can use muffin trays too.
What Is the Shelf-Life of Tomato Paste?
First of all, look at the date mentioned on the label. It is not an expiry date. Tomato paste has a best-by date, which means that there is a decline in quality past that date, but it is still safe to eat.
Unopened containers of tomato paste stay good for months after the best-by date. As we said, the quality might decline a little, but it will still be safe to eat unless there is a problem with the container.
After opening, tomato paste stays good for about 5-7 days if it is in a can. Glass jars are slightly better and keep tomato paste safe for a couple more days.
If you want it to stay good for a longer time, you can freeze it. Another option is to buy tubs of tomato paste. They can last anywhere between 1 month to 45 days, which is a lot more than canned tomato paste.
However, they are a lot more expensive, so buying glass jars or cans of tomato paste and storing the paste in the freezer is the best choice.
Related: Food Storing Guide: Storage Times For The Refrigerator And Freezer
How to Know If Tomato Paste Has Gone Bad
The most noticeable sign of spoilage in tomato paste is mold. If there is any mold in the paste or the container, it is time to say goodbye to it. Mold can also look like discoloration.
A bad smell is another indicator of spoiled tomato paste. Sometimes tomato paste gets watery when it is old.
At this point, it is still technically safe to eat, but there is a very noticeable change in the taste. You don’t want to spoil whatever dish you are making with tomato paste that tastes bad, so it is better to cut your losses and get some fresh paste.
If you don’t see any of the above signs, the tomato paste is good to go. Taste a tiny amount to double-check and you can be sure that it is safe to eat.
People can usually tell when something has gone bad from its look or smell. Trust your instinct; if the tomato paste feels off to you, it is most probably not safe to eat. You should get rid of it rather than take chances.
Tomato paste is used in almost every household around the world. It is a necessary component of most curries and gravies and most people use it almost every day.
Since it is such a common ingredient, it is important to know how to store it the right way and to be able to tell when it has gone bad. We hope our breakdown has helped you understand how to store tomato paste properly.