How to Store Leftover Tomato Paste

So many recipes seem to call for one or two tablespoons of tomato paste. Really… this tiny little can and they can’t even use it all?! Well, it is a highly concentrated product so a little does go a long way, but the question then arises as to what to do with the rest of the product. Please remember that it is never good to put an open tin can into the refrigerator for storage, unless maybe you plan to use it within a few hours. So, how do you store an almost full can of leftover tomato paste?

Here we explore ways to store leftover tomato paste and introduce alternate ways to now purchase tomato paste outside of the traditional can, which can be an economical option depending on usage.

tomato paste

How to Store Leftover Tomato Paste

Ways to Store Leftover Tomato Paste

There are a couple of ways to store leftover tomato paste. You can look to the refrigerator if you will use the rest of the paste within a week of opening the can, or to the freezer if you have no intentions of further plans at the moment. Either way, the tomato paste needs to be stored properly for safe keeping.

Refrigerator option:
Store leftover tomato paste in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use the smallest container possible (even a baggie) so that there is the least air in the container. Never leave it in the can for storage.

Freezer Options:
1) Use an old ice cube tray:
Scoop the leftover tomato paste into an ice cube tray and freeze it. Once frozen, pop the cubes into a labeled airtight freezer container for future usage within about three months.

2) Use a baking sheet:
Line a rimmed baking sheet with wax paper and then drop level tablespoons of the paste an inch apart on the pan.
A six ounce can of tomato paste contains 10 level tablespoons of product.

store tomato paste

Freeze the tomato paste blobs until solid, and then place them into a freezer safe bag for storage.

store tomato paste

No need for measuring whenever paste is needed, it’s pre-measured and ready to go.

Can-less Option:
If you find that you are often using just a small amount of tomato paste, then consider purchasing it in tubes instead of cans. A tube can be opened, the needed amount squeezed out and then it can be returned to the refrigerator for about 6 weeks after opening. Use a permeant marker to place the date on the tube when you open it. This way is a little more costly to begin with, but can save in the end if leftover tomato paste just tends to grow mold in your fridge. I can’t count the number of times I used to find a tiny, almost unrecognizable, mold infested container in the back of the fridge that I finally figured must have been tomato paste.

tomato paste tube

Substitute Option:
If a recipe is not too delicate, consider using a squirt of ketchup instead. There are drawbacks to this substitution, especially the added sugar and salt contained in ketchup, but this option is worth a mention. We often use a few squirts of ketchup in meatloaf or sauce type recipes instead of opening a whole can of tomato paste.

How to Store Leftover Tomato Paste

Additional Information

To find out how long tomato paste lasts, see our tomato page.

To find out how long other foods are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or use the search function below.

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