Tomato paste doesn’t get used up often as most recipes call for a tablespoon or two. As a result, you may store it away but never get close to finishing it. The questions are: Does tomato paste go bad? How long does it last?
In summary, here’s what you need to know. An unopened package of tomato paste usually lasts 6 months past its best-by date. An opened can of tomato paste lasts 5-7 days if stored properly.
How To Tell If Tomato Paste Is Bad
The first sign of spoilage you should be aware of is any mold growth. If you find any mold, discard your tomato paste. Any discolorations on the surface of the paste should also tell you to get rid of it.
If the paste has an off smell, it has probably gone bad. When the tomato paste starts becoming watery, you may want to throw it out because it won’t be the best quality.
Lastly, if it seems okay, give it a taste. If you’re unhappy with how it tastes, toss it out.
Storing Tomato Paste
You can find tomato paste either in cans, glass jars, or tubes. However, when it comes to storing your tomato paste, the storage instructions are pretty much the same.
If your container is unopened, keep it in a cool and dry place, away from sources of heat. If it’s in a glass jar, be sure to keep it away from sunlight. The pantry or kitchen cabinets are great spots to store your tomato paste.
Opening the container means you should move your tomato paste to the fridge and seal it tightly. If you’re using a can, you can seal it with cling wrap or a plastic bag. Alternatively, you can transfer your leftover paste into an airtight container.
Can You Freeze Tomato Paste?
If you’re looking for a longer storage option, freezing your tomato paste is the best one to go with it. The only negative to this is that when tomato paste is defrosted, the quality degrades. However, since tomato paste is mostly used in cooked dishes, the changes are barely noticeable.
Pro tip: transfer the paste into ice cube trays. This way you can use the small amount you need for your cooking dishes instead of thawing all the tomato paste you have frozen in a container.
Once you have frozen your tomato paste in ice cube trays, transfer them into a freezer bag, and place it back into the freezer.
How Long Does Tomato Paste Last?
When it comes to an unopened package of tomato paste, it will generally last 6 months past the best-by date in the pantry. Once you open the package, the shelf-life decreases. Opened canned tomato paste lasts 5-7 days in the fridge. Tomato paste in a glass jar, when opened, lasts between 7-10 days in the fridge. If your tomato paste is in a tube, it will last 45 days in the fridge.
Uses Of Tomato Paste
Tomato paste is a great addition to a pasta sauce to intensify the tomato flavors. Add extra flavors to a bean dish with a dollop of tomato paste. By adding some tomato paste before braising meat, you hold the sauce together and melds the fat and spices used.
Maybe you’re making a curry and you’re without fresh tomatoes. You can use tomato paste as a substitute.
The Bottom-Line On Tomato Paste
Sometimes making your own homemade tomato paste recipe can have even better flavors than the store-bought ones. Here’s a recipe, sure to get your palate watering. Tomato paste may not last very long. However, you can freeze your paste for long-term storage. Be on the look-out for signs of spoilage such as mold, discolorations, and an off smell or taste. If any of these are present, discard your tomato paste.