Ever wondered how long tomato paste lasts in the fridge or if you should store it there at all? The use of tomato paste in cooking is a great way to add flavor and color to dishes. It can also be used as a base for sauces, pasta, stews, soups, and more. But how long does it last after opening it and does it go bad eventually?
Well, you are in the right place as this article will teach you how to store both homemade and store-bought tomato paste correctly (and get the most out of it too).
You will be pleased to know that tubed and canned tomato paste has a great shelf life and keeps quite well in the refrigerator.
Before we continue, I think I should clarify the difference between tomato paste and tomato puree as both are often misinterpreted.
Tomato paste vs tomato puree? What is the difference?
Tomato puree is a fresh tomato sauce that has been passed through a sieve or food mill to remove the seeds and skins eg passata. Whereas, Tomato paste is the concentrated purée of ripe tomato flesh and skin. It is made by cooking tomatoes down to a simple thick purée, then strained and cooked again to remove almost all moisture.
store-bought tomato paste is usually packaged in cylindrical cans or tubes. It can also be labeled as concentrated tomatoes or double concentrated tomatoes.
What does it taste like?
The rich and concentrated flavor of the puréed fruit and skin contribute to a very intense and full-bodied aroma and flavor.
Both tomato puree and paste are readily available in grocery stores. While you can substitute one for another in cooking, they are both 2 different things.
So now you know what is a tomato puree and tomato paste, but let's get to the point of this article
Homemade vs store-bought
It's debatable whether one is superior to the other, but most people will agree that homemade is better than store-bought. Personally, I like store-bought canned or tube paste since it's more convenient and has a longer shelf life.
However, there will always be leftovers because recipes almost never require a whole can or tube of tomato paste except for Jollof rice.
So, yes, there's always a question of how to store it to extend its shelf life.
How long does tomato paste last in the fridge?
Tomato paste will last between 7 to 10 days in the fridge provided it is stored properly in an airtight container or in the original tube packaging tightly screwed. However, tubed tomato paste can last up to 1 month in the fridge
The paste should be refrigerated after opening either canned, in a glass jar, or in a tube to preserve its flavor and longevity.
Transfer the tomato from the can to an airtight portioned container and store it in the fridge for up to 10 days.
This holds true for tubed and glass jarred paste as well, but there's no need to put it into a container. It may be kept straight in the fridge like this in its original container
Does tomato paste go bad?
Yes, they can go bad quickly if not stored properly. The condition of any leftovers is dependent on how long you have left it in the fridge or at room temperature.
How to tell if tomato paste is bad?
The telltale sign for spoilage in tomato paste is easy and very obvious. First, check the color, if it looks off and the color is not as vibrant as it was when you first opened it, then you should simply throw it away.
If the paste smells okay and if the color looks normal, then you can try tasting a little bit to see if there is any sour or bitter taste present. If not, then it is safe to use; otherwise, throw it away.
Mold growth is another sign of spoilage. if the tomato paste has mold in any form, then throw it away.
How to store homemade tomato paste?
Fridge: store in an airtight container for up to 5 days
Freezer: The best way to store homemade tomato paste is to freeze it in small portions. Transfer the leftover tomato paste into a silicone mold that has enough capacity to accommodate your desired portion size.
Place the tray(s) in the freezer for a few hours until the paste is frozen, then pop out the tomato cubes. Transfer them to an airtight container with a lid or a freezer bag or any other type of airtight storage option. Store in the freezer for up to 4 months.
What to do with leftover tomato paste
Refridgerate or freeze it if you wouldn't be using it straightaway as mentioned earlier.Alternatively, make any of these great recipes with your leftover paste
The shelf life of tomato paste will depend on the form it is in, whether it is homemade or store-bought, and how you have stored them.
Homemade will last for 5 -7 days in the fridge if stored properly (airtight container) while store-bought one lasts longer than that.
If you can, buy more tubed paste since it keeps longer in the fridge or at room temperature to canned ones. The opened tubed paste will keep for approximately 6-8 weeks in the refrigerator while the one in a can will only stay good for 5-7 days.