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Leftover tomato paste?

Hi, everyone. I opened a small can of tomato paste a week or so ago and only used a couple of tablespoons of it. What can I do with the rest of it? I am mainly vegetarian, but eggs and dairy are great. I usually make my tomato sauces (for pasta, etc.) with canned crushed tomatoes, so not really sure what to do with the paste and hate to let it go to waste.

Thanks for your help!

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  1. You can freeze it for future use.

    1. Portion it in size you use & freeze (TB., etc.), stir into soup, add to a gravy...can even spread thin on bread as a condiment for sandwiches .If you only use a little every so often, look for tomato paste in tubes. It is very handy & stays good in the fridge for some time. It can be hard to spot, often up above canned tomato products in the grocery.

      1 Reply
      1. re: meatn3

        Second the tube recommendation. Very practical. I don't keep mine in the fridge, though.

      2. I used to portion it and freeze it but now I spoon out the leftover into a ziplock freezer bag and smash it down until it's in a uniform shape. Then I freeze it flat. That way I can break off as much or as little as I need.

        1 Reply
        1. re: C. Hamster

          That's a great tip. I usually freeze it in the can and melt off what I need with boiling water.

        2. I also freeze it, but not in the can (I thought that was unhealthy for some reason). It may be untraditional, but I like to add some paste to my tomato sauces made with canned tomatoes; I like the extra richness. And you can just throw the paste away, too.

          2 Replies
          1. re: cocktailhour

            "And you can just throw the paste away, too."

            Yep. It'll keep quite a while covered in fridge - superficial mold can be scraped off, the high acid should prevent any harmful contamination annd then even if you throw some away eventually, a 4.5 oz can costs 1/3 to 1/4 the price of a 4.5 tube, and if you pay attention to that stuff, it goes old & dark too, even if you might not notice as readily as in a jar. Freezing is definitely better if you'll remember it's there, but I tend to forget that little things like that are in there, myself.

            In terms of getting rid of it, you can use it for acidity as much as the flavor (sort of like tomato-flavored lemon juice) and most "hearty" soups, stews and sauces (meat or veg) benefit from it unless it'd be grossly out of place - in a simple cream of mushroom soup, it might be a little weird. :) Or any recipe that calls for a small amount of tomato to be cooked into a dish - a couple of teaspoons are a reasonably sub for a small tomato, for example...

            1. re: MikeG

              I freeze mine in tablespoons on wax paper, then into Tupperware. I do the same with chipolte peppers.

          2. You can buy good tomato paste in tubes. Squeeze out what you need, put the cap back on and keep in the fridge for a long, long, time.

            Perfect when all you need is a teaspoon or so.

            1. Take the rest of the can and place it in a food processor or blender with about 3 cups of water. Then add one or 2 teaspoons of old bay...perhaps some tobasco if desired. mix well. You now have Fabulous bloody mary mix! Great for new years eve! Happy holidays!