One thing that I saw mentioned constantly on the Food Network was how handy it was to purchase tomato paste in a tube. That way you can squeeze out the exact amount you need, seal it up, and go about your business. I too thought this concept was handy and I began a search to seek out the mythical tomato paste in a tube.
It took me a while to find some because at the time it wasn’t a very common thing. When I found some, I did a little happy dance in aisle. Until I saw the price.
Seven bucks for a tube of smashed up tomatoes?!
Um, to be blunt, hells no I’m not paying seven smackers for tomato paste. Especially since a small can of tomato paste is like 79cents.
But the thing with tomato paste is that sometimes you don’t need to use an entire can for whatever you’re making. Even though it’s a small can, it still contains a good amount of paste. And a little goes a long way. Probably why the tube of tomato paste was created but again, seven bucks. I’ll think of something on my own, thanks.
So what to do with leftover tomato paste? I came across another tip that mentioned freezing the leftovers in ice cube trays. Good idea in theory but I think it would be a bit messy and you would have to have designated trays just for that purpose because the tomato paste would stain the plastic. This was not a practical solution to me.
But freezing was clearly the answer.
And then it dawned on me to make my own tomato tube (yeah I said it) and freeze that. I scooped out the leftover paste into a sandwich baggie, shaped into a tube and froze it. This works beautifully! Whenever I need tomato paste, I can just pull this from the freezer, cut off how much I need (say a TBSP or so) and then seal it back up and toss in the freezer. Ta-da!
One could even use parchment paper instead of a plastic baggie to help reduce plastic use. Just roll tightly and seal with masking tape.
To be fair, the price has gone down on the tube paste and I have seen it priced for 4 dollars. But even at 4 dollars, that’s too steep for me. I’ll stick with the cans and freezing the leftovers.
So the next time you’re wondering what to do with the remaining tomato paste, remember you can freeze it!