Since tomato paste is a staple, we often buy a large can without considering its expiration date. We assume that we’ll finish it up within shelf life. But what if you change your mind about liking tomato paste after using some of it?
The remaining tomato paste ends up on a kitchen shelf, waiting to be served for months. And when you finally realize you have some amount of it left, we are not sure if it’s edible or if you should get a new can.
This cycle has been continued for years, as none of us were ever aware of the tiny details that can make us use it for a longer duration. Although not a very expensive ingredient in the kitchen, it’s always better not to waste even a tiny amount of it. This can only be possible when you know how to preserve your jar of tomato paste well.
Can tomato paste go bad?
Even though high in preservatives, tomato paste still can go bad. Your senses will tell you exactly if your tomato paste has gone bad.
There are various ways you can tell if your tomato paste has gone bad. The formation of mold around the lid of the jar is the obvious sign of spoilage of tomato paste.
If you notice mold anywhere in the container, discard it. Also, when the tomato paste starts to spoil, it has a slightly off odor.
A change in texture is another reason to know if the tomato paste is spoiled. Generally, when the tomato paste becomes watery, it is better to consume it in a day or two, or it may go bad sooner.
You will have a slightly changed taste, but it is still edible. But if you notice any kind of discoloration, you should first give it a try before adding it to your meal.
If the taste seems normal, your tomato paste is still edible. However, you should use it as soon as possible because it can likely go bad, and you don’t want to waste it.
This won’t happen that soon due to added preservatives. But knowing how long your tomato paste can last is equally essential. And so here’s everything you should know.
How Long does tomato paste last?
Since we are talking about edibles, it is obvious to be aware of their best before date. It is mandatory for all food brands to mention a best-by date, so consumers can use it before that.
However, it does not always mean it’s unsafe to consume post the best before date. If you have an unopened jar of tomato paste, it will last for a few months past its expiry date.
You just should know that if you store it for a longer duration, the flavors and aroma might slightly degrade. So give it a try, and if all seems good, the paste will be safe to consume.
But if you own an opened jar of tomato paste, its longevity might vary slightly. Canned tomato paste stays well for the next 5 to 7 days from opening when stored appropriately.
If you do not own a jar, make sure to consume it in a day or two, as the process of oxidation can accelerate its spoiling. However, tomato paste tubes last pretty long, around 45 days, and their quality as well stays intact.
It can be a bit expensive, so better go for cans or jars and make sure to store them well for better usage.
So basically, the unopened paste can last up to a month or two, and opened jars can last up to 5 to 10 days when stored appropriately. The change in flavors and aroma is normal; just make sure to give it a try if it’s longer than that before consuming.
How to Store Tomato Paste?
Your tomato paste would either be in a can, jar, or tube. And all of them are quite easier to store until its tightly sealed.
If you own an unopened tomato paste container, you can store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Also, make sure it is away from heat sources as heat can accelerate the spoiling of tomato paste.
Glass jars specifically should be stored in a cool place, as they quickly get hot and warms up the paste.
You can choose a pantry or kitchen shelf to store your tomato paste. Just make sure it is not near or around the gas stove.
When it comes to storing opened tomato paste jars, make sure you always tightly cover them after each use. This will keep the moisture away and will also increase its shelf life.
Jars and tubes are easy to seal, but cans sometimes can get a bit tricky. You can either seal it with a plastic bag and a rubber band or just transfer it to another glass container.
We often recommend getting jars and tubes rather than cans, as they keep the quality of the paste intact.
Since we already know tomato paste doesn’t last long, it is mandatory to store opened tomato paste in a refrigerator.
This will keep the flavors and aroma of the tomato paste intact, and you will likely get more time to enjoy the flavors.
So the best way to store your opened jar of tomato paste is to seal it tightly and store it in a refrigerator.
Remember to keep it away from the door, as maintaining a constant temperature is essential.
Freezing Tomato Paste
If you are not planning to use your tomato paste any sooner than a week, you can also try freezing it. Freezing tomato paste can sometimes result in a change in texture and flavors, but you will not end up wasting it for sure.
You will simply need to defrost the paste before using it in cooked dishes. You can directly place the jar in the freezer or like ice cubes.
Tomato paste cubes are comparatively easier to use. You simply need to transfer it into a tray and leave the tray until the cubes are solid.
Once the cubes are solid, you can either use them directly or transfer them into a freezer bag.
Either way, it’s good. Whenever you want to use them, take out one cube and thaw it on low heat in the saucepan before you get cooking.
Tomato paste cubes generally last up to 6 months in the freezer, making it the best idea to use your tomato paste for a longer duration.
The quality and flavors will likely degrade, but you won’t end up wasting it.
How to Tell if Tomata Paste has Gone Bad
The following are some of the indicators that can help you distinguish between a good tomato paste and a bad one:
First and foremost, you must check the consistency of the tomato paste. Discard the paste if it has a watery consistency. While you can add vinegar to make it smooth, it might end up ruining the overall taste of the dish. Instead, it is best to toss it out.
2. Murky Surface
If the surface appears murky or bubbly, consider your tomato paste to be spoiled. The murky surface might also be followed by green patches that indicate mold growth.
3. Foul Odor
This is a no-brainer, but you must toss out your can of tomato paste if it is enunciating any foul odor. Not only would such paste be harmful to your health, but it can also ruin the overall taste and aroma of the dish.
4. Bulged Can
Your unopened can of tomato can also go bad due to the presence of a gas produced by clostridium bacteria. If the can shows any signs of bulging, it belongs to the garbage.
What Happens if your Consume Expired Tomato Paste
Consuming expired tomato paste can potentially ruin the entire flavor of the dish. Along with that, it can make you sick.
The presence of mold in a tomato paste can lead to severe health consequences like constipation, diarrhea, nausea, etc. Hence, it is best to get a new can of tomato paste if the one you have at home has expired.
Alternative for Tomato Pasta if it has Gone Bad
If your tomato paste has gone bad and you are in the middle of cooking, you can try its substitutes like:
- Tomato puree
- Fresh tomatoes
- Puréed red peppers
- Canned tomatoes
FAQs About Tomato Paste
Tomato Paste or Tomato Sause, which is better?
When it comes to longevity and shelf life, tomato sauce does win all the points. But if we consider authentic flavors and versatility, tomato paste has all our votes.
Tomato paste can be combined with a variety of dishes, unlike tomato sauce which contains extra sweetness. Tomato paste is cooked for a longer duration compared to tomato sauce, making it highly thick with highly concentrated flavors.
Can you make tomato paste at home?
Yes, tomato paste can be easily made at home. You simply need a lot of fresh tomatoes and salt. Remove the tomato skin and seeds, and cook it with salt for several hours until it’s thick.
You can add tomato paste to a variety of Italian and Indian dishes. You just need to make sure to finish it in a day or two, as homemade tomato paste has no preservatives and thus has a shorter shelf life.
Can you refreeze tomato paste?
Yes, tomato paste can be refrozen with ease. As long as you know how to thaw it well, reheat it and cool the sauce properly, it is safe to refreeze tomato paste.
You came this far, which proves you definitely love your jar of tomato paste. But now you know a lot about tomato paste and its versatility.
Although it has a pretty short life, storing it right is equally necessary. Just know that it has no molds, any kind of discoloration, or is too watery for your next meal or dish.
These things likely indicate spoilage, and that’s precisely what we have to avoid. Just store it in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. Seal your jar of tomato paste tightly, and even refrigerating it is a good choice if the jar is opened.
So next time there’s a lot of leftover tomato paste, you know what to do with it the best. Happy snacking!!!!!
Milburn Adler is a food enthusiast and connoisseur of wine. His area of expertise is food fusions and gourmet foods. He lives to experiment with new recipes every day and spends most of his day looking for fresh and exotic fruits and vegetables.