Tomato paste is an essential part of my pantry storage. It gives great, concentrated tomato flavor to so many recipes, but only takes up only a little bit of space on the shelf. The down side of tomato paste, of course, is the waste. It’s only very rarely that I will use an entire six-ounce can of tomato paste in one recipe (mainly spaghetti sauce and big pots of chili).
Of course, you can buy one of those four or five-ounce tubes of tomato paste, store it in the fridge, and use a tablespoon or two here and there. This just isn’t a solution that appeals much to me. I just can’t feel good about buying those little tubes of paste because the cost per ounce is so much higher than the cans. At Target, for example, a 4.5-ounce tube of Amore Tomato Paste is $2.87, or $0.63 per ounce. By comparison, a 6-ounce can of Hunt’s Tomato Paste is $0.64, or roughly $0.10 per ounce. That is a huge difference in price! It’s a convenience I’m just not willing to pay for. (Note, if you want even bigger savings, go ahead and buy the store brand tomato paste, or purchase a whole case of cans from a big box store,)
Knowing the cost per ounce is much less for a can of paste vs. a tube, you can decide for yourself if you want to pay for convenience, or if you want to save some money. I know lots of people like the convenience of the tube, and if you are one of those people, I totally understand. If you agree with me, however, and decide that buying the can is the way to go, then I have a simple trick I want to share with you for that will allow you to not waste one drop of tomato paste.
The first step is to use whatever amount you need from the can, for whatever recipe you are preparing. After that, use a tablespoon to drop the leftover tomato paste onto a plate or a baking sheet. (To make removal easier, spray the plate or sheet with a little cooking oil first, or line with parchment paper).
Now pop the plate into the freezer, and freeze for a few hours. When the paste is completely frozen, remove the frozen spoonfuls from the plate, and pop them into a plastic freezer bag (or other freezer-safe container). Now when you need some tomato paste, just remove whatever you need from the freezer and use it in your recipe – no need to even thaw! When you run out, just repeat the process again.
At first glance, if this task seems too much of a bother, you’ll find out that it really takes only a few minutes to complete. Reducing waste in the kitchen is a great way to save money, and all of the small savings really do add up over time. Give it a try and decide for yourself!