I took advantage of a coupon this week and bought a 6-ounce can of organic tomato paste that ended up being only $.19 after the coupon was doubled. That's a bargain. I needed tomato paste for a recipe, but I only needed one teaspoon — meaning most of the tomato paste in the can was left over. I don't have any meals planned this week that require tomato paste, so I froze the rest of it.

I didn't freeze the entire contents of the can in one lump, though, because that wouldn't be convenient the next time I need a small amount. I froze it in one-tablespoon quantities. Here's how to do it.

tablespoons of tomato paste on baking sheet before they are frozen Photo: Robin Shreeves

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or better yet, line it with a leftover cereal box liner.
  2. Use a measuring spoon to drop the tomato paste in one-tablespoon measurements onto the baking sheet (see photo above). You want space between each blob of paste so it doesn't freeze together.
  3. Place the baking sheet flat in your freezer for six hours or overnight. You can gently place another layer of parchment or lining on the top if you want to cover it completely.
  4. Once the tomato paste is frozen, line a freezer-proof container with parchment or liner. (I used the same parchment that had been in the freezer). Then pop each frozen amount into the container (see photo below), seal it tightly, and put in the freezer. You’ll want to do this quickly. You don't want the paste to begin to defrost.
  5. Next time you need just a small amount of tomato paste, you can open the container and take out the amount you need.

tablespoons of frozen tomato paste ready to be stored Photo: Robin Shreeves

You can also do this by spraying a plastic ice cube tray with non-stick spray and putting the tomato paste in by one-tablespoon amounts. After it's frozen, you can pop out the paste chunks like ice cubes and store as described above.

Another option I could have used up the tomato paste was to make this no-cook, homemade pizza sauce. The recipe calls for a 6-ounce can of tomato paste, and since I’d only used a teaspoon out of the can, I could have fudged the amount for this recipe.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

How to freeze leftover tomato paste
If you opened a can because you needed just a little bit for a recipe, don't toss the rest. Here's what to do with the rest.