The Martha Stewart Tomato Paste Hack You Need To Know

How many partially full cans of tomato paste have been shuffled to the back of your refrigerator only to become a science experiment on watching mold grow? It happens to the best of us. After taking out the tablespoon or two you need for a recipe, when it's time to clean up, you put the can in the fridge, telling yourself you'll make something with it "in a few days." Though, we all know that will never happen.

If anyone can come up with a tomato paste tip you never knew you needed, it's the queen of all things home, Martha Stewart. This piece of advice is actually an old one, dating back to 2011 on, but it's gotten a recent upgrade — and in case you haven't seen it yet, it's pretty genius. 

The trick involves storing the paste in your freezer so you can have it at the ready to stir into your recipes for weeks or months down the road.

Frozen tomato paste is easy to slice

The Kitchn improves upon Martha Stewart's technique for preserving tomato paste with this genius hack. It starts with opening a new can and scooping out the portion you need for whatever you're cooking at the moment. Then, for the leftovers, Martha advises to use a can opener to cut the end of the opposite side of the can as well but leave the lid in place. (Although neither Stewart nor Kitchen exactly explain how to accomplish this without dumping out the contents, we'd suggest placing a small plate on top of the open side before tipping over the can and plate together.)

Then, wrap the entire can tightly in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer overnight. The following day, push the frozen contents out using the remaining metal lid as leverage (think of it like an ice cream push pop without the stick); then, discard the can and rewrap the molded cylindrical tube of remaining paste in plastic wrap and put it back in the freezer. The next time you need to use it, simply cut off the desired "slice." 

The Kitchn found that Stewart's original method wasn't foolproof, however. First, a smooth-edge can opener won't work. It creates too wide a circle to be able to push the end through the can. They solved the problem by using a traditional can opener — just mind the sharp edges. The second problem: the paste was too frozen to slide out of the can. The solution to this, per The Kitchn, is to run the can under hot water just long enough to loosen the contents. And voila! You have easy-access tomato paste that can last up to three months.