Cooking food recipes

Cookin’ in Korea: Tips for Tomato Paste


Here’s the thing I hate about tomato paste: it comes in such a giant can. Why? Why would it come in such a giant can when most recipes only call for 1-2 tablespoons of paste? Why not sell it in smaller cans? Actually, maybe they do sell it in smaller cans in the rest of the world and they don’t in Korea. My problem was, I would buy a can of tomato paste, use two tablespoons of it, transfer it to a plastic container and store it in the fridge…then forget about it and it goes bad.

Be it Lucy’s Mum’s Chili Con Carne, Lovely Lentil Curry, Spaghetti Bolognese, all sorts of curries, soups and sauces, I use tomato paste a lot but not enough to own a big can of it.

To save the remains, I’ve tried freezing it in the plastic container. Useless for many reasons.

I’ve tried freezing it in an ice-cube tray as suggested by the internet. Nope. Also useless and messy.

I then tried separating it into little baggies and freezing those but they took up too much space and got squished by the other items in the freezer.

Then I happened upon Martha Stewart’s advice while looking for a muffin recipe and IT. IS. A. LIFESAVER.

First, open the can of tomato paste at both ends.  Discard one of the metal ends but leave the other on the can. Then wrap the can in plastic wrap or wrap tightly in a plastic food baggie. Freeze overnight horizontally. The following morning (or really, whenever you next want to use it) take the can out of the freezer and leave to sit for a few minutes. Then carefully push the frozen paste out of the can using the metal end. You may have to loosen the sides a little with a knife before you attempt to push it out. Discard the can (please recycle), wrap the frozen paste in plastic wrap and place back into the freezer.


Now whenever you need to use tomato paste just slice off as much as you need.