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Tomato Paste

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What is it?

Tomato paste is a very concentrated purée of tomatoes that have been cooked down to remove all the water, with any bits of seeds or skin strained out. This process means that a little tomato paste can add a very deep, umami-packed tomato flavor to your cooking, without the bright acidity of fresh tomatoes.

How to use it:

Tomato paste is a simple way to add another layer of flavor to sauces, braises, soups, and stews. But for the deepest flavor, you don’t want to just stir it in to the sauce; instead add it in to your aromatic vegetables after initially sautéing them. Cook the tomato paste  for a minute or two until it browns (the French call this process pincer), then add your liquids.

How to store it:

Unopened, a can of tomato paste will keep almost indefinitely. However, once the can is opened, you should wrap leftover tomato paste and store it in the fridge for up to a week. If you won’t use it up that fast (and let’s be honest, who does?), you can freeze leftover tomato paste for longer storage–for easy use, measure out tablespoon-size dollops and freeze until solid before transferring to a freezer bag. Tomato paste in a tube will last much longer once opened (about six weeks) because the collapsible tube keeps out air that would cause it to spoil.

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