phynedyning

Shameless plug: Tomato paste in a tube!

In Shameless plug on November 30, 2012 at 10:49 am

th-3Tomato paste can be one of your most wasted kitchen ingredients.

Recipes never call for a whole can of the stuff and its producers seem to take sadistic joy in providing too much or too little of it in the cans. As a result, all across America, there are billions of partially used cans of tomato paste quietly moldering, forgotten, on the back of a refrigerator shelf, behind the pickles.

I tried freezing the remainder in a small tub. Unfortunately, frozen tomato paste rivals diamonds on the hardness scale. I bent countless spoons frantically trying to dig out a mere tablespoonful as my meal bubbled on the stove.

I also tried packing it into ice cube trays and wrapping the frozen paste in plastic wrap for storage. Later, I did away with the ice cube tray and just put a tablespoon of the paste directly in the plastic wrap, folded it neatly, and froze it.

Both methods resulted in scattered red packets, sewn across the bottom of my freezer like a kid’s abandoned Lego blocks.

Then, I stumbled on tomato paste in a tube.

Eureka!

I’ve tried two brands: Amore and Mutti.

th-4They each have a bold, clean tomato flavor that is far superior to tomato paste in a can. Canned tomato paste, in my opinion, always tasted a bit like the can it came in. The tube paste does not have any odd, or extra, flavors and it tastes like smoothly blended sun-dried tomatoes. Unlike canned tomato paste, the tube varieties seem to have less water content and do not melt away to become tomato sauce in the pan. These pastes actually add body to the dish.

Best of all, cooks can squeeze out just enough for their immediate needs and then toss the opened tube into the fridge for later use.

The Mutti brand label encourages cooks to use a tube within three weeks of opening. It may good advice. Or, it may be a marketing ploy. The Amore brand carries no such advice on its label. All things considered it is prudent to say that either brand will stay fresher than an open can of paste in the back of the refrigerator. And, because it’s so convenient to use, cooks are more likely to use the opened tube well before it spoils or loses flavor.

At just under $3 per tube, it is definitely not a cheaper alternative to canned tomato paste. But if you use only one or two tablespoons of tomato paste per week, the savings in wasted paste could offset its higher price.

Either brand is worthy of a shameless plug from the Phyne Dyner.

 

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