Checking if that tomato paste can still be eaten


Tomato paste will stay fresh for months when kept in a fridge, but only if you avoid contaminating it. — dpa

Months ago, you opened a tube of tomato paste and squeezed a bit into a sauce.

Since then, it’s been waiting and waiting at the back of your fridge, until, at last, you finally remember it was there.

Can you still use it?

That all depends on how you’ve kept it, says Andrea Danitschek from Germany’s consumer advice centre in the state of Bavaria.

Most pastes will keep for several months after opening, but only if the conditions are hygienic.

The problem is: It’s easier than you’d think to contaminate a tube of tomato paste.

Touch the opening of the tube with your fingers, and unwanted bacteria will likely spread, she says.

The same goes for any bits of food that might come into contact with the opening or cap while you’re cooking.

Keeping it in the fridge once it’s been opened is always a good idea, as this will both preserve the flavour and slow down the growth of any germs.

If your tomato paste is in a tin and not a tube, then transfer it to a screw-top jar or some other container once you open it.

This will protect it from atmospheric oxygen and reduce the microbial growth of undesirable germs.

Make sure to use a clean spoon or knife to transfer the paste, as you don’t want any traces of food getting mixed up and contaminating things.

Not sure if your tomato paste is still edible?

Put a small sample on a spoon and hold it up to the light.

If you can’t see any mould and it smells fine, taste it.

If it tastes at all musty or like yeast, bin it: it’s spoiled. – dpa

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