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Home cook shares hack to keep tomato paste from molding in fridge: 'This is so smart'

"I didn't want to throw it away."

"I didn't want to throw it away."

Photo Credit: TikTok

How many times have you used a tablespoon or two of tomato paste for a recipe, only to be left with the rest of the open can and no clue what to do with it? Thankfully, TikToker Maria (@livingplanetfriendly) has shared a simple way to save the extra paste for another meal and reduce food waste: Freeze the rest. 

The scoop

"The freezer is the biggest tool to reduce food waste — and everyone has one!" reads the caption under Maria's video showcasing the super easy hack

@livingplanetfriendly The freezer is the biggest tool to reduce food waste—and everyone has one! Pretty much everything, except lettuce, can go in the freezer and be fine after, or have a different "frozen" use. #Eco #Ecofriendly #LowWaste #Sustainable #Sustainability #Food #FoodWaste #Homemade #HomemadeKitchen #LowWaste #ZeroWaste ♬ original sound - Maria 🌎

Freezing leftover food keeps it from rotting in the back of your fridge before it makes its way to a landfill. It sounds basic, but it works. While some people might opt for souper cubes or stasher bags to store tomato paste, Maria explains that you really only need a few basic items that are likely already in your kitchen: a rubber spatula, parchment paper, and your freezer.

With a small spatula, scrape any remaining tomato paste from the can and spread it on parchment paper. As Maria details in the video, then fold the edges of the paper around the leftover paste, place it in a plastic bag, and pop it in the freezer. Simple as that. 

Your food will stay fresh longer, and when your next recipe calls for tomato paste, you'll have some ready to go. Treat it like any other frozen food, and let it thaw before using it for your next meal.

How it's helping

This hack is convenient and saves you a bit of money by using all the tomato paste instead of wasting half a can. Americans throw out over $473 billion worth of food annually, so in this case, your small efforts absolutely make a difference. 

Perhaps more importantly, freezing leftover food helps the environment by keeping food out of the trash. When food breaks down in a landfill, it produces methane gas, which traps heat and contributes to Earth's overheating. In fact, food rot contributes to 8% of global planet-warming gases. This is a prime example of how small actions can help protect the planet.

What's everyone saying

Users filled the comment section with enthusiasm for the hack. 

"This is so smart," one wrote.

"OMG thank you," another said. "I always ended up using the can because I feel bad not having anything to do with it, but I didn't want to throw it away."

One even shared a trick of their own, saying: "Someone told me you could put olive oil on top of it, stick it in the fridge and it keeps. I've tried it and haven't had a problem … not knocking what you're doing that's smart too!"

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