Rachael Ray's Tip For Keeping Tomato Paste Tubes Fresh

TV personality Rachael Ray has built her career on making life easier for home cooks. In addition to her Food Network program "30-Minute Meals," she began hosting her own TV talk show, "Rachael Ray," in 2007. On her talk show, Ray shared all sorts of useful information to make life better. She also took the time to field questions from her viewers on the program — and a lot of people wrote in about their food-related dilemmas. A common challenge for home cooks was how to keep ingredients fresh. And, in one episode, she and her husband, John Cusimano, tackled an inquiry about tomato paste sold in a tube.

Tomato paste in a tube is amazingly convenient — just squeeze out the desired amount and save the rest for later. But once you've opened a tube, how do you keep lasting longer? Ray has a super simple tip.

Protect the paste from air

As many home cooks and chefs know, exposure to air can lead to certain ingredients to spoil faster. So to get the most out of your tubed tomato paste, you need to make sure that air stays out. On the "Rachael Ray Show," Ray explained, "You have to be careful and roll it up from the bottom –- just like toothpaste –- and get all the air out."

Ray also suggests that you check out the tomato paste tube before you bring it home from the store. She'll open the box to see if the end seam of the tube hasn't been broken before putting it in her shopping cart. Handled properly, an open tube of tomato paste will last several months in the refrigerator.

Since the tubed version of tomato paste often costs more than the canned variety, it's wise to protect your food investment. Some also prefer the taste of tomato paste from the tube over the canned version. This could be attributed to how the paste is treated in these different preservation methods: Tubed tomato paste contains salt while citric acid is used when making canned tomato paste.