Best kitchen trick ever

June 30, 2013

If you’re anything like me, you don’t always use an entire can of tomato paste.

Oh, I know. The cans are small. But some recipes call for only a tablespoon or two, just enough to flavor the dish. I hate to waste the better part of a entire  can of the stuff, so I’d try to spoon it into small ziplock bags and freeze it.  But it was messy and inefficient.

Then: a brain storm.


Do you buy these little boxes of frozen garlic cubes at Trader Joe’s?  They’re miraculous, really. Pop a cube into a recipe and it’s the equivalent of an entire clove. No mincing, chopping or slicing. Just pop it out of the red plastic tray. Genius. Ok, so maybe not quite as pungent as a fresh clove. So, use two.

Hmmm, I thought, what if I spooned excess tomato paste into an empty garlic container and froze it that way? Each frozen cube would be about a teaspoon of tomato paste. Pop one out, as needed. No harm done if tomato past had a touch of garlic flavor–the two normally go together in recipes.

tomato paste

I spooned it in. Cleaned it up with a table knife. Worked like a dream. And here it is, in my freezer:

labelYeah. Figured you’d like it.  Now, what else could go in those trays?  I’d love your best kitchen tips. I’ll draw one at random on July 3 for a gift that’ll come in handy this summer.


12 comments on “Best kitchen trick ever
  1. great idea! love the dots for recipes!

  2. Ok, here is a tip. I can only think dishwasher for some reason today 😉 … I sort my silverware when I put it in the dishwasher, making sure the spoons are not spooning. Then putting it away is a breeze at the end of the cycle.

    Also, if you have good knives, do not put them in the same slots as your everyday utensils. Keep them separate or they will get rust spots. If you have the rust spots on your knives already, a few runs in the dishwasher sorted away from your everyday utensils will make them go away.

  3. Anne @GenFabulous says:

    This trick works great on fresh lemon juice too, but I’d use a clean ice cube tray.

  4. beth says:

    I use squeeze tube of tomato paste; keep it in the fridge. perfect for me.

  5. Brilliant. I always put a dollop in small piece of plastic wrap and then put the little bundles in ziploc bag. I just pureed some fresh basil w/ olive oil and did the same thing. Clearly I need to pay more attention at Trader Joes.

  6. Julia says:

    Alas, there isn’t a Trader Joes within an hour’s drive of me. But I love your idea!!

    • admin says:

      Try one of those mini-ice cube trays. Got a kitchen trick of your own to share? Let me know–any kind of tip!

    • Julia says:

      Forgot to give you my idea!! I use ice cube trays, a little olive oil, and fresh chopped herbs. Freeze and then you have the flavor of the fresh herb in the middle of winter.

  7. Beth (Word Nerd) says:

    If I make too much smoothie in the morning, I pour the excess into an ice cube tray and use those cubes in the next batch of smoothies. Can you tell I like smoothies? 😉

    Okay, my tip: push a straw up through the bottom of washed, fresh strawberries to pop the stems out. Simple!

  8. Susan Cooper says:

    That is an awesome idea. I use those little product and I’ve never thought to reuse the trays. That is the coolest thing ever I am definitely going to use this idea. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the suggestion love it

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