Passata is one of those ingredients that we get in bulk nearly every month for the simple reason that we cook a lot of pasta. Passata is one of the greatest tomato-based ingredients for pasta sauce and all other sorts of food, in general.
Now, the truth is, there is an abundance of alternatives to passata that work miracles, but when it comes to pasta sauce, we want the ingredient that requires the least amount of effort to cook.
While it may not be as popular as tomato paste, for example, we recommend trying passata as an alternative and it might just become your new favorite thing in the kitchen.
Although some of us consume our passata too fast to worry about any long-term storing solutions, there are many people out there who purchase in bulk every time they see a sale. And this often leaves them with more ingredients than they can consume within the given use-by-date.
This is when you think about the different storage methods like freezing and whether it is possible.
So can you freeze passata? Yes, you can freeze passata. Tomato-based foods like passata tend to freeze well. You can freeze opened or unopened passata in a batch in a well-sealed, air-tight container or in smaller portions using freezer trays. It will last for up to three months.
It is good to know that all tomato-based foods and ingredients freeze extremely well and this includes passata. There are several methods to freeze passata depending on the original package and whether you want to freeze unopened passata or leftovers.
In the following article, you will learn everything about passata and how to properly use, freeze, and thaw it.
The Ultimate Guide to Freezing Passata
In its entirety, passata is really nothing more than plain tomato. Due to this, we can simply consider it the base for all other more complicated tomato-based sauces and condiments.
Unlike most other tomato-based condiments and ingredients of this kind, it comes uncooked. It may not look like a puree, but pureeing is the first part of the process of creating passata. The second includes going through a sieve to achieve this consistency.
Depending on the brand, the consistency of the passata will be different. Some brands offer smooth passata while others prefer to leave chunks of tomato. There is a common argument that passata can be cooked but in most cases, the one you purchase will be uncooked.
Best Storage Practices for Passata
The best storage practices for passata should be divided depending on whether the package has been opened or not.
An unopened jar/bottle of passata will likely last more than a year but it should be stored correctly.
There is no better place than your pantry or, if that’s not an option, any dry and cool place. But under no circumstances can you leave passata or any other tomato-based sauce under direct sunlight.
Opened Passata/Leftover Passata
An opened jar/bottle of passata should be transferred to a refrigerator as soon as you are done using it. If you leave it at room temperature for too long after you’ve opened it, expect it to become home to unwanted bacteria. The sauce will be spoiled and not safe to eat.
An opened passata can be stored for up to 10 days in a refrigerator. We recommend using the leftovers as soon as you can.
In case you need to store it for longer, consider freezing it. You can find all the necessary information about freezing passata in the following sections of this article.
Can you Freeze Passata?
Yes, you can freeze both unopened passata and leftover passata. The freezing processes are identical in both cases and include transferring the passata to a different more suitable container.
There is an alternative that more and more people attempt and it includes freezing in ice trays which we will also discuss in the following section.
In general, whichever method you choose to freeze your passata, it should be consumed within 3 months. It will remain safe for more but you can forget about the original quality.
How to Freeze Passata
In both cases, you will be using either unopened passata or leftovers.
Method 1: Freezing Passata in an Airtight Container
1. Find a Suitable Container
Most stores sell passata in glass bottles or cans. In both cases, the original packaging will not be suitable especially if you want to freeze an entire unopened bottle.
Liquids expand when frozen and unless your glass containers are freezer-safe, they’re not always a good idea since it could explode. Even if it has not happened before, we recommend avoiding freezing food in any glass containers you’re not sure about.
Whatever you choose, make sure it is freezer-safe and has a tight seal to prevent air from getting in.
2. Transfer and Freeze
Remember not to overfill the container, no matter what you’re planning to freeze. Once again, you need to leave a little space at the top for the semi-liquid passata to expand.
Throw the properly packed passata in the freezer and try to consume it within 3 months.
Method 2: Freezing Passata in a Freezer Tray
People are trying to freeze everything in freezer trays these days – and in most cases, it works really well! Surprisingly enough, passata is one of the foods that you can safely freeze using this method.
1. Fill your ice trays with passata
Our recommendation is to fill the separate compartments right below the rim, just as you would with a full-sized container. In this case, however, it has as much to do with being able to get portions of passata out as it does with expanding liquids.
2. Pre-Freeze the Passata Cubes
Once you have filled the trays, put them in the freezer without any coverage. Wait a few hours, or until the passata is completely frozen.
3. Transfer to a Larger Container
Once the passata has frozen completely, take out all pieces and put them in an airtight container. Heavy-duty freezer bags will also do the job perfectly and are a convenient option as well.
Seal the bag and get it back in the freezer. As with the other method, you can expect that the passata will last at least 3 months in the freezer. As always, you will probably want to label your passata with the date just to be safe.
How to Thaw Frozen Passata
To thaw frozen passata, simply move it to the refrigerator for a slow and safe defrosting. If you used the second method of freezing in freezer trays and you need to use the passata soon, you can defrost it at room temperature or cook with it as a frozen ingredient.
In case you thaw it in the refrigerator, give it enough time overnight. Finally, yet importantly, we recommend using it within 24 hours of thawing.
We hope this guide to freezing passata has been helpful! We’ve also included these related questions, in case there’s more passata thoughts on your mind.
What Can You Use Instead of Passata?
People often consider all tomato-based sauces and condiments interchangeable and it is generally true, but to us, it all depends on the situation.
We mentioned in a previous section that passata is essentially the base for all alternative tomato sauces and ingredients which generally means that you can potentially use any other similar base – if you knew how to compensate for the differences.
However, we wouldn’t recommend it if your recipe specifically calls for passata. If we are talking about simple pasta dishes, it might be fine, but if it’s a more complicated dish that relies on more than just the flavor of passata, substituting it could be tricky.
What Can You Use Passata for Besides Pasta Sauce?
Having a bottle of unopened passata can be beneficial in so much more than the simple preparation of sauces. Such a simple ingredient can help you prepare a wide array of dishes and even drinks if you get what we are referring to.
Homemade Ketchup – No matter how many recipes we try, homemade ketchup just doesn’t have that addictive taste of store-bought. We all know store-bought ketchup is hardly healthy, which is why many of us turn their eyes to homemade substitutes.
Most recipes for DIY ketchup call for tomato sauce or puree simply because of their consistencies and because they are so popular. But we suggest you try passata the next time you make homemade ketchup. The sauce won’t be as thick, but the taste will make up for it.
Substitute in a Bloody Mary Recipe – A Bloody Mary cocktail is an acquired taste. Not everyone is looking for that spicy tomato taste when they order a cocktail, but if you are a fan, you may consider substituting tomato juice with passata.
When you look at it, it may seem like you are not changing much, but believe us, the results will be delightful. Just make two cocktails, one with tomato sauce, and one with passata, and you will quickly realize the difference in flavor.
What is the Difference Between Passata and Similar Tomato Products?
The main difference between the many tomato-based condiments involves the ingredients included in their making. If we look it through the eyes of the “Italian food law”, passata can contain nothing but tomatoes.
If you check the label and you see other ingredients besides tomato, it should not be considered a passata even if it says it on the package, strictly speaking, anyway.
Tomato Sauce – As you probably can guess from the name, tomato sauce is already cooked and ready for use. All you need to do with tomato sauce is heat it and add it to your pasta or another dish.
Tomato Paste – Tomato paste is a reduced tomato sauce, so it has a much thicker consistency and stronger flavor than the others. Tomato paste adds a lot of flavor and color to your dish. We also have an article on how tomato paste differs from tomato sauce.
Canned Tomatoes – Canned tomatoes come in a couple of variants. In most cases, they would be either whole or chopped and in most cases, with removed seeds.