Tomato is an indispensable spice in many dishes, as it provides a delicious taste and necessary vitamins.
However, preserving it is no simple task. Experts don’t recommend refrigerating fresh tomatoes because they will lose their flavors.
Therefore, the tomato sauce recipe is a popular choice for home cooks to storage. But many people wonder, “how long does homemade tomato sauce last in the fridge?”. Don’t worry! We will show you the answer without further delay.
Why Does Homemade Tomato Sauce Last Long in The Fridge?
The reason for you being able to keep the sauce for a long time in the refrigerator relates to the principle of low-temperature inhibition of bacterial growth.
Factors affecting the growth of microorganisms include two types: chemical substances and physical characteristics. Refrigerators are designed based on the principles of biology to destroy microorganisms.
Since microorganisms include many groups such as cryophilic, hydrophilic, thermophilic, and super-thermophilic, the refrigerator only inhibits certain microorganisms’ growth.
Refrigeration is a physical way to inhibit the growth of harmful microorganisms by temperature—the lower the temperature, the lower the rate of biochemical reactions. For every drop of 10 degrees Celsius, the reaction speed will decrease from 1/2 to 1/3 times.
A refrigerator temperature of 4 degrees C or lower is considered safe and able to minimize the risk of bacteria penetration that causes poisoning.
The refrigerator temperature stops the rate of biochemical reactions in microorganisms’ cells, denaturing proteins, nucleic acids.
Nowadays, most advanced refrigerators are equipped with UV sterilization systems, helping to destroy up to 99% of bacteria in food.
Microorganisms, when absorbing UV rays, will change their molecular structure, the nucleic acids of the cell will be destroyed. Since then, food in general and tomato sauce, in particular, will not be affected and retain its original taste and freshness.
Unlike freeze cheesecake, fruits like tomatoes will have a fermentation activity that helps dissolve residual toxins, helping the food last longer.
Tomatoes in spaghetti sauce also have high water content and low pH, which are favorable factors to help store in low temperatures.
How Long Does Homemade Tomato Sauce Last in The Fridge
The advantages of low-temperature storage can help inhibit bacteria’s reproduction and growth, keeping food fresh for a long time. However, food kept in the refrigerator will not be completely safe.
Scientists have declared that the longer you keep food in the refrigerator, the easier nutritional content will reduce, and the more harmful substances will form. In general, vitamin C will be greatly damaged, and the degree of destruction depends on the temperature and time of storage.
30% of the dissolved fat will evaporate through the freezing and thawing process, some might be lost completely.
Store Tomato Sauce In A Cool Compartment
Most refrigerators come with larger capacities than the freezers, and this is where you can store a wide range of foods from vegetables to cooked foods, and regular tomato sauce is no exception.
The cool compartment lowers the product temperature to a near freezing point. The temperature usually fluctuates from 1 – 10oC. This is an environment that inhibits most bacteria living in the surrounding environment.
However, some types of cryophilic bacteria can still live healthily and reproduce in these storage conditions. Therefore, it is best to only store tomato sauce in the cooler for about two days.
Once being taken out of the fridge, and ONLY from the fridge, you need to cook the tomato sauce again. This is because the temperature in the refrigerator only inhibits bacteria growth but cannot destroy it.
If you do not cook when you eat, it will cause indigestion, bloating, or diarrhea.
You should also note that the tomato paste must be cooled down before storing it in the refrigerator. As a matter of fact, if the hot food is put in a low-temperature place, it will be degraded.
At high temperatures, food will be condensed into steam, and harmful bacteria will grow, leading to toxicity in the refrigerator as a whole.
Store Tomato Sauce In The Freezer
The freezer compartment is often used for freezing and preserving frozen food. For deep freeze methods, the amount of water in the product converted to ice is 80% or more. This method’s storage temperature is usually below -18 degrees C.
In theory, food stored in the freezer compartment should not be damaged. However, the reality is not so.
Many microorganisms still live well at minus 15 degrees C in salty environments. Not stopping there, they even continue to reproduce when the temperature drops to minus 25 degrees Celsius.
Therefore, even when frozen, the food will still spoil. So, how long can you freeze tomato sauce?
The answer is about 3-4 days in freezer-safe containers. But, a freezer is not recommended as it can cause serious health problems. When you reheat the tomato after taken out of a freezer, bacteria will attack and form nitrite compounds.
Nitrate is available in food; when eaten under the effect of digestive enzymes or microorganisms, it will turn into very unhealthy nitrosamines.
This compound can cause food poisoning; if accumulated for a long time, it could cause liver, kidney, and stomach cancers.
How To Tell If Tomato Sauce is Bad?
1. Changing Color
Bacteria multiply alter the normal color of tomatoes. The bright maroon color after cooking will likely fade away or turn green. This is a sign that the tomatoes have been degraded and the chemicals inside have been changed.
White, black, or green spots are also common on the food’s surface, signaling mildew.
Under the effect of amylase yeast on some types of mold, pasta sauce will grout in the moldy and have a sour taste, just like sour buttermilk. Notably, some molds can secrete toxins for people, causing acute poisoning.
2. Thick Fluid On The Surface
This is one of the first signs of pasta sauce being spoiled. When the temperature is low, saturated fatty acids will form and loosen the consistency of the dish.
Fluid can form into a thick, sticky layer. The water and the tomato part will also show signs of separation, floating layers of fat and bubbles on the surface.
Many people have a habit of getting rid of that whitish layer and continue to use the rest. Nevertheless, the rest has also been infiltrated by bacteria, causing you to have diarrhea, stomach pain, or food poisoning.
As soon as you see these white stains appear with an unpleasant odor, it would be best if you immediately discarded the ketchup.
How to Keep Tomatoes From Spoiling?
Use Canned Tomato To Make The Sauce
Canned tomatoes are low in calories, high in vitamin C and fiber. While canning destroys some vitamin C and fiber, it is rich in lycopene.
This is an antioxidant that helps reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, and macular degeneration.
Canned tomatoes have been peeled, making it convenient and time-saving. Besides, using canned tomatoes will help your food preserve longer thanks to their sugar, salt, and preservative content.
The sugar content of canned tomato products forms lactic acid, an important substance that helps retain tomatoes’ natural sour taste.
Also, salt creates osmotic pressure, which breaks down the food cells, causing water in the cell to flow out, inhibiting microorganisms’ growth.
This is because Cl ions will combine with protein, making microorganisms no longer able to break down proteins to get nutrients to support life and growth.
Chemical preservatives inhibit the growth of microorganisms. However, you don’t need to worry because the use of chemical preservatives is strictly managed in terms of dosage, minimizing health impact.
Wrap In Plastic Food Wrap
The most popular way to store homemade tomato sauce is to wrap it in plastic food wrap (or freezer bags) and freeze it, similar to how you freeze pasta salad.
Refrigerators often contain many foods, and from there also arise many types of bacteria. If you don’t clean the refrigerator for a long time, it will also contain many bacteria.
Thus, film wrap has the greatest effect of keeping food from being invaded by microorganisms and exposure to bacteria from the surrounding environment.
Once your food is thoroughly wrapped, it will last longer in the refrigerator. This approach both ensures hygiene and prevents the refrigerator from getting an unpleasant odor.
Keep It In A Jar
Mason jars are usually designed with a tight lid to isolate the food inside from the outside environment. The food will not be affected by microorganisms and enzymes available or by microorganisms from the outside environment.
Also, other factors such as temperature or humidity do not affect tomato sauce.