Salsa is such as versatile ingredient with a flavor and texture profile that pair well with a variety of savory dishes. The tomato-based condiment can be made with fresh ingredients including chopped cilantro for a vibrant taste or you can make a spicier salsa with chili peppers, green peppers, and even add some cayenne pepper.
The shelf life of salsa will vary depending on whether it is fresh homemade salsa or canned salsa, but one thing is certain, you don’t want it to go to waste. Luckily, freezing salsa is a good way to extend its shelf life. There are however a few things you need to know before you freeze homemade salsa and how to use thawed salsa for the most delicious recipes.
Here is what you need to know when preserving salsa in the freezer.
Types of Salsa
Salsa is popularly known as a Mexican sauce or condiment eaten with tacos and used as a dip for tortilla chips. Besides being enjoyed as a condiment, sauce, or dip at room temperature, salsa can also be added to soups and stews for a depth of flavor, used to marinade meat, mixed into scrambled eggs, grits, and even enjoyed on toast.
There are a wide variety of salsa types. These are the most popular:
This red cooked salsa sauce is made with cooked tomatoes, onion, garlic, and chili peppers. To make your own homemade salsa roja you can also used canned tomatoes.
Also called pico de gallo, this fresh salsa uses fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, and jalapeno peppers.
Salsa verde is a green salsa and uses tomatillos instead of red tomatoes as the condiment base.
Usually a chunky salsa, these include a mango salsa, pineapple, or peach salsa with a fruit base rather tomatoes. To make a really delicious salsa, add a dash of freshly squeezed lime juice.
Can Salsa Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze homemade salsa with fresh vegetables or store-bought varieties. You can also freeze salsa verde. When freezing salsa, the textural changes will depend on the type of salsa you are using.
If you find the change too drastic, opt to use the salsa in a cooked dish such as a soup, chili, or stew.
Since fresh tomatoes are one of the main ingredients, you may find that the salsa becomes watery on thawing. When you freeze tomatoes, ice crystals damage the cells structure. Excess liquid can simply be drained off once defrosted. Add tomato paste to your cooked dish if too much of the tomato flavor is lost after freezing. This will also give you a thicker salsa.
How To Freeze Salsa
Step 1: Quality Check
Salsa should always be fresh when frozen. Check that the quality of the product is still good and not nearing its expiry. If the leftover salsa is showing signs of going bad, discard it.
Step 2: Portion
You can either freeze your salsa in large portions in a zip lock freezer bag or in ice cube size portions so that you do not have to defrost the entire batch when only needing a small amount.
Pour the salsa into an ice cube tray and place it in the freezer until completely frozen.
Step 3: Pack
Remove the salsa cubes from the freezer and pack them into resealable freezer bags. Press out any excess air before sealing the bag.
If you are freezing a larger portion, you can simply pour the salsa into the resealable bag, leaving a small amount of headspace for the liquids to expand without bursting the bag. Press out any air before sealing the bag.
Step 4: Label and Freeze
Label the freezer safe bags with the date and contents and place it into the freezer.
How To Defrost Frozen Salsa
If you are using salsa in a cooked dish such as a sauce, soup, casserole, or stew, you do not have to thaw it and can just add it straight to the cooking pot from frozen.
Keep in mind that you will need to add a few minutes to the cooking time to compensate for the temperature drop.
To thaw salsa for mixing into dips, dressings, or marinades, place it in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. If you find that it has become watery, drain off some of the excess water and adjust the seasoning if needed before adding it to the desired dish.
Regardless of whether you made your own salsa, bought it fresh, or in a jar; freezing salsa can extend its shelf life, save you money, and save on food waste.
Salsa is really easy to freeze. Just make sure that it is well protected from contact with air and moisture which will cause freezer burn and spoil the product.
Add the salsa straight from the freezer to cooked dishes, or thaw and drain it first. Either way, once you realize how many ways you can use and repurpose deliciously salty tangy salsa, you will never want to have a salsa-less freezer again.
Up next: Can you freeze alfredo sauce?
*Image by fotek/depositphotos