Salsa can be used in many ways which makes it a very handy ingredient to have around the house. Whether you incorporate it into a sauce with vegetables or meat, use it as a dip, or mix it into pasta, its flavor and texture profile marries well with a variety of dishes.
The shelf life of salsa will vary depending on whether it is homemade or store-bought, but one thing is certain, you don’t want it to go to waste. Luckily, salsa can be frozen to extend its shelf life, keeping it fresh for longer.
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.
However, salsa can also refer to any kind of chunky sauce or condiment generally made with a tomato-rich base. Mexican salsa also includes chilies.
Salsa can be raw or cooked and is usually served at room temperature. Besides being enjoyed as a condiment, sauce, or dip, 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.
Can Salsa Be Frozen?
Yes, whether homemade or store-bought, salsa can be frozen to extend its shelf life. Salsa should not undergo too much of a textural change on freezing, however, this may 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 tomatoes are one of the main ingredients, you may find that the salsa becomes slightly watery on thawing. Excess liquid can simply be drained off once defrosted if necessary.
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 salsa is showing signs of going bad, discard it.
Step 2: Portion
You can either freeze the 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 a resealable freezer bag. Press out all the 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 bag with the date and contents and place it into the freezer.
How To Thaw 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 liquid and adjust the seasoning if needed before adding it to the desired dish.
Regardless of whether you bought it fresh, in a jar, or made it yourself, salsa can be frozen to extend its shelf life, saving you money and 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.
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