Salsa is life. Okay, that might be a little strong, but I am pretty much in love with salsa, and pretty much all of them. Every time I get the chance to try a new salsa, a jump at the opportunity. So, it’s probably no surprise to tell you that I absolutely love going to Mexican restaurants and raiding the salsa bar.
While in English it refers specifically to the table sauces that usually are the chunky tomato-and-chili-based pico de gallo, or salsa verde. However, in Spanish, the word salsa just means sauce. And in fact, there are many different types of salsas, like the two I just mentioned, but a few more are salsa fresca, salsa roja, salsa de mole, or salsa negra. Of course, the list goes on.
With so many uses and so much variety, it’s tempting to stock up on fresh salsa. What happens if you buy, or make, too much? Can you freeze salsa? I’m here to bring you the good news – you can!
Read on to learn everything you need to know about extending the shelf life of your salsa.
Can Salsa Be Frozen?
It’s probably pretty safe to say you haven’t tried freezing a raw fruit or vegetable before. And that’s because they don’t freeze well. The high water content found in fresh produce makes them bad candidates to freeze. After they are frozen, they become extremely squishy and much less desirable to use. However, while salsa is made up of fresh fruits and vegetables, it can actually be frozen.
That said, it’s important to note that while you can indeed freeze salsa, the texture will change. Just like when you freeze other fruits and vegetables, the crisp, crunchiness that most vegetables have will be gone.
So, the tomatoes will be slightly squishy, and the onions won’t be as crunchy. However, the taste of the salsa will not change. Whilst the texture won’t be as good as when it’s fresh, it’s still much better to be able to enjoy it rather than having to throw it away.
In the case of pico de gallo, or other chunky salsa, if the change of texture is too much for you, I have a hack that can transform it into something you’ll love. More on that later though.
How to Freeze Salsa
As I mentioned before, water is the biggest enemy when it comes to freezing salsa. So, the best approach to freeze salsa is to boil it beforehand to minimize the liquid content. Because your veggies will soften in the freezer, heating them will have little effect on the texture of your salsa.
Also, the flavors in your salsa will mix as it freezes, so heating them will speed up the process. To effectively freeze homemade or store bought salsa, follow these steps:
- Bring your salsa to a boil in a saucepan. When the salsa begins to boil, lower the heat to low, allowing the salsa to simmer but not to the point of scalding.
- Patience is required since decreasing the liquid takes time. It should take around 45 minutes for the salsa to thicken into a sauce. Are you in a hurry? To speed up the thickening process, add some tomato paste.
- Remove the salsa from the heat after it has thickened and let it cool fully. If you put heated salsa in the freezer, it might cause freezer burn, so make sure it’s completely cool first!
- Fill a freezer bag halfway with the chilled salsa.
- Spread the salsa equally on the bag by laying it flat and softly pressing on it. As you close the bag to remove air and maintain the consistency and texture of your salsa, make sure it’s in every corner.
- Freeze the bag for at least 1-2 hours on a baking sheet or level surface.
- Remove the salsa off the sheet after it has frozen. It may now stand alone or be layered with other things as desired.
You can also freeze your excellent homemade salsa! You have the option of freezing your salsa raw or cooking it down, as I mentioned before.
The vegetables won’t stay crisp, but the flavors will combine for a wonderful flavor.
Why not add your favorite flavors and have them pop even after they’ve been frozen? Make your favorite salsa recipe with flavors that aren’t affected by freezing!
Can You Freeze Salsa in Mason Jars?
Yes, salsa can, in fact, be frozen in mason jars. When freezing salsa in mason jars, however, you must be very careful.
Salsa retains a lot of liquid when frozen. Yes, even after the liquid content has been decreased! The water in your salsa will expand as it freezes. If your mason jars don’t have enough capacity, they’ll shatter when the salsa grows, leaving you with a mess and maybe broken glass!
However, there is a way to avoid this. Allow about 1 inch of space at the top of the jar to allow for any expansion. Your salsa will have plenty of room to grow without jeopardizing the integrity of your mason jar!
How Long Can Salsa Be Frozen?
The all-important question: how long will salsa last in the freezer? Frozen salsa should last for two months if you store it in the freezer according to the instructions above.
Your salsa will still be safe to consume after two months, but the flavor and consistency will have changed. The longer you keep your salsa in the freezer, the thicker it will get.
It’s preferable to defrost and consume frozen salsa within two months of freezing it. This is why you should date your salsa when putting it into the freezer, so you know when you should eat it.
How to Defrost Salsa
It’s pretty simple to defrost salsa. There are only a few steps to follow.
- First, remove from the freezer and refrigerate for several hours, or until thoroughly thawed.
- Then, since the thawed salsa does not have the same consistency as fresh salsa, it should be drained somewhat before using.
If consumed within a few months of freezing, the salsa should keep all of its taste and brilliant colors.
Because frozen salsa is thinner and less crisp than fresh salsa, some people choose to use it in dishes rather than as a condiment.
The Chunky Salsa Hack
As promised, let’s talk about the hack I alluded to earlier, which is most useful for chunky salsas or pico de gallo, where the change in texture is more noticeable.
To transform your salsa, you can simply defrost it then put it in a blender, and then you can also add any extra fresh ingredients like chilis, garlic, or coriander and then blend it together.
Afterwards you will have a salsa roja that can be used to dip tortilla chips or drizzle on top of tacos or burritos.
Can You Refreeze Salsa?
The risk of refreezing food is that it might spoil before it’s refrozen or thawed again. This is because freezing food does not destroy germs. Once thawed, bacteria continue to proliferate at the same exponential pace as before it was frozen.
This is one of the reasons why you should set your freezer to its optimal temperature. Because the already somewhat damaged cells are being enlarged with ice crystals again, refreezing decreases quality.
This isn’t a major problem for meats or baked goods, but it’s a significant deal for grains, pasta, fruits, and vegetables.
So, when it comes to salsa, you should only refreeze it if it has stayed cold during the entire time it’s been defrosted.
Some other things to consider before refreezing salsa is that a more homogenous, liquidy salsa will refreeze better. If it’s a pico de gallo or chunky salsa, the vegetables will degrade even more, and they will become even squishier and perhaps less appetizing. And of course, you should avoid refreezing if the temperature went above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, if other foods have leaked into it, or if you have any doubts about it all.