Anyone who’s thrown a big party knows how stressful it is to whip up big batches of food. Finger foods, appetizers, mains, desserts. How does one get all this stuff done in time? Cooking in advance of course!
Salsa and chips are some of the best appetizers for a meal-so it would make sense to prep the salsa in advance. Can you freeze salsa? The short answer is: yes, you can. The more complicated answer is that there is a right way to do so.
Maybe you want to meal prep your homemade salsa batch. Perhaps you bought way too many jars of salsa on sale. Either way, this article will tell you how to freeze your stash of spicy, tangy dips.
Salsa 101: The World’s Most Versatile Sauce
Salsa is almost timeless-different versions and variants of this dish have been consumed by Incan, Mayan, and Aztec societies hundreds of years ago. But besides the fact that is pretty old, salsa is also a pretty useful thing to keep in your kitchen.
This is because it can be used as both a condiment and a dip. Whether you want to spoon some over your meat in a sandwich, add to your tortilla wrap, or eat with nachos, salsa adds a fresh and tangy flavor that is to die for.
At the same time, salsa can be used as an ingredient in soups and stews, and Mexican-style curries. Some people also add a bit of salsa to marinades as the acid can tenderize and lightly flavor the meat. Besides this, you can even add some to salads as a dressing.
Salsa is also versatile because you customize your salsa to be as sweet, tangy, or spicy as you want it to be. Riper tomatoes will make a sweeter salsa, while habanero or jalapeno peppers will make it spicier. On the other hand, bell peppers will make it mild and rather sweet.
There are a few kinds of salsa that every foodie knows about. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most prominent ones:
This literally translates to red sauce and is the kind of salsa that is most commonly served in restaurants and food trucks. It is made from ripe red tomatoes that give it a bright red color. Most recipes for this kind of salsa include onions, garlic, and chili peppers.
Salsa Roja is very similar to the jarred salsa that is sold across North America.
Green salsa gets its color because it is made from tomatillos instead of tomatoes. Besides this, it is made with the same ingredients as Salsa Roja like onions, peppers, garlic, and cilantro. This kind of salsa is great with nachos or paired with heavy, meaty Mexican dishes.
Can you freeze salsa verde? The good news is that this kind of salsa freezes really well with little change in flavor or texture.
Pico de Gallo:
This is the most popular Mexican salsa and can include a wide range of ingredients like oranges and other citrus fruits. It is an uncooked salsa where the fresh ingredients are just blended together.
The salsa is chunky, which makes it hard to use as a dip. Instead, it is best used as a topping for other dishes like tacos, fajitas, and Tex-Mex style kabobs. You can even serve it as an alternative to your salad course as it is great with some thick, crusty rustic bread.
If you want to combine your love for Mexican cuisine and tropical fruits, this is the sauce for you. Like pico de gallo, it is a fresh and diced salsa with no cooking or crushing. Made from ripe mangos, bell peppers, red onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and lime, it is sweet, spicy, and tangy.
Can you freeze mango salsa? Although it is best eaten fresh, you can freeze it and use it as a topping for fish tacos, and as a side with chips. However, it is best to freeze it first and add the onion and cilantro after thawing.
This is basically Salsa Roja with a smokey twist. The ripe tomatoes are roasted to give the sauce a smokier flavor with bolder notes. At the same time, the smokiness is boosted with the addition of Worcestershire sauce.
Salsa is best used as a dip, topping, or ingredient in soups. You can also use it as a marinade for both fish and meat. It is a major ingredient for huevos rancheros.
How to Freeze Salsa
Freezing homemade salsa can pose several questions, especially for novices. Can you freeze fresh salsa? How long does fresh salsa last? Does freezing affect the taste of your salsa?
Before you learn how to freeze salsa, it is important to remember that frozen salsa can feel a little different when compared to fresh stuff. For starters, the texture changes dramatically, especially no-cook freezer salsa. Thawing also makes the salsa watery, so you will need to drain the excess liquid if you want to serve it as a dip or topping.
In general, does salsa freeze well? I wish it froze better, but you can absolutely freeze salsa and have a decent condiment later. However, it is best to use thawed salsa in cooking or as a marinade as this will mask any changes in flavor or taste.
With all that out of the way, here is how to preserve salsa in the freezer.
Freezing Store-Bought Salsa:
Can you freeze store-bought salsa? You can absolutely buy jars of salsa and freeze them. When using Pico de Gallo, store-bought salsa without onions is your best bet, while cooked salsa from the store will freeze just fine either way.
What You Need to Do:
- Check the packaging of your salsa. Freezing salsa in glass jars is a big no, as the glass can crack and shatter in the freezer. If your store-bought salsa was in a glass jar, transfer it to a plastic one.
- If your salsa came in a plastic jar, you can just put it in the freezer as is. You can place your jars in a freezer bag first for better protection, but this isn’t usually necessary.
- To store the salsa in smaller, more manageable portions, pour the salsa into ice cube trays. Once they freeze, pop them out and put the cubes in a Ziploc or freezer bag.
- Squeeze or push out as much air as possible before sealing the bag. Then place it in a second freezer bag before sealing and placing it in the freezer.
Freezing Homemade Salsa:
Most people make large batches of salsa at home. However, this can go bad in the fridge or your pantry pretty quickly. How long does salsa last in the fridge? While it lasts up to a week, it is best consumed in 3-5 days.
To freeze homemade salsa, here’s what you need to do:
- If you want to store a large amount of salsa in the freezer that you will thaw altogether later, store the salsa in a big plastic jar with just a little space left for air. If you leave too much, it increases the chances of freezer burn.
- You can also store the salsa in small jars and freeze them. Each jar usually holds enough for 2-3 servings.
- Alternatively, you can freeze the salsa in an ice cube tray as mentioned above. Remember to store the cubes of salsa in layers of freezer bags. This will help you thaw the exact amount of salsa needed and use up less space in the freezer.
Salsa Freezing Tips and Advice
Here are some nuggets of wisdom that will make preserving salsa easier:
- Can your homemade salsa instead of freezing them for preservation. You can then store them in your fridge for longer. This is a good and effective guide to canning sauces and jams. It is the best method on how to preserve fresh salsa without cooking.
- Freeze your tomatoes and until you need to make salsa. Can you freeze tomatoes to make salsa later? Blanching, dicing, and freezing tomatoes will keep the flavor and color intact.
- Salsa can get watery after it is thawed, so try to remove as much liquid when cooking it. How to thicken up salsa? Well, it’s super simple. Just cook off the excess liquid on low heat while stirring, until the salsa is thick and a little chunky.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here you will find answers to questions people have about freezing salsa.
01. How Long Is Homemade Salsa Good for?
Homemade salsa lasts for around 5-7 days in the fridge. It can be stored in the freezer for nearly 6 months, although the flavor may dissipate during this time.
02. Is Salsa Unhealthy?
People often wonder: is salsa bad for you? In reality, it is one of the healthiest dishes out there as it is full of vitamin-rich vegetables like bell peppers and tomatoes.
03. Will Freezing Salsa Change Its Texture?
Once frozen, the texture and consistency of salsa tend to change. The water in the tomatoes and the peppers in your salsa will break down the structure of the vegetables, leaving them softer and watery after thawing.
Now that you know the answer to the question: can you freeze salsa, you will have a lasting supply in your freezer that you can use at any time!