If you’ve ever frozen vegetables before, you know they can sometimes defrost with questionable results. Typically, the more water in the vegetable, the worse the consistency is after you freeze it.
If you take a condiment like salsa, full of vegetables that are very liquidy, is there any hope?
Can you freeze salsa? Yes you can freeze salsa for up to two months. To freeze a typical red salsa or mango salsa, you should remove as much liquid as possible beforehand. Salsa Verde and pico de gallo freeze even better and require less preparation.
The surprising answer is yes, you really can freeze salsa. You can’t just take any kind of fresh salsa and throw it in your freezer, however. You have to take a few other steps to help preserve the taste, texture, and consistency.
In this article, we’ll discuss many different types of salsa and the best way to freeze each type.
Can You Freeze Fresh Salsa?
You can freeze fresh salsa, but it will not have the same texture or consistency coming out of your freezer as it does going in.
The water content in tomatoes and the other ingredients in your salsa will break down the structure of the vegetables. This leaves them softer and more watery when they thaw. The taste should still be great, however, as long as it’s frozen for no more than 2 months.
Many salsas are blended or pureed, so if you’re going to freeze raw salsa, it may be a good idea to plan for pureeing it after it thaws.
Before you freeze your salsa, remove as much water or liquid as possible. Find a very fine mesh strainer and cover it with cheesecloth. Pour your salsa into the strainer and allow as much liquid to drain out as possible.
You can freeze this liquid separately if you’d like, re-adding it to the drained salsa after it is thawed. Transfer your drained salsa to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag or Tupperware container.
The quicker your salsa freezes thoroughly, the better the quality will be when it thaws. So if you’re freezing in a container, make the serving sizes as small as possible.
Freezing in a Ziploc bag may give you better results because you can smooth out the bag very flat, which will help it freeze more quickly.
How to Freeze Salsa
The more reliable way to freeze salsa is to reduce the liquid through cooking it first. The vegetables will be softer after freezing regardless, so cooking them first won’t make much of a difference to the texture.
Similarly, as your salsa freezes, the flavors will blend together. So, again, cooking them first will only make the inevitable changes happen quicker.
- Add your salsa to a saucepot or pan and bring to a boil. As soon as it is boiling, reduce the temperature to low. You want it at a consistent simmer, but not so hot that it will scald.
- It can take a while to reduce liquid this way, so continue stirring your salsa for up to 45 minutes, until it becomes a thick sauce. You can speed up this process a bit by adding some tomato paste.
- Once your salsa has thickened, remove it from the heat entirely and allow it to cool completely. Never put warm salsa in your freezer as the temperature difference will create condensation that can lead to freezer-burn.
- Transfer your salsa to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag.
- Lay the bag flat on the counter and lightly press the salsa to spread it out evenly to every corner as you seal the bag. This will remove all the air from the bag and protect the texture and consistency of your salsa better.
- Place the flat bag on a baking sheet or other flat surface and place it in your freezer where it won’t be squished for at least 1–2 hours.
- Once your salsa is frozen solid, you can stand it up or stack other items on top of it to save space.
When you thaw your salsa, it will have a lot more moisture in it. It’s best to defrost it by allowing it to come to temperature in your fridge overnight. Once it’s thawed, you can mix it well to blend the flavors and integrate the water content.
If you find the texture is not quite what you want it to be, return it to a saucepot and simmer it for 5–10 minutes, stirring frequently. This should bring it back to its pre-frozen state.
Can You Freeze Salsa In Mason Jars?
You can freeze salsa in Mason jars, but you have to be very careful about it. Salsa, even once you’ve reduced the liquid content, still has a lot of moisture in it. As the water freezes it will expand.
When you fill your Mason jars with salsa to be frozen, always leave approximately 1 inch at the top of the jar to allow for expansion. If the jar is overfilled, it can crack under the pressure of freezing or, in extreme cases make shatter completely.
Can You Freeze Homemade Salsa?
Yes, you can freeze homemade salsa by following one of the two methods listed above, either fresh or cooked.
Veggies will not stay crisp and the flavors will meld together. But the benefit of freezing homemade salsa is that you can add more of the flavors you love the most, so that they stand out well even after being frozen, even if the texture changes.
You can also use more vegetables that have lower water content and prepare your salsa with your tomatoes already drained. This will help to reduce the liquid as you make it, saving time and energy.
Can You Freeze Store-Bought Salsa?
You can also freeze store-bought salsa, but never freeze an unopened jar or can. Jars and cans have been pressurized. So when it freezes, this means there is no room for your salsa to expand, and the can or jar will crack or even explode as the salsa freezes.
Instead, open the jar before freezing. If you’ve purchased salsa in a glass jar, you can simply open it to release the pressure, and then seal it tightly again with the tin lid.
As long as there is 1 inch of headspace in your jar and the original seal has been broken, it will be safe to freeze.
If you’ve bought a can of salsa, open the can and transfer the contents or leftovers to a freezer-safe bag or Tupperware container.
To freeze your salsa in a bag, try to make sure you release as much air as possible as you seal the bag. If you place it in a plastic container or jar, leave at least 1 inch to allow for expansion.
If you’ve purchased a plastic container of salsa from the deli, it will probably be safe to be placed directly in your freezer Still, it wouldn’t hurt to open the container, allow the air to de-pressurize, and then reseal it for freezing.
Can You Freeze Pico De Gallo?
Pico de gallo is a type of fresh salsa that will actually freeze marginally better than most other salsas. Even though it’s fresh, the ingredients are more varied and less water-heavy that a tomato-based salsa.
While there are tomatoes, pico de gallo will also have plenty of jalapenos, cilantro, onions. Depending on whose recipe you’re using and what ingredients are to hand, you may also find corn, jicama, or even citrus fruits.
Because these vegetables and fruits have lower moisture content, they will keep their texture better through the freezing process. You can still follow the suggestions above for the recommended freezing techniques.
Can You Freeze Salsa Verde?
Salsa verde is another type of salsa that actually freezes more effectively than a traditional red salsa, mainly because it’s usually a blended or pureed salsa.
The biggest drawback to freezing salsa is that the moisture breaks down the crunch of fresh vegetables but if they’re already pureed, the difference in texture is mostly unnoticeable.
The best secret to freezing salsa verde is to freeze it at the peak of freshness. As soon as it’s made or the jar is opened, if you know you’re going to be freezing some, freeze it immediately. This will preserve not only nutrition but also flavor and texture.
The next best tip is to freeze it in a freezer-safe bag instead of a container because you can freeze it quite thin and flat. This will help your salsa freeze more quickly, preserving the quality even more.
Can You Freeze Mango Salsa?
By now you should understand the basics of freezing salsa, so really the main question here is can you freeze mangoes.
The easy answer is yes, you can freeze mango salsa. The rule for freezing mangoes is to peel them and freeze them in small chunks. Both of these steps are automatically accomplished by putting the mango into the salsa, so freezing a mango salsa is an easy yes!
Otherwise, follow all the same recommendations from the beginning of the article.
Can You Make Salsa From Frozen Tomatoes?
If you’ve got frozen tomatoes and you’re trying to figure out what to do with them, salsa is a great solution.
Similarly, if you have a lot of tomatoes that you’re planning on turning into salsa and freezing, it’s actually a better idea to freeze just the tomatoes and finish making the salsa from frozen tomatoes with other fresh ingredients.
Tomatoes, fresh or frozen, aren’t crunchy. They have a very soft, mushy texture. Freezing isn’t going to change this, for better or worse, to any significant degree.
However, the other vegetables in salsa will change texture when they’re frozen. If you just freeze the tomatoes and then, when you’re ready to eat the salsa finish making it with fresh veggies, it will taste and feel a lot more fresh than if you freeze it pre-made.
The other thing that happens when you freeze salsa is that the flavors meld into each other.
For some, this is great. For others, being able to enjoy the unique bite of onion or cilantro is a key to a great salsa. If you fall into this latter group, making salsa from frozen tomatoes instead of making your salsa and then freezing it is definitely the better option.
Canning Vs Freezing Salsa
Canning and freezing are two of the oldest methods of preserving food and they are both very effective for keeping salsa fresh. Freezing is the easier of the two options though canning has its own benefits as well.
When you freeze food, the quality may not be perfectly retained, but it’s nearly impossible for it to go wrong from a health perspective.
Canning must be done carefully and properly in order to be safe. If not done correctly, your food can be contaminated with botulism bacteria, which is highly poisonous.
On the other hand, if canning is done correctly, it can be stored in your pantry nearly indefinitely without any changes to the quality, texture, or flavor. All of these degrade quickly when your salsa is frozen, so freezing is much less reliable for long-term storage.
How Long Does Salsa Last In The Freezer?
If you’ve properly stored your salsa as this article recommends, salsa will retain its best quality for up to 2 months.
It will be safe to eat beyond that time, but the flavor will start to degrade and the consistency will be less appealing the longer your salsa is frozen.
Frequently Asked Questions About Salsa
Just to make sure this is the ultimate guide to freezing salsa, we’ve included some other common related questions. We wouldn’t want to leave you hanging.
How Long Does Fresh Salsa Last?
If you’re prepared fresh salsa ahead of time, you’ll want to make sure that it is stored in an airtight container, preferably glass.
Glass will prevent any outside flavors from seeping into your salsa and it will also keep your vegetables fresh as long as possible. You can expect fresh salsa to last up to 1 week in your fridge.
Never eat directly from the storage container and then put it back in the fridge. Always take out a serving and put the remainder back in the fridge as quickly as possible. This will keep the risk of contamination lower and extend the life of your salsa as much as possible.
What is Salsa Fresca?
Salsa fresca is simply a fresh salsa, made with raw, just chopped ingredients. Many salsas are cooked and cooled, which would not truly be fresca. It’s best enjoyed immediately after preparing so that the individual flavors are still discernable in each bite.
Is Salsa Gluten-Free?
Salsa is naturally gluten-free typically, though it can depend on the ingredients.
If, for some reason, your salsa is made using wheat berries or some other unusual ingredient, it may be a different story, but most salsa is made with vegetables and fruits, which do not contain gluten.
If you have celiac disease you will want to check the packaging of any store-bought salsa to make sure that it was prepared in a completely gluten-free environment.
Cross-contamination can occur in a workspace, even if the ingredients themselves don’t contain gluten.
What is Salsa Roja?
Salsa roja is a traditional Mexican red sauce (salsa means sauce and roja means red). If you find salsa roja picante, you’ve got a spicy red salsa on your hands.
Usually, this sauce is made with ingredients very similar to a typical U.S. salsa, with tomatoes being the key component, but is usually served blended until relatively smooth, rather than chunky.
Is Salsa Keto?
Salsa is usually quite low in carbohydrates and includes a decent amount of fiber, making the net carbs even lower.
If you’re following a strict Keto diet it’s a good idea to prepare your own salsa so you can carefully monitor the recipe. Some store-bought brands add enough sugar to their salsa that it can become more difficult to include in a Keto diet.
Up Next: Can You Freeze Passata?