How to Freeze Fresh Salsa

Salsa translates to “sauce”, and it can be created and used in a very large variety of ways. Some people use it as a substitute for ketchup, while others enjoy it as a dip. It can even be enjoyed as a food on its own.

Unlike other sauces, salsa can be eaten as a side dish with a spoon, but it can also be used as a topping. Salsa can go with nearly every food, including chicken, potato, steak, and even salad. It would be very beneficial to freeze salsa and keep it for later.

Yes, you can freeze fresh salsa. This is a perfect way to preserve the taste, but the longer you freeze it, the more the taste gets missing. You can freeze salsa for as long as two to four months, but it is best to use it before then so you can still enjoy the taste.

What is salsa made from?

To preserve salsa properly, you need to understand what it is made from. Most homemade salsa dishes would have the following items as ingredients:

  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Jalapeno
  • Red onion
  • Green onion
  • Garlic
  • Lime
  • Chili powder and cumin
  • Salt and pepper

Salsa will often have a lot of vegetables, even though there are different ways to make it. Fruits and vegetables are the mainstays in salsa, and some people throw herbs and beans into the mix.

However, freezing vegetables and fruit mixtures can be a tricky thing. The more water content your veggies contain, the more likely they are to come out soggy and unrecognizable.

This means you have to be very careful when freezing salsa, so it doesn’t come out looking horrible. Sure, the texture and consistency of your salsa will change a little, but the taste will remain just as great.

How to make freezer-safe salsa

If you’re uncertain that your salsa mix will hold up after being frozen for a month, here’s a quick recipe to make freezer-safe salsa. You will need the ingredients listed above. Here are the steps:

  • Slice 10-15 tomatoes into small cubes and remove the cores and seeds.
  • Mix with 2 onions and 2 green peppers, diced.
  • Slice 8 jalapeno peppers into small cubes as jalapenos have a stronger flavor, so they’re better off eaten in small doses.
  • For a spicier salsa, leave the seeds on. Add the jalapenos into the mixture.
  • Add two cloves of finely chopped garlic.
  • Place all the ingredients in a large pot
  •  Flavor the veggies with chopped cilantro, freshly squeezed lime, ground coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  • Stir until well combined.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat while stirring.
  • Simmer for 45 minutes uncovered to thicken the sauce.

How to freeze salsa

There are two types of salsa you can freeze: homemade and store-bought. If you’ve put a lot of work into making your salsa, here are steps you can take to get it frozen.

Freezing homemade salsa

You could pour your salsa into a jar and drop it in the freezer, but that won’t help you much. Some effort is required to make sure your salsa comes out great when it’s thawed. Here are the steps you need to take:

  • Thicken your salsa: Let your salsa simmer just enough until some of its liquid evaporates.
  • Skip the first step if your salsa is already extra thick.
  • Alternatively, you can add tomato paste to the sauce to make it thicker. 
  • Be sure to let it cool to room temperature before freezing.
  • If you freeze hot or warm salsa, ice will form at the top of the container due to condensation.
  • Portion out your salsa per serving and transfer each into a freezer-safe bag or container.
  • Label the containers with the present date so you know how much time it has left.

When you’re pouring the salsa into the containers, be sure to leave an inch of space for moisture. If you fill the containers entirely, the salsa will expand while frozen and could burst the container.

Freezing store-bought salsa

This is a fairly easier step than freezing homemade salsa, but the requirements are similar. Store-bought salsa is often sealed in a container or a can, but you shouldn’t throw it in the freezer immediately. Here are the steps:

  • Open the salsa container to relieve the pressure within.
  • Check if the salsa is thick or watery.
  • If it is watery, let it simmer in a pot for 45 minutes until it is thick.
  • When it is thick and has cooled, return it to the container.
  • Leave one inch of space, due to potential expansion of the salsa during freezing.
  • Label and mark the date before laying it gently in the freezer.

How to thicken watery salsa

Thick salsa is best for freezing, while watery salsa is the worst. If your salsa is watery, you can thicken it before freezing by taking these steps:

  • Simmer for 45 minutes on low heat. If it is thick at this point, don’t continue with the steps.

However, if it is not yet thick:

  • Start with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch for every cup of salsa that you want to thicken.
  • In a medium bowl, add the cornstarch with an equal amount of water.
  • Stir until you form a paste.
  • While the salsa is simmering, whisk in the cornstarch paste and stir continuously for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Boil the salsa for 1 minute and then remove it from the stove. 
  • Avoid boiling for longer than a minute, otherwise, it will start to break down to a thinner consistency.

How long does salsa last in the freezer?

It can last for up to four months in the freezer. However, by that time, the flavor and taste of the salsa would be very different. The safest time frame for freezing salsa is two months.

Two months in, your salsa will still preserve much of its taste and quality. After two months, the consistency and quality will start to change. It is best to enjoy your salsa within that two-month timeframe.

How to know if frozen salsa has gone bad

Salsa has a vegetable and fruit base, which makes it easy to go bad quickly. Spoiled salsa often has a different appearance, especially with color and signs of mold. Other signs can include odor.

It is important to note that homemade salsa, unlike store-bought salsa, contains no preservatives. You will need to be extra careful when storing homemade salsa to ensure it freezes properly and doesn’t go bad.

The best way to store salsa is to freeze it. It preserves the flavor for some time, but it will spoil after four months.

How to thaw salsa

To defrost salsa, you need to take out the portions you need from the freezer and keep them in the fridge overnight. This is why it is important to freeze your salsa in portion sizes, rather than the whole.

If the water is separated from the salsa after it thaws, drain out the excess water. This won’t affect the taste or texture of your salsa.

Once it has thawed, heat the salsa and eat it as soon as possible. You can also leave the salsa thawed in the fridge, but not for more than two days.

Can you refreeze salsa?

It is not advised to refreeze salsa because of how much the texture and quality can change. Your salsa has already gone through some texture changes, as well as reduced quality when you freeze and thaw it the first time. Doing it a second time will only worsen the change.

Once salsa has been defrosted, it is best to consume, rather than refreeze. The best way to manage salsa is by originally freezing it in portion sizes. This will make it easier to only defrost what you will be using.

How well does salsa freeze?

This depends on what type of salsa you want to freeze. Pureed salsa can last a long time in the freezer, but fresh vegetable salsa will last for a lesser time.

Water will separate from the vegetables during freezing, which will make the salsa turn mushy. So it is important to reduce the water levels properly before you freeze your salsa.

In conclusion

Salsa can stay frozen for two to four months, but it will gradually lose both taste and texture over time. The key to freezing salsa is making it very thick so it has very little water content. It is also important to recognize when salsa goes bad, which can be seen with changes in color and appearance.