Can you freeze salsa? Many people who make their own salsa would love to make a big batch of it, but most of them don’t really know whether salsa can be frozen. Sometimes there’s this sale where you can buy good salsa for cheap and you’re not sure if buying a couple jars really makes sense. Fortunately for you, you can freeze salsa, both fresh homemade salsa and a store-bought one. There are, however, a few things you need to know about freezing salsa, so you’ll know whether freezing it makes sense in your case.
When Freezing Salsa Makes Sense?
Salsa is made mainly from vegetables (unless it’s a fruit salsa of course) and as you probably know, many vegetables don’t freeze that well. When it comes to salsa, tomatoes are probably the most important veggies (meaning they’re the main ingredient) and they really don’t freeze very well. That means that when you’ll thaw the salsa, the tomatoes will have a little changed texture, so the salsa will become a little watery (you can pour off the excess liquid after thawing).
Salsa’s taste after thawing will be (in most cases) fine, but the consistency won’t be that good. Please note, however, that few people find thawed salsa’s taste not that good, mainly because the flavors of various ingredients tend to meld together. Because of the changed texture, it’s suggested to use it as an ingredient, e.g. in cooked dishes (soups, chili), rather than straight, as a condiment (e.g. with chips). If you’d like to add frozen salsa into a soup, you don’t really have to thaw it, just transfer it into the pot.
Image used under Creative Commons from thisisbossi
There are a few ways you can freeze salsa, depending on your needs. Pick one that’s the best for your needs.
Freezing salsa in the original jar
If it’s a store-bought salsa, there’s always have a little head space in the jar, so you can simply put it into the freezer. If you’ve already opened the jar, make sure to close it tightly before putting it into the freezer. One thing to note – if you’ve already used some of the sauce, in many cases, it’s a good idea to transfer it into a smaller jar or container, so there will be less head space, especially if you plan to keep it in the freezer for more than a month. The less air in the jar/container, the less the freezer burn.
Freezing salsa in an airtight container or a jar
If you have your own salsa, or you have some leftovers from a big store-bought jar, you can freeze it in a container or a jar. Just transfer the salsa into the container, close it tightly, label it and put it into the freezer. Make sure to leave some head space, but not too much. As I’ve mentioned in the previous paragraph, the more air in the jar, the worse the freeze burn.
Freezing salsa in small portions
For most people, the most convenient way to freeze salsa is to do it in small portions. This way one can easily thaw only as much salsa as he or she needs at a time. You can do that using small jars or containers following the advice is given in the previous paragraph. Another way to do that is by using an ice-cube tray. Pour the sauce into an ice cube tray and put it into the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the cubes into containers or heavy-duty freezer bags and put them into the freezer. This way you’ll be always able to easily thaw only an individual portion of salsa.
Freezing Salsa FAQs
Can you freeze homemade salsa?
Although homemade salsa is made without using any sort of preservatives, it is perfectly safe for freezing. Since the ingredients are already crushed, the texture of the salsa does not really matter once it’s been frozen and defrosted. However, the color or appearance of the side dish may change slightly. The salsa could turn soggier or a little watery after defrosting. These changes, however, will not affect the taste and flavor of the salsa.
Just prepare the salsa as you normally would. Leave the salsa to cool completely before packing it for freezing. Once the salsa has cooled completely, divide it into serving portions for easy thawing later. Pour the salsa in a resealable freezer bag (or an airtight container). Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing the bag. Write the storage date then stick flat in the freezer.
Can you freeze tomatoes to make salsa later?
It might seem strange, freezing fresh tomatoes to make salsa for later but this is a surprisingly common (and economical!) practice. Although fresh tomatoes are not the most freezer-friendly vegetables there are, they can be frozen for a short period of time.
You can freeze the tomatoes whole, diced, sliced, or pureed. You can also freeze the fresh tomatoes as they are, blanched, skin on, or skin off. If you are using the tomatoes for salsa, we highly recommend cutting the tomatoes to size prior to freezing. This will cut the cooking time in half.
Just pick the freshest, plumpest tomatoes you can find in your local supermarket or garden. Give the tomatoes a thorough rinsing and remove the stems if there are any. After cutting the stems off, cut the tomatoes in half and de-seed.
If you won’t blanch the tomatoes, you can go ahead and pack the cut tomatoes in a freezer-safe resealable plastic bag after cutting the veggies to your desired size. Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing the bag. Write the storage date then stick flat in the freezer.
If you are blanching the tomatoes first, prepare a pot of boiling water and an ice bath. Using a colander, submerge the halved and de-seeded tomatoes in boiling water then blanch for 2 minutes or so. After blanching the tomatoes, take them out of the pot and into the ice bath. The ice bath will stop the cooking process. The skins of the tomatoes may come off at this point, just remove them. After blanching the tomatoes, they are ready for packing.
Pack the cut tomatoes in a freezer-safe resealable plastic bag after cutting the veggies to your desired size. Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing the bag. Write the storage date then stick flat in the freezer.
Can you freeze Salsa Verde?
Yes, Salsa Verde can be frozen and this tomatillo-based sauce freezes beautifully. Just prepare the Salsa Verde as you normally would. If you cooked the sauce, you have to leave it to cool completely prior to freezing. Once the salsa Verde has cooled completely, divide the sauce into manageable portions.
Pour the sauce in an airtight container with a sealed lid. This container will protect the sauce from freezer burns and frost. Do not fill the container to the brim, leave about an inch of space to give the sauce room to expand. Seal the container with the airtight lid and write the storage date. Store in the coldest spot in your freezer.
Can you freeze store bought salsa?
Of course! Store-bought salsa will keep well in the freezer. However, commercially made salsa is often packed in glass jars so you have to transfer the product in a freezer-safe container. Glass jars will burst in the freezer due to the freezing temps. You can use either an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag for packing salsa prior to freezing.
Freezing salsa for an extended amount of time isn’t recommended. It’s said that salsa’s taste starts to slowly deteriorate pretty soon, after a month, maybe two. It won’t go bad after a few months, but its taste might not be that great as after a month after freezing it. If you’ve prepared a fruit salsa, make sure you’ll spray it or add some lemon or lime juice. It’ll prevent the fruits from turning brown due to freezing. Also, many people suggest that one can salsa instead of freezing it. If you’re not satisfied with frozen and then thawed salsa, it’s a good idea to try canning it.
As you should know by now, salsa can be frozen. What’s important to remember is that freezing and thawing change its texture and it might not work as good when used as a straight ingredient (e.g. with chips), but should be fine when used in cooked dishes and other meals where it’s used as an ingredient.