Salsa is incredibly versatile and cheap to make in a large batch. The only issue is that it does not keep for long in the fridge and so there is often a lot of waste. Many people don’t know that you can freeze home-made and store-bought salsa.
Salsa is a blend of spiced and cooked produce, based around tomatoes, onions, lime, and coriander. Tomatoes do not freeze well and can cause the texture of the salsa to alter slightly. They have a high water content and will release a lot of water when they thaw, but you can just pour this excess off.
This will make the consistency of frozen and thawed salsa different to that of fresh, but this is ideal for adding to warm dishes. We recommend adding a kick to soups and chillies.
The flavours tend to mix together more when the salsa is frozen and so it will not taste completely the same either. You can use the methods below for tomato salsa, pico de gallo or Salsa Verde.
How to freeze salsa
If you are trying to freeze unopened store-bought salsa you can just pop it straight in the freezer. Make sure to open the lid to release the pressure and ensure it is screwed tightly back on. If it has been opened, ensure the lid is on tightly before placing in the freezer.
If the jar is mostly empty, it may be wise to transfer the remaining salsa to a smaller jar so there is less air at the top. The more air at the top of the jar, the more susceptible the salsa is to freezer burn. This is especially important if you are planning to store it in the freezer for longer than a month.
You can do the same process for home-made salsa by simply placing into a container and closing the lid tightly. We recommend labelling and dating the jars so that you do not forget what it is!
When freezing home-made salsa, you need to cook it and reduce it down for longer than if you were making it to eat fresh. This means that more of the liquid will evaporate and your salsa will become thicker.
If you want to freeze smaller portions of salsa, say for individual use if you are living alone, you can do this in an ice-cube tray. This means that you can defrost exactly what you need at the time and minimise food waste.
Once these cubes have frozen, transfer them to a ziplock freezer bag and store in the freezer.
When you are freezing homemade salsa it is vital to allow it to cool completely prior to portioning it for freezing. You can also store homemade salsa in a ziplock bag with the air pressed out.
Salsa keeps well in the freezer for about 3-4 months. It can last longer, but after this point, the quality will start to deteriorate.
Pureed salsa and salsa with smaller chunks freeze better than chunky salsa.
How to defrost salsa
The day before you want to use your salsa, remove from the freezer and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours to thaw. Do not allow the salsa to thaw at room temperature.
We advise not defrosting your salsa in the microwave as this can be too harsh for the fragile structure of the vegetables and cause a loss in flavor and texture.
It is important to drain the liquid that comes off of thawed salsa before using it as a dip. If you are simply adding to a hot dish, you can empty the entire container in without thawing.
As mentioned above, the texture of thawed salsa will be different from that of fresh, as it is likely to be softer and more watery.
If you use the salsa within 3-4 months of freezing, it should not have lost any of its flavour or color.
Alternatively, you are able to can salsa which may retain more crunch and be more similar to fresh salsa.
If you want a thicker salsa once it has thawed, you can add cornflour. Per cup of salsa, you will need 1tbsp cornflour. Mix the desired quantity of cornflour with an equal quantity of water until a paste is formed.
Heat the salsa in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the cornflour paste and stir continuously for a minute.
Boil for 1 minute and then remove from the heat, as this will get rid of the starchy flavours. Do not boil for longer as this will have the opposite effect and thin out the salsa.
By now, you should be confident in the knowledge that you can freeze salsa at home easily. It is better suited to smoother salsas and is not the best idea for salsa that you intend to dip chips in.
It is important to remember to leave a little bit of air at the top of the container you are freezing the salsa in. It is also wise to label and date your salsa properly to ensure it stays in the best condition possible during freezing.
Do not freeze chunky salsa - either puree the cooked salsa or cut the produce into very small cubes before freezing. When large chunks of vegetables defrost, they tend to become watery and lose some of their flavors.
Ensure the storage containers are freezer-safe and airtight. Make sure the lids of the containers are tightly closed with a small gap for air at the top to ensure the containers do not burst in the freezer.
Freeze your salsa in silicone muffin trays or ice-cube trays for smaller portion sizes, transferring to a ziplock bag once frozen solid.
Freeze pureed salsa and add fresh vegetables and fruit to it once thawed. These will add a fresh kick to your salsa and this means that you do not have to make it from scratch each time you want to use it.