Salsa is a great accent to have on any dish or as a side, and like anything which you can buy ready-made in the supermarket, it usually comes in large portions.
Or, you pay three times as much as you would for a larger jar just for a smaller amount, and really, no one likes doing that! So when it’s on sale, what will you do? Eat nothing but salsa for a week?
What if you make it yourself? It’s much easier to make a large portion, although this can present problems, especially if it’s just you, or if no one else in your household likes salsa.
The good news is that you can freeze both homemade salsa and ready-made salsa. There are some things to keep in mind, before you attempt to freeze it, as sometimes it’s not suitable.
When Should You Freeze Salsa?
We know that salsa is primarily made of vegetables and tomatoes (if we’re going with a classic recipe), and I’m sure you know that on their own, these components don’t freeze well for long.
Tomatoes, of course, are the most important ingredient. If you’ve ever tried to freeze a tomato, you probably found that it doesn’t end happily in its raw, perfect form.
There’s too much water content within a tomato to really make freezing it a viable practice for long periods of time (see also Freezing Tomato Juice). While you can make salsa from freshly-thawed tomatoes, the result will be much more watery, and it won’t taste of much.
The biggest problem with freezing tomatoes and then making them into salsa is that it can give your salsa an odd consistency, and if you know anything about salsa, it’s all about the consistency.
If you really want to freeze salsa, it’s much better to use it as a component or compliment in cooked meals, rather than as a side. The consistency change is a little unpalatable, and it does taste of, well, less.
The good news is that freshly-thawed salsa is great in soups, chili, (see also Freezing Jalapenos) or any other cooked dish that you can imagine salsa being perfect for.
If you want to add it to soup, the best thing is that you can add it straight into the soup pan, no pre-thawing needed.
How to Freeze Salsa
So, how do you actually freeze salsa? There are several ways, and it depends firstly on whether you’ve bought it ready to go, or whether you’ve made your own salsa.
Put the Unopened Jar in the Freezer
If you’ve bought a ready-made jar of salsa, you probably know that there’s always a gap between the jar lid and the contents of the jar.
If you haven’t opened the jar, you can pop it straight into the freezer, no problem.
If you have already opened the jar, you can still freeze it, making sure the lid is tightly shut, but it won’t work as well. As there will be more air inside the jar, this can lead to freezer burn.
Freeze Salsa in an Airtight Container
If you’ve already opened the jar, or if you’ve made some salsa yourself, the best thing to do is seal it into an airtight container.
You can use an old (clean) jam jar, or a clean mason jar, or any other suitable container for freezing.
Leave a small gap between the end of the salsa and the top of the container, as the more space you leave, the worse the freezer burn will be. Make sure to label what it is and when you froze it.
Freeze Salsa in Ready-to-Use Portions
One of the easiest ways to freeze anything is to portion it out as you need it. This way, you’ll only thaw exactly what you need, reducing the amount of waste and even the electricity you use.
You can either divide these up between containers or small jars, or to really save space within your freezer, you can use an ice cube tray.
Once it has frozen, transfer into containers or freezer bags in order to thaw and use only what you need.
Freezing Salsa: Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Freeze Salsa You’ve Made Yourself?
Most homemade food have the advantage and the disadvantage of not containing preservatives.
It’s healthier, you can use the exact ratio of ingredients you want (maybe some unconventional ones too), and you know what’s in it – you only add the sugar you want.
But, it doesn’t last as well as the ready-made stuff. The good news is that you can freeze it.
Freshly-thawed salsa will vary in appearance, color, and consistency of the salsa.
As long as you don’t leave it in the freezer for too long (where it mostly becomes ice, and it forgets what it originally was after a prolonged period), it will retain its flavor and taste.
Make your salsa how you normally would. If you need to heat your salsa, leave it to go stone-cold before you put it into its freezer container.
Divide as necessary into portions to save on time, money, and space.
If you’re putting your salsa into a freezer bag, remember to take as much air out of the bag as possible to reduce freezer burn before sealing it.
Remember to write the date of which you made and froze it, and then pop it into your freezer. Easy!
Can You Freeze Fresh Tomatoes in Order to Make Salsa?
It’s a lot easier to freeze the completed dish rather than the components, especially when several components are difficult to freeze on their own.
Tomatoes can be frozen, but they ultimately turn out better once thawed if you’ve already cooked them, or prepared them as part of a dish.
Thawed tomatoes are best used in sauces and other cooked dishes, as they tend to be more mushy than their raw and natural counterparts.
Having said that, you can freeze tomatoes in several ways. You can purée them, chop them into little pieces, or lay sliced tomatoes flat in a freezer bag.
You can also freeze them as you find them, and you don’t need to blanch them first. You can either leave the skin on, or take it off.
If you cut the tomatoes rather than freezing them whole, you will halve both the cooking time and the thawing time.
To prepare tomatoes for freezing, give them a rinse, and remove any greenery. Remove the seeds only if you don’t like them, but this is an unnecessary step, as removing the seeds will also remove the flesh.
You can go ahead and freeze them this way, in an airtight container or freezer bag, but try to keep as little air in it as possible.
If you’d prefer to blanch your tomatoes, remove the seeds. You’ll also need a pan of boiling water, and a bowl full of ice water.
The easiest way to blanch them is to use a heat-proof colander, and submerge them in the boiling water for 2 minutes.
Take the colander out of the boiling water and submerge them into the ice bath to stop them cooking any further. The skins may separate from the tomatoes, but you can remove them if you prefer.
Once they have cooled, the tomatoes are ready to freeze. Pack them into an airtight container or resealable freezer bag, write the date on it, and lay them flat into the freezer.
Can You Freeze Salsa Verde?
You absolutely can freeze Salsa Verde. This will also help your prep-time when it comes to making the dish. In fact, it freezes very well.
Make the Salsa Verde as normal, as if you were about to use it. If you do heat it at any point during the process, you’ll need to make sure it’s completely cool before you freeze it.
Portion the sauce into how many parts you need or find easiest, and pour into an airtight, freezable container. It’s especially important to make sure it’s sealed, as this will prevent freezer burn.
Leaving room at the top of the container, seal it, and write the date on it, and freeze it.
Can You Freeze Ready-Made Salsa?
Yes, you can freeze ready-made salsa. It’s worth mentioning that many sauce jars are not designed to freeze, so you will need to pour the contents into a freezer-safe container to prevent mess.
Both freezer bags and freeze-friendly containers will work fine for this.
Freezing Salsa: A Caveat
While you can freeze salsa, or even most of the components in their separate forms, it’s not recommended to stick salsa into the freezer and forget about it.
Compared to other food products, salsa will start to lose its taste pretty quickly, after about a month or so. To prevent fruit salsa turning brown in the freezer, add some lemon juice (see also Freezing Lemons), or even lime juice.
You can also can salsa, if you don’t like the consistency of thawed salsa.
While salsa can be frozen and thawed with ease, the consistency and texture will change, and it may lose some of its flavor. While it will work fine in cooked dishes, this may not taste very nice on its own.