Salsa, the versatile and delicious concoction of vegetables and herbs, is a delight which can be easily made at home and consumed throughout the year. How, you ask? By freezing it, of course! Allow Tastessence to tell you more.
Let go of your sky-high expectations to begin with. Salsa is usually made of vegetables, mainly tomatoes, and they don’t freeze too well. So, when you thaw the salsa, you can expect it to get a little soggy with a slightly altered taste. Therefore, frozen salsa is best used as an additive in a dish, rather than consumed directly as a dip.
Those who love the sweet and tangy taste of tomatoes, often rue the fact that fresh produce is available only for a few months of the year. Yes, there is ketchup and bottled salsa, but do they really match the wholesome flavors of their homemade counterparts? Of course they don’t.
While store-bought salsa can last for months, it comes at a cost of being loaded with preservatives―and let’s be honest here―it does end up altering the taste.
CAN YOU FREEZE SALSA?
So, if you happen to be a fan of homemade salsa (who isn’t?), and wish to relish it all year round, we’ve got some good news for you. You can make a basic salsa at home and freeze it for a good 3 – 4 months, and even more if you are absolutely careful while making and packing it. Here’s how to go about it.
Basic Tomato Salsa Recipe
♨ 7 lb ripe tomatoes
♨ 3 onions, finely chopped
♨ 1 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
♨ 1 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
♨ 1 tsp salt
♨ 1 tsp ground cumin
♨ ½ tsp ground cayenne pepper
♨ ⅛ cup lemon juice
♨ Jalapeño peppers*, chopped
* Use according to desired level of hotness.
➜ Fill up a large saucepan with enough water to immerse the tomatoes, and bring it to a boil.
➜ Add the tomatoes to the boiling water for about a minute, or until the skins loosen up.
➜ Drain the water, remove the skins of the tomatoes, and mash them. You can crush them using a blender.
➜ Mix the crushed tomatoes, garlic chops, lemon juice, salt, ground cumin, and ground cayenne pepper into a large pot, and whisk this well. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then add the onions, cilantro, and jalapeños.
➜ Let this simmer for about 40 – 50 minutes, so that the vegetables soften to mush. Keep the pot on heat until you get the desired thickness in consistency―remember to cook it until much of the liquid in the sauce evaporates.
➜ Once the salsa is cooked well, allow it to cool. Use resealable freezer bags to store the salsa. Ensure that you press the bag to remove all the air in the pack, before you zip it.
➜ Use smaller sized bags so that you can use them in measured quantities, thus retaining the freshness of the remaining sealed bags for longer.
TIPS TO FREEZE SALSA
Understand what salsa really is. In Mexican and Spanish cuisine, ‘salsa’ is a broad term which covers a variety of sauces and dips―thin, chunky, smooth, spicy, mild, green, black, etc.; in fact, the word itself means ‘sauce’ in Spanish. One can make the basic version with tomatoes, or even use fruits like mangoes, melons, peaches, pineapple, or tomatillos.
That chunkier salsas shouldn’t really be frozen. If you wish to freeze salsa, it is best to puree the ingredients. The vegetable chunks taste heavenly when eaten fresh, but they tend to lose their flavors as they get watery when stored in the freezer for long.
Cook your salsa to prolong its life. We all know how raw salsa or salsa fresca tastes like little bits of heaven, but as unfortunate as it is, you can’t really freeze it for long. It won’t last, firstly, and it won’t be half way there in the taste department either.
Freezing it in the right containers does make a difference. The golden rule to make any frozen food item last long is to protect it from air exposure. Oxygen in the air can discolor the salsa, and cause its shelf-life to decrease drastically. Therefore, it is best to use glass jars or freezer bags which lock out the excess air, thus preserving the contents for longer.
Freeze it in small portions if you’re a frequent user. We just mentioned how frequent exposure to air can make your beloved salsa go bad in no time. So, it isn’t nice when you keep opening and closing the jar of frozen salsa every other day. Salsa addicts should ideally freeze it in small-sized jars or bags, ideal for one or two servings. This way, you can prolong the salsa’s stay in your freezer.