Tomatoes and other vegetables grow only a few months of the year in most parts of the United States. But you can have fresh fare all year round with strategic preservative methods. Buy some freezer bags, start a batch of salsa and invest in a whole year of fresh, tasty salsa.
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What Is Salsa?
Salsa is a mixture of diced vegetables with the addition of a spicy pepper to give it added flavor. Most commonly, salsa is tomato-based with the addition of fresh green pepper, onion, corn, garlic, jalapeno pepper, cilantro and other spices. Some less common ingredients include cucumbers, black beans, kidney beans, fresh fruit and citrus juice. People use different methods of making salsa; some people like to cook their ingredients, while others leave their ingredients raw.
Issues with Freezing Fresh Salsa
The best things about fresh salsa as opposed to store-bought salsa are the crisp vegetables and the explosions of flavor inside your mouth as you ingest a particularly zesty bite. When you freeze and thaw salsa, the vegetables tend to get soggy and the individual flavors meld together. This can especially be a problem with fruit salsas. Soggy fruit without taste distinction is about as far from appetizing as you can get.
To make your frozen salsa taste as fresh as possible, consider pureeing the ingredients before freezing. This will eliminate the issues of soggy vegetables and uneven texture. Liquids can also separate during freezing, so pour off some of the excess liquid after your salsa thaws. In fruit salsas, be sure to include enough lemon or lime juice to keep the fruits from turning brown as they freeze. Citrus is an excellent preservative, keeping your fruit crisp and flavorful.
Strategic Freezing Tips
To avoid freezing and unfreezing a pound of salsa every time you want a few tortilla chips, freeze your salsa in paper cups or ice cube trays, then transfer the single-serving-sized portions into freezer bags. This way you can thaw exactly the right amount of salsa; you can even pack a single-serving size of salsa in lunches. Grumpyoldgoat.com points out that salsa is a great starter for other recipes like chili. Use a few salsa cubes to season a simple black bean chili.