There are three ways to preserve cooked foods, pressure canning, water bath canning, and freezing.
Pressure canning is the best option, but you will need to buy a pressure canner. Without a pressure canner, you will not achieve the required temperature, and your food will end up ruined if it has a pH higher than 4.6.
To avoid bacterial infestation, canning requires us to add acid to bring the overall pH lower than 4.6. But adding acid ruins the overall flavor, and this is why water bath canning is considered the second-best option.
A salsa can become a high acid food or a low acid food depending upon the ingredients. Therefore when canning it’s required to use almost-ripe tomatoes, use unripe mangoes, and so on. It’s also mandatory to add some citrus to lower the pH value.
If you have made salsa with ripe overcooked tomatoes, it’s best to throw it inside the freezer. Since you are unable to flash freeze, the salsa will remain fairly edible for up to 3 months.
How To Preserve Salsa Without Canning?
Freezing is the only method of preservation aside from canning. Almost every household has a freezer and we use it every single day. A freezer will preserve food for months, and most of the time the food is finished before it reaches the inevitable deadline.
Microorganisms like foodborne bacteria also need water for survival. Placing your food inside a freezer freezes it to temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius. Such low temperatures freeze the enzymes and water molecules. This creates an environment that makes it impossible for bacteria to grow, and as a result, effectively preserves your food.
Freezing your salsa has a limit of 3 months because after this period your frozen salsa will suffer from something called freezer burn. Reheating it after a prolonged freezing period will give you a sloppy, watery, tasteless bowl of salsa.
Freezer burn is something quite similar to a fire burn. Prolonged periods of freezing breaks the food molecules and as a result – when reheated – you are left with a sloppy mess.
There are a few things you have to make sure of before freezing your salsa.
- Don’t use plastic or glass pots for prolonged freezing. Glass can break easily when subjected to extreme temperatures lower than zero degrees. Similarly, plastic containers are also extremely fragile when frozen. Taking your salsa out of a plastic container will make for an hour-long hand exercise.
- Use plastic bags when freezing. Doing so will allow for easy removal. For extra convenience, make sure to divide the salsa into eating portions before freezing. As a result, you won’t have to refreeze leftover over salsa.
- Use a vacuum pump to pump out the air from your plastic bags. Having a vacuum seal before freezing will allow you to keep the salsa’s integrity for longer periods.
- Make the salsa into a thick sauce by cooking with less water. Add a few tablespoons of tomato paste to increase the thickness. A packet of thick salsa will freeze a lot better than a salsa swimming in water.