However you use it ‒ to brighten tostadas and tacos, smother enchiladas and burritos or serve with chips ‒ salsa verde looks vivid and tastes refreshing. Traditionally made with mild, but tangy tomatillo peppers, the sauce also works with mild Anaheim peppers, hot poblanos or jalapenos, and very hot serranos. Chopped cilantro boosts both the flavor and the color. No matter which pepper you use when making salsa or salsa verde, you’ll get a good dose of healthy capsaicin chemicals that research suggests may keep your heart healthy and your blood pressure low.
Maximize the Quality
It’s obvious, but important, to make sure that the salsa verde is completely fresh before you attempt to freeze it. The sooner you pop it in the freezer after making it or opening the container or jar, the better. Homemade salsa verde or an opened container of salsa from the refrigerator case at the grocery stays fresh in the fridge for five to seven days. Both unopened, refrigerator-case salsa or an open bottle of commercial salsa stays fresh for seven days.
Wrap It Well
The good news is that salsa verde retains all its vitamins and minerals when you freeze it – but only if you wrap it properly. Use freezer-grade plastic bags and pour in the salsa so you can freeze it flat for easy storage, or use a sturdy, heavy plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. You can freeze commercial salsa from the refrigerator case in the plastic container it came in.
Only use a glass container if it is specifically marked as “safe for freezing,” such as a tempered glass jar used for canning. Only fill the container to within about 3/4 inch of the top. Unfortunately, even tempered glass jars can split and crack in the freezer.
Watch the Time
Although salsa verde stays safe indefinitely from bacteria and spoilage as long as your freezer remains at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, its quality may suffer, depending on how long it’s in the deep freeze. Whether homemade or commercial, all types of salsa retain their quality without getting mushy for about two months in the freezer.
If you have any reason to believe that the salsa verde has gone bad, either before or after freezing, err on the side of safety and throw it out. If it’s bad, it may have a bit of mold growing on the surface, a film of slime on the surface or an “off” odor. Any amount of mold that you see may also have permeated into the salsa in ways that you can’t see.
- Cook's Thesaurus: Fresh Chile Peppers
- University of California Berkeley Wellness: Can Spicy Food Boost Health?
- Still Tasty: Salsa, Fresh - Homemade
- Still Tasty: Salsa, Commercially Packaged, Sold in Refrigerated Container - Unopened
- Still Tasty: Salsa / Picante Sauce, Commercially Bottled, Sold Unrefrigerated - Opened
- United States Department of Agriculture: Freezing and Food Safety
- Real Simple: Freezer Fundamentals
Susan Lundman began writing about her love of cooking, ingredient choices, menu planning and healthy eating after working for 20 years on children's issues at a nonprofit organization. She has written about food online professionally for ten years on numerous websites, and has provided family and friends with homemade recipes and stories about culinary adventures. Lundman received her M.A. from Stanford University.