You can’t call yourself a true foodie if you don’t love salsa, period.
All joking aside, salsa has been a staple of South American cuisine and is a welcome guest in most households in the West. You won’t find a person that doesn’t like salsa with tacos and nachos.
What’s more, salsa also goes great with most types of meat. Try making some salsa with beef, and you’ll find out just how tasty this side dish is.
In fact, since salsa is basically sauce, it’s one of the most versatile dishes in the world. Not only does it mix well with meat, but you can also find countless recipes that give this Mexican dish a spin.
And since this is an incredibly versatile type of food, sometimes a half-opened jar of salsa can sit in your fridge for weeks. At moments like these, when you’re looking at the fishy jar of salsa, you must’ve asked yourself: “Does homemade salsa go bad?”
Unfortunately, this question has many answers. Why? Well, there are hundreds of options when it comes to salsa recipes. Depending on the ingredients you used, your homemade salsa can last anywhere between a day and two weeks.
In this article, we’ll tackle the question of salsa shelf life. We’ll talk about how long homemade salsa lasts and we’ll teach you how you can preserve it for long periods. And lastly, we’ll give you a couple of pointers on how to check if your salsa is spoiled or not.
But first, let’s get to know this saucy dish a bit better.
What Is Salsa Anyway?
Salsa is a type of sauce that’s been made famous by Mexican cuisine. This tasty dish is also known by other names like salsa Fresca and hot salsa (or salsa Picante).
Most salsas are used as a dip. What’s more, this food is commonly used to add spice to the main course or other side dishes.
When it comes to ingredients, no salsa can go without tomatoes, onions, and chilies. Other spices vary from recipe to recipe, but the most common one is paprika. This is why they come in such variety. Today, you can find store-bought salsa that ranges from mildly spicy to dangerously hot.
The real origin of this sauce is still a topic of hot debate. However, the most reliable evidence points to Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas. They used to mix tomatoes with chili and other herbs together to enrich the taste of each individual ingredient.
Of course, salsa wouldn’t even become a reality if these people didn’t have access to tomatoes. Thankfully, because of the mineral-rich soil, South America is excellent for growing this plant.
Salsa got its name thanks to a Spanish priest and missionary Alonso de Molina. In 1571, the Spanish Conquistadors used this sauce as a side dish for turkey, venison, and fish. A bit later, Alonso de Molina named this combination salsa.
Since then, salsa has become available in supermarkets all around the world. You can get it in bottles, cans, jars, and everything in between.
Just googling the word “salsa” will return countless salsa recipes, each tastier than the other.
But how long does homemade salsa last? Well, let’s find out!
How Long Does Homemade Salsa Last
So, you’re looking at a half-eaten jar of salsa you forgot in your fridge. How long has it been open? You have no clue.
Can you eat it?
Does salsa go bad? Is salsa more like hot sauce, and can stay fresh for weeks?
Before you make the decision to stick your spoon in the jar, you need to get your facts straight.
Yes, salsa does go bad. However, homemade salsa and store-bought salsa don’t have the same shelf life. Also, an unopened jar of salsa can last much longer than an opened one.
So, let’s go over each type of salsa you can get and see how long they can last before they spoil.
How Long Does Homemade Salsa Last?
Homemade salsa is one of the most popular types of salsa in the world because it allows people to give the recipe a unique spin.
Unfortunately, homemade salsa has the shortest shelf life of them all. If you cover the bowl and keep it well refrigerated, this type of salsa will last only up to six days before it goes bad.
The reason why homemade salsas don’t have a long shelf life is that most recipes assume you’ll be making the food to eat it now, or at least in the next few days. And this is a good thing because you won’t be ingesting preservatives store-bought salsas are full of.
One way to keep your homemade salsa fresh for longer is to freeze it. And if you want to find out how to freeze it, just keep on reading, we’ll teach you how a bit later in this article.
One thing you should know about freezing homemade salsa is that it’ll slightly change its consistency.
How Long Does Store-Bought Refrigerated Salsa Last?
The closest thing to homemade salsa is store-bought refrigerated salsa. Why? Because it doesn’t come chock-full of food preservatives. And since there are no food preservatives, this type of salsa can last just a bit longer than homemade salsa.
The main reason why store-bought refrigerated salsa can last longer than its homemade counterpart is because the latter one is pasteurized. This process uses mild heat to neutralize pathogens and extends the shelf life of foods and drinks.
If you don’t open the jar, refrigerated store-bought salsa will last for around two weeks. Once you open it, if you cover the top well and keep it well refrigerated, you can enjoy salsa for about a week before it goes bad.
Can You Freeze Homemade Salsa?
If homemade salsa can’t last more than a week in the fridge, can you freeze it?
Yes, you can freeze homemade salsa. In fact, this is the best way to preserve your homemade salsa for extended periods.
Because salsa ingredients are already crushed, frosting and defrosting won’t have much effect on the texture of the meal. The color might change a bit after defrosting and it might become soggier after defrosting, but that won’t affect the flavor.
To freeze your homemade salsa, all you need is a plastic container. After you’ve made your favorite salsa, let it cool down to room temperature. After that, take a plastic container and pour the salsa until the container is almost full.
After you’ve poured your homemade salsa, put on the lid, make sure it’s tightly closed and put the container into the freezer.
Frozen salsa can last up to a year in the freezer, but the longer it sits in there the soggier it’ll be after defrosting.
How To Know If Homemade Salsa Has Gone Bad And Why Does It Go Bad Faster Than Hot Sauce?
The best way to find out if your salsa has gone bad or not is to use your senses.
- First, you should do a quick smell test. If your salsa smells unpleasant, it’s probably spoiled.
- Besides the smell, spoiled salsa is also quite thick.
- Of course, the most telling clue your salsa has gone bad is if there is mold forming on its surface.
- Even if your salsa passes the sense test, it still might be off. This dish doesn’t have to go bad to offer a terrible eating experience. If your salsa has been sitting in the fridge for a while, it won’t be as fresh as when you made it, effectively losing its taste.
But Why Does Salsa Have A Shorter Shelf Life Than Hot Sauce?
Well, the answer to this question is quite simple: Chilli and Vinegar.
- Chilli and vinegar are the two main ingredients in all hot sauces, and they work as natural preserving agents. Even though salsa contains the same ingredients, the ratio is entirely different. Not even close.
- Vinegar used to make hot sauce can be measured in cups, while salsa only contains a couple of spoons. The same goes for chili too. There are typically more hot peppers in hot sauce than in salsa. This is why you can measure the shelf life of an opened hot sauce in months, while salsa can last only for a week before it goes bad.
So, as you’ve seen, the salsa shelf life can vary greatly depending on the ingredients used and how it was made. If you want a jar of this sauce that’ll last you for months, go for the store-bought stuff.
However, no matter how good a store-bought jar of salsa is, it can’t compare to the one you make yourself. Homemade salsa has a richer taste because all ingredients are fresh and it’s more healthy because there are no food preservatives.
We hope you learned something today. And if you did, we encourage you to share this article around so other people can learn something new too!