Homemade salsa shelf life and spoilage

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Homemade salsa shelf life and spoilage

Postby Bakemaster » Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:17 am UTC

I made a batch of pico de gallo a few weeks ago, and put it in a mason jar. Now it's gone all wrinkly and weird. I figured that between the capsaicin, the acids, and the salt, it would last longer. I want to stop buying crappy salsa or paying too much for pretty decent salsa, and make big tubs of the stuff like my father in-law does. But at his workplace he can go through the tub pretty quick, so I need to extend the shelf life of my salsa.

I figure I can go the preserves route and sanitize my jars which should keep the unopened jars in good order until I open them. But I'd like a jar to last longer after opening. Anyone have any tips? I thought I might try asafoetida since I'm aware of it as a natural preservative in Indian cooking, but after a little research it sounds like it would have too distinctive a flavor and require cooking.

Killer salsa recipes are welcome, too. Pico is straightforward enough, I'm thinking of making a salsa verde if I can still get good tomatillos this late in the year. And I'd love to know how to get that smoky flavor that some of those dark, mild salsas get.
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Re: Homemade salsa shelf life and spoilage

Postby Nath » Sat Nov 09, 2013 4:55 am UTC

From what I remember, capsaicin doesn't actually inhibit bacterial growth. Topping the jar off with some kind of oil might help (another preservation trick in Indian cooking), but that would be a pretty weird salsa. Simplest option is probably to freeze small portions, maybe in an ice tray, and defrost a few cubes of salsa as needed.

As for smokiness, why not try smoking the tomatillos? I've been enjoying my new stovetop smoker, but a wok works too. Another option is to char them on a gas flame -- that's what people generally do for baigan bharta. Or, there's always liquid smoke. Wright's is my secret ingredient in a bunch of things.
Last edited by Nath on Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:48 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Homemade salsa shelf life and spoilage

Postby PAstrychef » Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:21 am UTC

Some stuff you just have to make in smaller batches.
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Re: Homemade salsa shelf life and spoilage

Postby ahammel » Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:50 pm UTC

Nath wrote:From what I remember, capsaicin doesn't actually inhibit bacterial growth.
It is an anti-fungal agent, though.
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Re: Homemade salsa shelf life and spoilage

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Sat Nov 09, 2013 4:11 pm UTC

Can you go the full-on canning route? I've got salsa from two years ago, still delicious!

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Re: Homemade salsa shelf life and spoilage

Postby Bakemaster » Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:57 pm UTC

Yeah but it hasn't been opened for two years. I don't think I'll have trouble preserving closed batches, it's once I open it that the clock starts ticking. Store bought salsa has so many preservatives that I generally finish it before it goes off, but I also buy it in smaller jars... Maybe I should just buy some smaller jars. (Why do they call them "canning jars" when they are not cans at all?)
Nath wrote:Simplest option is probably to freeze small portions, maybe in an ice tray, and defrost a few cubes of salsa as needed.

I think that would ruin the texture and flavor of the tomatoes. The simplest option is for me to eat more salsa, faster!
Nath wrote:As for smokiness, why not try smoking the tomatillos? I've been enjoying my new stovetop smoker, but a wok works too.

Wok smoker? What is this sorcery?
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Re: Homemade salsa shelf life and spoilage

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:14 pm UTC

We must eat it at different speeds. A jar of salsa = two day supply.

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Re: Homemade salsa shelf life and spoilage

Postby Nath » Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:28 pm UTC

Bakemaster wrote:Wok smoker? What is this sorcery?

I meant this sort of setup. Or this, if your fire alarm or baby is sensitive to smoke. Either way, it's not the sort of thing that you'd actually try to barbecue with, but it is a viable way to add smokey flavor to things.

As for freezing salsa, yeah, it wouldn't do any favors to the texture of fresh pico de gallo. But it may work for blended salsas, or cooked tomato salsas, which are already mushy. Don't think there's a way to extend the shelf life of pico much.

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Re: Homemade salsa shelf life and spoilage

Postby PAstrychef » Sun Nov 10, 2013 1:45 am UTC

You can get canning jars that hold 1 cup. And you can get plastic lids to use when you open the metal ones.
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Re: Homemade salsa shelf life and spoilage

Postby Tomlidich the second » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:30 pm UTC

i go this route, because i make salsa ALOT and don't want the pain of making it on the fly.

make all components of salsa, except the tomatoes. the sugary tomatoes lead to spoilage.

can, (or jar) it, with robust amount of salt and small amount of oil.

before use: dice fresh tomatoe (or get canned diced) cut in mixture 50/50 with tomatoe chunks.

if you got your mixture right, it should not be too salty.

obviously best route is make it fresh every time, but schedules don't always allow it.

my family grew up with lots of mexican foods so i like to cook those primarily.
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Re: Homemade salsa shelf life and spoilage

Postby New User » Thu Jul 28, 2016 1:39 pm UTC

Man, this thread is old and still on the front page.

I just thought I'd drop in to say that the "full-on canning route" suggested is the best idea. Instead of making smaller batches, make large batches. Preserve it in mason jars. Put the jars in your cupboard. Eat salsa throughout the year. As a bonus, you can share them with your loved ones, friends, or neighbors. I've rarely met anyone who doesn't appreciate a gift of food!


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