Olé! Every Mexican-themed spread has one staple dish that is guaranteed to be on the table — pico de gallo.
This refreshing mixture of spicy and sweet fruits and vegetables adds a dash of zest to every dish.
If you find that you have made too much of this signature side, can you freeze pico de gallo?
Pico de Gallo is also known as salsa fresca or salsa cruda. This implies that this mixture is fresh and raw. However, freezing will change the consistency of this dip, specifically making the tomatoes mushy.
It also removes the “fresh” component that is advertised in the name. If the texture is not an issue, then you can freeze it for up to three months.
The best way to preserve the original state of the pico is to blanch the tomatoes prior to mixing up the ingredients. Then, flash freeze the mixture on a baking sheet before transferring it to an airtight freezer-safe container. Finally, apply a tight layer of aluminum foil before snapping on the lid.
- How To Best Make Pico De Gallo To Freeze
- How To Thaw Frozen Pico De Gallo
- Final Thoughts
- Related Guides
How To Best Make Pico De Gallo To Freeze
As mentioned, texture changes are inevitable. Thankfully, there are ways to lessen these variations. Here is the best way to prep for pico so that it can better stand the test of time!
Step 1:Prepare The Tomatoes
Pick The Right Fruit
Did you know that 95% of tomatoes are water? While this is a fantastic quality for keeping consumers hydrated, it means that this fruit does not bode well in the freezer. That is because water expands when subjected to extremely cold temperatures.
Due to this, the original structure of the tomato breaks down, causing the texture to change to a mushy consistency. However, it is still safe to freeze tomatoes for up to eight months.
In order to achieve optimal results, first, you must choose the right tomato. Roma or plum tomatoes will be your best bet because they have less water content compared to other varieties of this bright red fruit.
Cherry tomatoes are another alternative, but they will increase your prep work due to their small size.
No matter which you choose, make sure to look for options that are at peak freshness, but not overripe. This means looking for options that are firm, but give a little when pressed.
Moreover, avoid produce that has any sort of blemish. Freezing will only halt spoilage, so try to find the highest quality tomatoes!
Blanch And Prep
Next, blanching is a crucial step in the conservation of this versatile fruit. First, wash the exterior of the tomatoes and then put them in a pot of boiling water. Allow them to sit for 30 to 90 seconds.
According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, “blanching (scalding vegetables in boiling water or steam for a short time) is a must for almost all vegetables to be frozen.
It stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavor, color, and texture. Blanching cleanses the surface of dirt and organisms, brightens the color, and helps retard loss of vitamins.”
However, this step does tend to soften the foods, so limit the time for smaller tomatoes.
Once the time is up, transfer the fruit to a bowl of ice water and then peel away the skin. This should be quite easy after boiling because the skins will have split open.
Then, core the tomatoes and remove the seeds. Finally, chop the tomatoes and put them to the side.
While this may seem like a lengthy process, this is one of the principal ingredients of Pico de Gallo so you want to ensure that it does well when you freeze it.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you want the best quality Pico de Gallo, you can also mix the remainder of the ingredients, leaving out the tomatoes until the day you intend to serve it. Since this is one of the headliner components of the dish, changes in consistency will be more notable than with ingredients like cilantro.
Step 2:Chop The Onions
Onions fare fantastically in the freezer, lasting up to a year with no issue. Best of all, there is no special prep required. Thus, pick mature onions, peel, and chop!
Step 3:Prepare The Jalapeños And Chili Peppers
Hot peppers are another simple fruit to freeze! They will last for six months in cold storage, with or without blanching.
While taking this extra step will help to maintain their color and nutrient value, it will also take away a bit of the crunch that we have come to expect with this spicy green pod.
If you do want to make the extra effort, blanch for two minutes after washing the exterior.
Otherwise, wash the peppers in cold water and then remove the stem and seeds. Finally, chop to the size of your liking.
Step 4:Squeeze The Lime Juice
This acidic fruit will not only add some zing to your dish, but it will also serve as a natural preservative! This is thanks to the citric acid and ascorbic acid that are contained in this sour fruit.
By adding this juice, you will help to better maintain the color and flavors of the various components of the pico de gallo when you freeze it.
It also freezes quite well, lasting between three to four months. Freshly squeezed is always best, so prepare as much as the recipe calls for and set it to the side.
Step 5:Chop The Cilantro
Cilantro will lose its texture upon freezing. However, you can maintain the flavor and color with a quick 30-second blanch.
Immediately, transfer this herb to ice water after this step and then gently pat it dry with a towel. If you are preparing this dish with the intention of freezing upon completion, it is recommended that you buy this ingredient fresh and add it on the day you intend to serve.
Step 6:Mix Your Salsa
Pico de Gallo is known for being less watery than traditional salsas. Thus, mix your prepared ingredients, but make a point to drain as much liquid as possible once the lime juice has coated the various components.
This will help to lessen any more changes in the dip’s composition upon freezing.
Step 7:Flash Freeze Your Pico De Gallo
While you can always shovel the ingredients directly into a freezer-safe container, flash freezing can help to more effectively conserve the texture of this signature dish.
Thus, take a baking sheet and line it with wax paper. Then, spread your pico de gallo evenly across the surface.
Next, place the pan on an empty shelf in the freezer. The goal is to rapidly freeze the pico de gallo, which requires ample airflow.
An overstuffed freezer will not allow this to occur so make sure that there is enough clear space. Depending on the quantity, this step should only take a few hours.
Step 8:Package Your Pico de Gallo After The Flash Freeze
Once frozen, remove the tray and transfer the pico de gallo to a freezer-safe airtight container.
Apply a tight layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil and then snap on the lid. Label the container with the date of the flash freeze and store the container at a consistent zero degrees Fahrenheit for up to three months.
However, for best quality, make a point to use it sooner. You also have the option to freeze your Pico de Gallo in a freezer-safe ziplock bag. In this case, make sure to remove as much air as possible before storing.
Finally, the fan-favorite of food preservation experts is vacuum sealing. This method removes the instance of moisture and oxygen from the food’s environment. The lack of these factors elongates freshness and limits changes in texture.
If you choose one of the two latter methods of storage make sure to apply a second layer of protection.
The aluminum foil blocks out light, which is the third ingredient that can cause bacteria to grow.
It will also help to insulate the Pico De Gallo when the freezer door opens and closes during the time you keep it in cold storage, keeping it at the optimal temperature.
How To Thaw Frozen Pico De Gallo
In order to conserve the crispy, bold and chunky components of this dish, move the pico de gallo from the freezer to the fridge a day before you intend to use it.
This will allow it to defrost slowly and for the moisture levels of the various ingredients to re-equilibrate more effectively.
Moreover, make sure to keep it refrigerated as these ingredients are perishable once chopped.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If consistency is not a concern, you do have the option of pureeing the pico de gallo since the flavor profile will still be intact!
Fresh pico de gallo is always best, but if leftovers are going to go to waste, freezing is an amazing way to keep this dish as close to the original quality as possible.
Make sure to freeze this mixture within one week of purchasing or making it at home.
Remember that homemade pico de gallo will fare much better because you can take the steps to select the best ingredients and blanch the tomatoes before chopping.
Finally, once defrosted, ensure that there are no changes in color, smell, or flavor. These are signs that the food has deteriorated and may be unsafe to eat.
When in doubt, throw it out. However, when made and stored properly, it is likely that this delectable dish will bode quite well with a meal planned for a later date. Add it to tacos, burritos, nachos, and even salads!
My name is Keren Tayler. I am a stay-at-home mama to three lovely girls, Sarah + Rachel + Hannah. Prior to becoming a mom, I had a successful career in the accounting field, steps away from becoming a CPA. I decided to give up on my career in order to raise my own kids (as opposed to letting a nanny do it, no judgment here :)) I learned a lot and I love sharing it with other moms. Along the way, I also became a Certified Food Handler.