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How Long Will Salsa Last In The Fridge

by Lyndon Langley
How Long Will Salsa Last In The Fridge

How Long Will Salsa Last In The Fridge

When you’re shopping for groceries, be sure to check expiration dates on items like milk and eggs — but what about salsa? If your favorite salsa has been sitting around for a while, is there an expiration date you should look out for? And how long can you store salsa in the refrigerator without worrying about its safety?
Salsa, which is made from hot pepper chilies, tomatoes and other ingredients, has a relatively short shelf life. After opening, most types of fresh salsa last only a few days; if stored at room temperature, this may increase by up to 2 weeks. (In general, refrigerate salsa within two hours of opening.) But even then, if you’ve got leftovers, they’ll probably stay good for several more days before spoiling.
The longer a product lasts, the better it’s for you, so we asked food experts to tell us whether you should throw away salsa that’s past its prime. Here are some tips on how to use old salsa, as well as how long various types of salsa will generally last.
Types Of Salsa
There are many different kinds of salsa you might enjoy eating, including Mexican, Italian, Cajun/Creole, Caribbean, Southwestern, Buffalo and sweet. Some salsas have very specific uses, such as being used in certain recipes, while others are intended to be enjoyed on their own. Whatever type you prefer to eat, it’s a good idea to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding when the product should be consumed.
Fresh vs. Refried: When buying salsa, you’ll want to choose between the original version — usually labeled “fresh” — and refried beans. Because the latter contains more sodium, it can spoil faster than the former. However, the fresh variety isn’t necessarily safer to consume after being open for several days. This is because bacteria tends to grow during storage. So if you don’t plan to eat all of the salsa immediately, make sure to get the kind with a best-before date.
Chunky vs. Smooth: Chunky varieties tend to contain larger pieces of vegetables, seeds and peppers. They also contain less liquid, making them thicker and drier. These characteristics mean that chunky salsa is harder to spread, but it also means that it doesn’t need to sit in the fridge as long before serving. Chunky salsa tends to be fresher, too, since manufacturers can simply toss spoiled batches instead of wasting time blending them down into smoothness. On average, chunky salsa keeps for 3 to 4 days in the fridge, whereas smooth salsa can last up to 10 days.
On the other hand, smooth salsa typically has fewer ingredients, meaning that any extra flavors aren’t built into the recipe. Plus, the smoother texture makes it easier to mix with other foods. It’s recommended that you buy the thickest salsa available, unless you plan to serve it right away.
Different Types Of Salsa Keep For Different Amounts Of Time [Source: Food52]
Mexican: Fresh Mexican salsa shouldn’t go farther than a day or so in the fridge. Since it’s thinner, it won’t spoil nearly as quickly as a chunky variety.
Canned: Canning destroys enzymes, so canned salsa is safe to keep indefinitely. If you decide to purchase it, try not to let it thaw completely. You can transfer it to another container once it reaches room temperature.
Refried: Refried salsa shouldn’t be kept in the fridge for more than three days. As mentioned earlier, these products are often packed with salt, so they lose flavor more quickly. If you do keep them, however, stick them in the back of the pantry until you’re ready to eat.
Green: Green salsa, which is popular among vegetarians, usually stays fresh for one day.
Red: Red sauce-based sauces, which are spicy and rich, should be consumed within four days. Once red sauce begins to turn dark, it starts losing its heat.
Italian: Like Mexican salsa, Italian salsa should be eaten within a week. Its high acidity helps prevent bacterial growth.
Pico de Gallo: Pico de gallo, which translates to “small vegetable salad,” is a tomato based salsa. It should be consumed within five days of opening, although it can last for six months in the refrigerator.
Jalapeño Popper: Jalapeno poppers are small roasted jalapenos stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon. These spicy snacks should be consumed within four days of opening, otherwise they could become slimy and smell bad.
Toasted Corn Salsa: Toasted corn salsa is made with kernels pulled off of fresh ears of corn. Although it looks like a thick paste, it actually resembles guacamole. This salsa should be consumed within eight days of opening, due to its higher moisture content.
Sweet: Sweet salsa, which is made primarily with onions, can last for about seven days in the fridge. Avoid letting it reach room temperature, though, or its honeyed sweetness will disappear.
Buffalo Sauce: Buffalo sauce is a spicy condiment that originated in New York state. While it can last for several years in the fridge, it should be consumed within 12 months.
Which Foods Should Be Eaten With Hot Sauces? [Source: WebMD]
Just like spices, hot sauces vary widely in terms of taste and intensity. Some people find that the hotter the sauce, the better. Others love it mild. Either way, there are some basic rules that apply across the board:
Never cook with chili oil. Chili oils’ capsaicin content varies greatly. A bottle that says “3%” may cause severe burns if ingested. Always avoid using chili oils, which are extremely pungent and can cause serious problems.
Avoid consuming vinegar, citrus juice and lemon juice. All of these liquids can burn your mouth and lips, especially if drunk straight. Instead, dilute them with water, soda water, ice cubes or similar substances.
Limit alcohol consumption. Alcoholic beverages can cause your body to sweat, increasing the amount of heat in your mouth. Also, drinking with salsa increases your chances of getting burned.
Consider using bottled juices or vinegars. When you pour pure fruit juice or vinegar directly onto a hot dish, you expose yourself to dangerous chemicals called congeners. Congeners form when oxygen reacts with natural acids found in fruits and produce. One example is acetic acid, which occurs naturally in wine and vinegar. When combined with heat, it can give off poisonous fumes that sometimes lead to blindness, breathing difficulties, headaches, nausea and vomiting.
If you’d rather drink with your meal, remember that beer and other alcoholic drinks contain sulfites. Eating food containing these additives can result in nasty reactions like hives, swelling of the throat, difficulty breathing, chest pain, convulsions and death.
So now you know how long salsa will keep in the fridge, but what happens if you forget to take it out? Don’t worry: There are plenty of ways to extend its lifespan.
How To Extend The Life Of Leftover Salsa
A lot of times, leftover salsa sits around in our fridges, taking up space and potentially going bad. Luckily, there are simple steps you can take to ensure that your tasty stash doesn’t expire.
First, be mindful of the remaining salsa’s consistency. Is it runny, clumpy or lumpy? Runny salsa turns acidic over time, and it becomes unsafe to eat. Clumpiness indicates spoilage, as does lumps. If you notice any change in the salsa’s appearance, discard it.
Next, check the salsa’s expiration date. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to determine exactly how long salsa will last once it’s opened. Manufacturers put expiration dates on labels to protect themselves from liability claims, and it’s hard to judge exactly when salsa will spoil. However, you can still estimate the length of time it will keep.
For instance, salsa that was sold unrefrigerated will keep for about 1 month in the fridge after opening, assuming continuous refrigeration. To further extend the shelf life of opened salsa, freeze it: to freeze salsa, place inside covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. Defrost frozen salsa in the microwave, stirring occasionally.
Finally, if you’re looking for a new dish to prepare with your salsa, consider adding it to your next stir fry, casserole or taco filling. Just be sure to add it soon after mixing!
Although salsa is delicious on tacos, burritos and salads, it’s also great as a topping on chips and crackers, a dip for chicken wings, soup stock and pasta dishes, and stirred into omelets. Try experimenting with your own creations.


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