IOTM: Preserving Pico de Gallo

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IOTM: Preserving Pico de Gallo

Postby Jenise » Wed Aug 09, 2006 2:26 pm

A friend just wrote, saying he'd like to can some pico de gallo. For those not familiar with that term, it's basically a fresh salsa of chopped tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro and chiles to which lime juice and salt may also be added. He wondered if there was any way to do that without boiling.

My answer was no. And behind my 'no' was the fervent belief that the what's so wonderful about pico is the exquisite combination of fresh ingredients, and further I'm thinking that in the middle of winter I'd rather have pico de gallo made from bad witner tomatoes where all the other ingredients are fresh than from any version of 'canned' I can think of. If it's not fresh, it's not pico.

But I did wonder out loud at how well pico de gallo would survive freezing, like a freezer jam. Not as good as fresh, but better than canned?

Any thoughts?
Last edited by Jenise on Wed Aug 09, 2006 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: IOTM: Preserving Pico de Gallo

Postby Scott Hinson » Wed Aug 09, 2006 4:02 pm

I've frozen it before. The flavor was okay....but....as one might expect the texture was all wrong. We had a BUNCH left over from a party. I ended up getting the stick blender out and making a sauce out of it. Still made a great dip for chips and sauce for tacos...but again the taste of pico with texture of...well mush...wasn't ideal.

I stick to fresh now and just use out-of-season when I have to.

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Re: IOTM: Preserving Pico de Gallo

Postby Barb Freda » Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:44 am

I'd be curious about trying to can it, though--even though true Pico is fully fresh. I wonder how little you could process it (shortest time needed to seal the lids) to make it possible...because I'd bet homemade, canned pico de gallo it welcome in January and February...
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Re: IOTM: Preserving Pico de Gallo

Postby Jenise » Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:33 am

Barb, I really don't know. I'm very inexperienced about canning, and though I've read of minimized procedures I'm totally ignernt about what they be and to what extent you can stave off the boiled flavors.
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Re: IOTM: Preserving Pico de Gallo

Postby Skye Astara » Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:15 am

My understanding is that to seal the lids, the contents have to come to a boil, and that reduced-processing canning still brings them to that temperature but not for as extended a period of time. Some old canning recipes that I have seen call for boiling the product for a ridiculous amount of time, then jarring and boiling the jars for a rather long time as well. I've only used the reduced processing method but the contents had definitely been boiled.

Case in point, I once decided to make some cherry pie filling from a windfall of Queen Anne cherries. I placed fresh raw cherries, liquid, sweetener, and cornstarch in jars and processed for the minimum required amount of time. I ended up with jars of boiled cherries with a gluey/cementish layer of hardened cornstarch at the bottom of each jar.

Not saying that it is impossible, I could well have done this incorrectly (aside from the obvious mistake lol).
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