A Quick Guide to Pasta Storage
Pasta storage can take many forms because there are several different types of pasta. For instance, uncooked pasta (dried or fresh) and cooked pasta are not stored in the same manner. Here we’ll take a look at some of the techniques of pasta storage.
Uncooked, dry pasta is the easiest type of pasta to store. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated. You can store it in your cupboards in the boxes it comes in. Most will have a “best used by date,” although dry pasta pretty much lasts forever. The USDA says not to keep dry, boxed pasta for more than two years, but that is a very conservative estimate.
Once you open any of the pasta boxes to cook some, the leftover dry pasta should then be placed in an airtight container until it is used up. Some people put all their dry pasta in airtight containers. That’s a good idea if you have any mice or insects that can crawl in through cracks and get in the cupboards. If there is a way to get into a pasta storage box, they will find it.
If you should have fresh pasta or you have made your own homemade pasta, you can keep it in a refrigerator for 48 to 72 hours before using it up. You can also freeze homemade pasta and it will last for two to three months. If you make homemade pasta and allow it to totally dry out you can use a cool, dry place for pasta storage. It will last around three months. If you stuff the pasta, you will need to cook it right away.
If you have fresh pasta and it is not going to be cooked immediately, you can freeze it as well. One way of keeping pieces of fresh or homemade pasta from sticking together is to lay them out on a baking sheet and then place the sheet in the freezer. Once the pasta is frozen, you can stash it in freezer bags and put it back in the freezer. It will last for up to nine months. Remember that you can cook frozen pasta by just throwing it into a pot of boiling water. You don’t need to thaw frozen pasta before you cook it. You can also microwave it.
Cooked pasta in a sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for one or two days. Any longer than that and the sauce will all have seeped into the pasta. With or without sauce, cooked pasta can be stored in the refrigerator. Stored pasta that’s not going to be used up in a couple days needs to be frozen. It can be stored in a freezer bag or container for up to three months. When you are ready to eat frozen cooked pasta, you need to let it thaw first in the refrigerator, not outside of the refrigerator. You cook it normally.
If you are going to be freezing cooked pasta, you can also keep it from sticking in the bag or container by adding a little bit of olive oil and shaking it up. If you are going to freeze a whole pasta dinner, such as a casserole, you can place the entire dish in the freezer with the top covered with plastic or aluminum foil. If you don’t want to eat the stored pasta in one meal, cut it into portions before freezing.
Always make sure the pasta has cooled off before storing leftover cooked pasta in the freezer. Also, date the packages and use the oldest ones first. That way no one will ever get sick from eating spoiled pasta.