Pasta is a traditional staple of Italian cuisine that goes back hundreds of years to the beginning of the 12th century. Pasta has its origins in the Italian island of Sicily and has since spread throughout Italy and the rest of the world over the centuries. Pasta is a generalization of the many different types of noodle dishes that make up the cuisine. The noodles of the pasta are made from the unleavened dough and wheat flour that is then mixed with both water and eggs which is lastly shaped, morphed, and formed into different shapes and styles of the pasta depending upon the cook’s preference. Pasta can be cooked by boiling it on the stove (spaghetti) or by baking it in the oven (lasagna). Pasta is usually divided into two categories: pasta that has been made fresh such as in a restaurant or dried pasta that has been prepared but has since then been packaged and sent to the stores. If you’re at the local supermarket one day and you see a big sale on boxes or packages of pasta, what should you do? Would it be worth the savings in both time and money to buy a few extra packages of pasta for you, your family or your friends? Will it be easy or difficult to store the pasta for the long term without any issues occurring? The ultimate question remains; does pasta go bad?
Does Pasta Go Bad?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is a yes. Pasta can indeed go bad regardless of whether you buy it in the store as dried pasta or if you make it home and create fresh pasta. Pasta will eventually go bad on you but the good news is that it is easy to store and preserve for the long term. if you would like to learn more about the storage process for dried and fresh pasta along with its’ respective shelf life and the signs to look for to see if it’s gone bad or not, continue to read on and learn more about pasta and its’ qualities.
Storing The Pasta
With dried noodles, it’s relatively easy to store them for the long-term. With a closed and new package, you’re going to want to store the pasta in a cool, dark, and dry area such as a kitchen cupboard, cabinet or pantry. It’s important to make sure that the pasta isn’t exposed to any outside elements such as heat, moisture, water, and oxygen. Once the package of pasta has been opened, it’s important to decide if you want to store the pasta for the long-term or to use it all within two to three weeks before the quality begins to decline. If you plan on opening up the pasta box, using some of it, but then want to store it for a period longer than two to three weeks, it’s important to move the pasta from the original packaging to an airtight container or Ziploc bag which can be tightly sealed.
Pasta, especially dried pasta needs to be stored and kept in a dry area. Nothing can affect pasta more negatively than to exposing it to water and moisture. That’s why it’s doubly important to make sure that the container or bag of pasta is tightly sealed at all times. Moisture mixed with pasta can make the product go moldy and clumpy in a short amount of time rendering the product mostly useless. Storing fresh pasta that has been made by hand or machine is different in that it must be stored for the long-term in the refrigerator. Fresh pasta can also be stored in the freezer as well as long its’ sealed tightly in a freezer-safe container or bag. Storing the fresh pasta in the freezer is done to extend its’ shelf life as much as possible. When not in use, the pasta, either fresh or dried, must be stored in a closed container or bag at all times.
Shelf Life of Pasta
Each container or package of pasta comes with a “Use by” or “Best before” date but this should not be confused with an actual expiration date. Rather, it’s the date as to which the quality of the pasta will begin to inevitably decline after it passes. You have to keep checking on the quality and status of the pasta after the “Use by” date passes by to see if it’s still good or not.
While dried pasta does go bad, its’ shelf life is pretty long with proper storage. As long the dried pasta has been stored properly, the product should last for a couple of years total. The pasta should be good for at least two to three years, if not more than that. You don’t need to store dried pasta in the refrigerator or freezer but rather to keep it in a cool, dry place like a kitchen cabinet or pantry.
Fresh pasta, when compared with dried pasta, does not last very long at all in its’ overall shelf life. If the package remains unopened, fresh pasta should last for about a week or two before it starts to go bad. Once the package of fresh pasta is opened, it’s best to use it as soon as possible between two to five days in order to get the best quality and taste. If you really need to extend the shelf life of the fresh pasta, you can freeze it, which would make it last for about a month total. However, fresh pasta does not have any preservatives so it’s best to eat and use the product as soon as possible to ensure best quality and flavor.
Signs of Bad Pasta
There are a couple of signs to look for when it comes to figuring out if your pasta has gone bad or not. It’s important to first look at the appearance of the pasta to see if there is any discoloration, mold, or bugs in the box or bag. If that’s the case, then it’s likely the pasta has gone bad. If you’re still not convinced, it may be best to check the odor of the pasta to see if it’s normal or if a pungent or off smell has developed. If you decide to cook a little bit of the pasta by boiling and baking it, and you want to do a small taste test afterwards, that would be a good idea. If the pasta tastes bland or stale, then it would be best to throw out the package and buy a new one from the supermarket. Good luck!