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How to Store Dry Pasta Long-term & Maximize Shelf Life
Pasta is one of the most versatile foods you can have in your pantry. In a few minutes and using nothing but water and some salt, you’ll have a tasty dish that you can cook to your liking by adding your favorite additions. We have previously covered storage methods for white rice, barley, oats, and brown rice, but in this article, we will cover how to store dry pasta long-term.
Having dry pasta for long-term storage is a good idea because it can be kept for 30 years in food-grade buckets. It can also be stored for 10 years in mylar bags, and up to 3 years in an airtight container.
Now, let’s jump into it. But first, what is pasta and why should you store it?
What is Pasta and Why Should you Store It Long-Term?
There are many different types of pasta, but it’s generally made from wheat flour mixed with eggs or water. Chinese culture has been making pasta-like recipes since 1,700BC, but modern-day pasta really began to flourish in Italy during the renaissance in the 14th century. From here, pasta became commonly associated with Italian culture and it is enjoyed all over the world.
One of the aspects that make pasta a popular food item, is its remarkably long shelf life. Dry foods in general can last a long time, and can dried pasta can last up to 30 years when properly stored.
Learning how to store dry pasta long-term allows you to enjoy your favorite comfort food during a natural disaster or when going to the supermarket isn’t accessible. Keep reading to learn more about the different storage methods available and learn how to keep dry pasta good for an extended period.
How to Store Dry Pasta Long-Term
In its original packaging, pasta has a shelf life of 3 years, however, it can be repackaged into a food-grade container to extend its shelf life to 30 years. Generally speaking, the manufacturer’s original packaging is not intended for long-term storage, so it’s important to learn alternative storage methods. The most effective storage methods for dried foods are:
- 5-gallon buckets
- Mylar bags
- Airtight Containers
Note: If you store pasta long term, we suggest storing it on a day that is NOT humid, so that moisture and humidity do not get trapped in the container.
Food-Grade 5-Gallon Bucket
Storing dry pasta or any type of dry food in a 5-gallon bucket is a good decision for several reasons. First, it is the most secure long-term food storage method since the plastic barrier prevents exposure to light, moisture, and air as well as keeps pests out. Secondly, it allows you to buy food in bulk, where you can usually get it for a discount.
It also works for you if you’re always on the go or lead a busy lifestyle, as it saves you unnecessary visits to the food store. In the right conditions, dry pasta can last for up to thirty years. Here are the right steps to follow if you want to store dry pasta in a food-grade bucket.
- Make sure that you’ve picked a food-grade plastic bucket. Although there might be other types of plastic buckets available, you should always stick to food-grade plastic. Non-food grade buckets can contaminate your food with harmful chemicals.
- Clean and dry your bucket before adding the pasta.
- Line your bucket with a mylar bag. This is an extra layer of protection to ensure your pasta is protected from any damage done to the bucket.
- Fill 80-90% of the mylar bag with pasta by emptying out the original packaging. The extra space ensures you can add oxygen absorbers and can seal the bag.
- Place your oxygen absorbers in the mylar bag. 1000 to 1500cc oxygen absorbers will work for small pasta, while 2000cc absorbers are suitable for taller and larger pasta. Oxygen absorbers are also effective tools to kill insect eggs hiding in your container.
- Press the bag before sealing it to remove excess air.
- Seal the bag with an iron or hair straightener.
- Then seal the bucket with a lid, preferably a gamma lid.
- Label the food-grade bucket with the date, contents of the food, and expected expiration date.
- Place the bucket in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight.
Related Article: How to Store Food in a 5-Gallon Bucket
After food-grade buckets, mylar bags are the next best option for pasta storage. This is because mylar bags prevent exposure to light, moisture, and air. The main downside of using a mylar bag is that it does not protect against rodents. Rodents are known to bite through the plastic barrier, making pasta unsanitary for eating. However, if you can store the mylar bags in an airtight container or a hard-to-reach place, you will not have to worry about pests.
To store pasta in a mylar bag, simply:
- Find a mylar bag sized for your specific needs. Mylar bags come in all different sizes.
- Remove the dry pasta from its original package and pour it into the mylar bag. Only fill the mylar bag up to 80-90% so it would be easy to seal the bag.
- Add oxygen absorbers to the mylar bag to remove air from the container.
- Seal the mylar bag with a hot iron or hair straightener to keep the pasta safe.
Note: There are mylar bags with a zipper, but they are not as effective at keeping out moisture, air, and light. We suggest using a traditional mylar bag and sealing it with an iron.
Related Article: How to Store Food in a Mylar Bag: A Guide for Beginners
Dry Canning in Airtight Container
An airtight container, like a mason jar, is ideal for short-term storage of dry pasta. This is because it protects the pasta from exposure to moisture, air, and pests. If you don’t open the jar, the pasta can last for three years. After opening it, it can last for up to one year. Here are the right steps to store your pasta in an airtight container.
- Find the right size glass mason jar for your needs, and make sure that the lid seals properly.
- Pour a suitable amount of dry pasta into the container. Remember to only fill 80-90% of the container, leaving space for the oxygen absorbers.
- Add an oxygen absorber to absorb the excess air in the container and keep the pasta safe.
- Seal the glass jar airtight with a screw-top lid.
- Label your container and keep it in the pantry, making sure that it’s stored in a dry and cool place.
Related Article: Long-Term Food Storage in Mason Jars
Storing Pasta with Oxygen Absorbers
If you are planning for long-term storage, you will surely need oxygen absorbers. Below is a table for the suggested number of oxygen absorbers by the size of your container.
|Mason Jar||Mylar Bag||5 Gallon Bucket|
|Long-Pastas||100 cc||250 cc||1300 cc|
|Short Pastas||100 cc||350 cc||2000 cc|
What is the Shelf Life of Dry Pasta?
Dry pasta when stored properly has a max shelf life of 30 years. However, this is only the case when it is stored in a food-grade bucket with a mylar bag and oxygen absorber. In mylar bags, dry pasta can be stored for 10-15 years. When stored in an airtight container, dry pasta has a shelf life of 2-3 years. It is very important to keep dried foods with oxygen absorbers because it will significantly extend their shelf life. In its original packaging, dry pasta may last up to 3 years, however, it is not as well protected from pests, air, or moisture. Below is an easy-to-visualize table:
|Storage Method||Shelf Life (Years)|
|Airtight Glass Container||2-3|
As you can see food storage containers can extend the shelf life of dried pasta. Storing in food-grade buckets is best because it will not only extend the shelf life to 30 years, it is the most effective tool to prevent contamination of light, air, moisture, and pests.
How to Tell if Dry Pasta Has Gone Bad
Although dried pasta has a long shelf life, it may still go bad before it is due. This is most likely because of exposure to air, moisture, or heat. Fortunately, it is easy to determine if your dried pasta has gone bad. Simply rely on your sense of sight, smell, and taste. Follow this 3-step approach:
- Step 1: First look for any discoloration, mold growth, or pests in your pasta storage. If you notice anything odd, simply dispose of it as there is no need to go to step 2.
- Step 2: If the pasta appears fine, the next step is to smell the dried pasta. Rancid pasta smells off and will emit a foul odor. This is an obvious sign the pasta has spoiled, and you can dispose of it.
- Step 3: Lastly, if the pasta appears fine and smells fine, but you still have doubts, consider making a small batch. Afterward, you can taste the pasta to see how it tastes. If it tastes fine, then your pasta is still safe to eat.
If you have any doubts about the quality of your pasta, you should consider throwing it away. Although you will not get immediately sick from eating bad pasta, there are few nutritional benefits and it can ruin the flavor of a home-cooked dish.
Why Does Dry Pasta Go Bad?
Dried pasta will go bad when it is exposed to moisture, light, heat, oxygen, and pests. Exposure to these environmental aggressors will result in the pasta going bad before it is due. For your awareness, the pasta will go bad because:
- Lower Nutritional Value: Exposure to heat and oxygen will reduce the national value of pasta. Although it is still safe to eat, it will not be as flavorful or as nutritionally beneficial.
- Rancid Natural Oils: Some pasta contains natural oils that can go rancid, spoiling the pasta. Whole-grain pasta typically has the highest oil content.
- Pests: Pests are known to penetrate the packaging of pasta, making the contents of the container unsanitary.
- Mold: Mold growth occurs when the pasta is exposed to moisture and humidity. You will notice obvious signs of blue-green discoloration indicating the pasta has gone bad.
Dried foods and grains have a longer shelf life than most other foods. Given this, it is no surprise dry pasta can last up to 30 years in a food-grade bucket when properly stored. It can also last 10 years in a mylar bag, and up to 3 years in mason jars. In order to make sure it reaches its max shelf life, just remember to limit exposure to heat, light, moisture, and air. Simply placing it in the proper storage container, as well as in the right location can ensure it reaches its max shelf life.
If you notice your dry pasta is emitting a foul odor and is discolored, it is much better to dispose of it immediately.
Related Article: 6 Best Grains for Long-Term Storage
Related Article: 11 Supplies You Need for DIY Long-Term Food Storage
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If you are looking to buy cookware, you probably came down to ceramic cookware vs stainless steel cookware. Learn to see which is better for you.