Pasta like other grains and foodstuff in the kitchen is known to have a shorter shelf life. The good thing is that manufacturers of pasta always have a set expiry date indicated on the package. However, if you concentrate on the storage of pasta, you will increase its safety.
There is no doubt in my mind when I say that this versatile dish has penetrated the global market. Different cultures prepare the meal differently, this is to inform you that people love the dish for its sweetness.
At times cooking a lot of pasta is inevitable especially when the estimation of the number of visitors is overly great. This means that you end up with leftovers or the boiled ones.
Does this sound familiar?
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For many other people, boiling more pasta than needed is something they love. They want to have the boiled ones ready so that when they are ready to use, they pick the amount needed and store the rest. It’s no wonder, we never stop hearing the question, how long does the cooked pasta last?
This article is going to answer your question conclusively because we had to conduct an intensive research on the question.
What is the exact shelf life of pasta?
Most people including me believe that cooked food even when properly stored can only last about 3 to 4 days. This is especially so if you store the food in the refrigerator. Recently, I got another information I knew not about regarding pasta.
Did you know that cooked pasta can last up to 7 days in the refrigerator and 6-8 months in the freezer? Well, according to a research done by EATBYDATE, pasta can last up to a week in the fridge when cooked.
Most pasta sauces have no expiry dates but its advisable to use it is not more than 4 days of storage in the fridge. In addition, if you can store the pasta separate from the sauce the better for you. This is because not only does the sauce have many spicy ingredients that would quickly spoil your pasta but the pasta tends to attain the sauce aroma and flavour.
The storage method
Let’s face it:
Unless you are careful on the storage of pasta, your pasta will get bad before you know it. This is because bacteria love infesting cooked food.
Fridge storage procedure for cooked pasta
Once you have your cooked pasta, drain off the excess water and run it under cold water to reduce the stickiness.
In a bowl add 3 teaspoons of vegetable oil and toss it around. Confirm even coating to reduce the clamping together.
Pack in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag.
Label the bag, indicating the date and dish in the bag or container. This helps you know when you stored the dish and expected expiry date.
Keep in the refrigerator.
Can you freeze pasta?
For those of us with busy schedules, frozen foodstuffs become our solid saviour. People think that pasta is one of the meals we cook and eat to finish while ensuring you have no leftovers.
Well, they think wrong:
At this point, I deem it necessary to mention that any food that absorbs water during the cooking process can be frozen. Albeit, the pasta will now be easy to spoil and the taste may not be all that appealing.
Tips to consider when freezing pasta
Cook the pasta before freezing but, do not overcook instead maintain the al dente level. This is because during the reheating process you will use procedures not meant to cook the pasta rather reheat it. Besides, it will be too late if you didn’t properly cook it as cooking it further may just end up spoiling it.
For some reason, gluten-free pasta is not the best when deciding whether to freeze the pasta.
Use a little oil to help reduce its tendency to clump together.
Only use airtight containers or plastic bags. Divide the pasta into potions to make sure you only take out the container of pasta that you intend to use to finish. This is because the defrosting and freezing again process will quickly spoil it.
When you need to warm your pasta, choose the steaming method over microwaving option. This is because a microwave always dries up your food and you don’t need dry pasta. A steamer, on the other hand, retains the food moisture.
If you insist on using a microwave, take a container and place the pasta flat on the container surface while making sure the container is half-filled with pasta. This will help to make sure the heat reaches the entire dish of pasta.
Using the ice cube stacks, freeze the pasta sauce that you will need to use in the future.
Since you now know the freezing process, you need to know the process of reheating. There are about 4 methods that you can use in the reheating process as discussed below.
Reheating on boiling water
This is by far the best reheating process. In a saucepan, bring some water to boil and add salt while ensuring the water you have is enough to cover the whole bag or container of refrigerated pasta.
Place the bag of pasta and continue to check after every 15 seconds to avoid overcooking. This process can take about a minute.
The other method here is, boil some water in a saucepan then turn off the heat sauce. Take your frozen pasta bag and place in the boiled water for about 2-3 minutes.
You can also place the frozen pasta in a strainer then place in a pan of boiling water for about 15 seconds.
Use an oven
If you have a lot of pasta, you can use this method.
Preheat the oven to about 175 degrees.
In your shallow baking dish, spread the pasta evenly and add some milk/sauce to maintain the moisture.
Cover it with aluminium foil paper to control the moisture and place in the oven for about 15-20 minutes.
You can add some cheese(parmesan) and return to the oven.
Remove and serve.
If you have pasta sauced dishes you can reheat the meal following the process below:
Using an oven proof dish or baking tray, place the sauced pasta in the dish.
Take your aluminium foil and use to cover the dish. This is to maintain the moisture.
Heat for slightly over 20 minutes and use a fork to check the middle part of the dish.
Return to the oven for some few more minutes if you need to.
Using the stove top
It is an easy way yet very delicate.
Add some butter in a frying pan, then add the pasta and toss it around.
It’s optional to add sauce to make it moist.
In a microwave-safe container, place the pasta in the container.
Cover the container with plastic wrap.
Use medium heat for the process. Alternatively, use the defrosting option.
Check if it is well cooked and remove from the heat sauce.
Is pasta good for you or not?
Pasta contains a high content of carbohydrates. The refined pasta is a major culprit in this. Carbs are known to quickly increase blood sugar. In addition, if you go for refined pasta which lacks fibre you will feel hungry very quickly which may lead to overeating.
Recent years have seen a rise in blood sugar related illnesses which makes most people cautious when eating pasta. Pasta also contains gluten which is reactive to some body types. Specifically, those with celiac disease are affected when they use pasta.
The answer to this question is, therefore, it’s not good for you if you consume it in excess.
How to make a healthier option
I had a friend who loved saying, ‘in life there is nothing ever wrong, it only gets wrong when overused’ this notion applies here. You are safe if you use pasta in moderation. Its advisable to use whole grain pasta for reduced carbs and increased fibre.
Always check the additives you use in your recipe. People tend to go for high fat and protein for their pasta inclusive dishes which may increase the calories. For a healthy option, go for vegetable and olive oil. Use some plant protein to balance your meal further.
Can pasta go bad and how can you tell if pasta is bad?
It is undeniably true that pasta like many other meals can get bad over time. This is worse if you are not careful in your storage.
You can tell that your pasta has gotten bad when it is discoloured, slimy, dull or has formed moulds. Moreover, always trust your instinct to direct you. To avoid food poisoning related illnesses, maintain hygiene in your kitchen.
Everybody loves pasta, because, there are so many recipes to use in the making of pasta dishes. Most of the dishes are quick and easy to make. To be on the safe side, therefore, store the food for a limited time in the fridge and before usage confirm their safety.
Don’t expect it to maintain the same taste though. The fridge tends to alter the taste of any meal and I would advocate for a fresh version as opposed to refrigerated one.