Pasta is the favorite comfort food for many people (after chocolates, of course!). Retail stores or grocers sell pasta in cardboard boxes or plastic bags.
Their “best before” date often lasts for three years. It is highly resistant to spoiling.
Dry pasta is one of those foods with the longest shelf life, alongside lentils, wheat, rice, sugar, popcorn kernels, and salt. Due to its low moisture and fat levels, you can store dry pasta for almost 30 years!
Dry pasta should be stored in an environment free of insects and temperature-controlled moisture, light, oxygen, and heat levels.
Below are some ways with which you can store pasta for the long term.
#1 Mylar Bags
Mylar bags or foil pouches are easily available and commonly used for food storage. They are designed to store dry foods. One gallon mylar bag can hold five pounds of dry pasta comfortably.
Put one 300cc oxygen absorber pouch for every gallon and seal the bag using a clothes iron. Check the integrity of the seal – it should not pull apart. If it does, it means the bag is too full, or there is a blockage around the sealing area.
Once sealed, transfer them to food-grade high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic buckets.
The best dry food storage option is one that keeps out insects, light, oxygen, and rodents.
The mylar bags are suitable for the first three; unfortunately, it cannot protect your food against rodents unless they are stored in the sealable plastic buckets.
Throw in few oxygen absorbers, and the buckets can store the dry pasta for 20 years!
Further, instead of putting the dry pasta in the mylar bags, use them to line the plastic bucket. Add the pasta and oxygen absorbers, fold the bag on the top, and heat seal it.
#2 Vacuum Sealing Dry Pasta
There is a chance that oxygen absorbers may fail to work in mylar bags. The next best and cheap dry pasta storage option is to vacuum seal it.
The idea is to suction the air out of the storage container completely because air carries microorganisms, and they will feed on the nutrients available in the dry pasta.
Moreover, the presence of oxygen will lead to a quicker disintegration of vitamins and fats in the food. Using a vacuum sealing instrument with archive-grade plastics will shrink the empty spaces around the food.
Avoid using sharp-edged varieties of dry pasta as the sharp points can scratch through the plastic and expose it to pests, moisture, and oxygen.
An alternative to plastic bags is canning jars to vacuum seal pasta types like linguine, penne, macaroni elbows, or spaghetti.
You need jar sealed attachments for vacuum sealing. They are usually made with two sizes: wide-mouthed and regular-sized canning jars. The jar attachment should cover the entire open space tightly.
Press on the canning jar lid, and if it doesn’t make a popping side and does not concave, it means that the jar has properly sealed. Place a band around the lid to keep it in place (optional).
#3 Dry Canning Pasta
If you do not want to invest in a vacuum sealer or mylar bags, the third method is the dry canning method.
Also known as dry packing, the purpose of dry canning is similar to the traditional water bath canning process, where the objective is to remove bacteria and store the food in sealed jars.
Dry canned goods can be store for 25 to 30 years, provided the seal remains intact. You need standard mason jars and jar sealers. Sterilize the mason jars and seals.
Add dry pasta, one sachet of oxygen absorber, and cover with jar sealer. The seal need not be hot; the oxygen absorber will seal it cold.
Opt for dry canning pasta only as a last resort. Prefer to vacuum seal the dry pasta or sealing them in mylar bags.
Long Term Pasta Storage Instructions
Now that you have the dry pasta sealed tight, where should you store them?
You need to find dry, cool, and dark locations in your home.
The location should have very little or no exposure to humidity and moisture. It should be cool enough with moderate temperatures all year-round.
Storing the sealed dry pasta packets/boxes in a pantry is good but if the pantry is located near an indoor air conditioner unit or a water heater unit, avoid it.
The storage area should be pest-free, as well. Indeed, one can never be 100% free from pests, but simple precautions help. Reinforce the storage location with pest control measures so that they do not reach the storage boxes.
Freezing the dry pasta in the freezer for a couple of days will kill any eggs, larvae, or insects present in the packing.
Adding a few bay laurel leaves in the storage boxes will also reel insects commonly found in the pantry as well as deter mice from getting into your storage.
One Disadvantage of Storing Pasta Long Term
While storing pasta for the long term has its advantages, one most likely negative outcome is the loss of flavor quality. Of course, in an emergency situation, you will not be bothered about the flavor of the pasta.
Despite all the measures taken to store pasta accurately, if you see any spoilage signs like molding or pest infestation, throw away the whole container. Do not try to salvage anything from it.
It is a great survival food in terms of its cost to calorie ratio.
It is often expensive to store calorie-dense food items like energy bars and nuts, but pasta is one of those foods which gives you high nutritional content with the least amount of money.
You can watch a video by Obsessive Preppers AZ, where Lori walks you through the dry pasta storage ways visually.
Pasta is one of the best foods to add to your food cache – it is low priced and has a high shelf-life due to its low fat and moisture content.
The storage methods we have mentioned here will help preserve any dry pasta for the future.