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Pasta is a staple food in almost everybody’s pantry. This amazing Italian food is known for its ability to resist perishing for a very long time – under the right conditions, pasta has been known to last for years.
When you start to think about prepping, food should be considered one of the most important items necessary for your survival. And what’s food without variety?
You may have already started building an impressive stockpile of rice and dry beans – we’d recommend that you consider adding some pasta to that stockpile too.
Why pasta? Pasta can be stored for an incredibly long amount of time without spoiling. In fact, when stored appropriately in an airtight container, at the right temperature, in a low moisture environment, you can rely on pasta to stay edible for a number of years.
Other factors that come into play when storing pasta are whether the environment is free of insects, and whether your pasta is stored in a dark place or not.
If you’ve been considering storing pasta as part of your prepping plan, there’s a good chance that you’d like to know the most effective method of pasta storage.
There are factors to consider when planning on how best to store your pasta – for example, the type of pasta that you store, or the length of time that you intend to store it.
You may have certain equipment available, or you might be trying to do the best you can with what you have.
Within this article, we will talk about everything you need to know about storing pasta – the type of pasta you should choose for prepping, the environment you need to store your pasta in, the amount of time you can store your pasta, and the best ways to store your pasta.
Understanding these different factors will help you to make an informed decision on the type of pasta you store, as well as how you choose to store it.
This will enable you to build a sufficient stockpile to help you and the people you are responsible for in the event of a disaster or emergency in the future.
How Long Can I Store Dry Pasta?
Pasta has been known to be perfectly edible up to thirty years in the future. Whilst this may not always be the case, the longevity of pasta is pretty incredible, making it a valuable addition to your prepper supply.
Whilst the sell-by date is used as a guide for both stores and consumers, it is not always accurate about when the food becomes inedible and unsafe for consumption.
For the most part, dried pasta can be safely consumed for up to four years past the time of purchasing – particularly when it has been stored in an air-tight container. To make this period of time even longer, carry on reading!
We’ve included a few methods and tips on how to store pasta for long amounts of time.
It should be noted that the quality of the pasta you store may worsen over time, which is why rotating your supply is important.
Advantages Of Storing Pasta
When stored correctly, pasta could not be a more perfect food for long-term storage. One of the only downsides is really just its potential to lose flavor over time – although this probably won’t be at the top of your priority list in a survival situation.
Provided that your pasta doesn’t seem to have any signs of spoiling, it’s probably good to eat!
Apart from the fact that pasta has the ability to stay edible for a long period of time, you can also rely on it to be pretty inexpensive.
When it comes to the amount you are paying compared to the calories that pasta will provide you with, this fantastic food really is amazing for prepping.
Whilst energy bars can provide you with the same things that pasta can, pasta is much cheaper, and with all of its uses, much better value for money.
The Best Method To Store Dry Pasta
To ensure that you provide your dry pasta with the best possible conditions to prevent it from spoiling, you first need to understand the factors that go into successful pasta preservation.
Moisture, oxygen, heat, light, and insects all have a massive part to play in whether your pasta will last as long as you need it to. This is because exposure to any of these things will cause your pasta to perish.
As a result, the best way to prevent your pasta from spoiling is to protect it from coming into contact with any of these things.
If you look at the back of your pasta packet, you may notice that the manufacturers recommend that you store your pasta in a ‘cool, dry place’. You’ve probably got a packet of pasta knocking around somewhere that you’ve opened a while ago.
The good thing about pasta is that provided it doesn’t come into contact with any moisture, even whilst in its original opened packaging, your pasta will be fine for a little while to come.
The reason that pasta has such high longevity is its lack of moisture. Foods with a high moisture content tend to perish much easier than foods with low moisture content. Pasta has an incredibly low moisture content, which means that it takes a long time to perish.
One thing to watch out for with pasta is that if left exposed to the air and the environment, your pasta can start to absorb moisture.
When exposed to moisture, you may find that the pasta begins to lose its quality of flavor, and a build-up of bacteria may cause it to start to mold. This can be avoided by storing your pasta in an airtight container.
Ensuring that you store your pasta in an airtight container will increase its shelf-life exponentially, as it is the absorption of moisture that more often than not will cause the pasta to spoil.
Of course, this is the last thing you would want to happen to your pasta over time. For the best results, you should make sure that you are storing your pasta within conditions that enable it to stay as dry as possible.
Your pasta will have the most longevity when stored in vacuum-sealed packaging, as well as in an air-tight container. If you pair these measures with an oxygen absorber, you have the best chances of limiting its likelihood of being exposed to or absorbing any moisture.
This is because it is the air that your pasta will wick any moisture from – keeping it in an oxygen-less environment will help to preserve it, as a result.
Oxygen absorbers are manufactured in a way that makes them food safe. Don’t mistake them to be the same thing as the desiccant that can come with non-food products. These are not safe to use with food, so you shouldn’t use them to package pasta..
To vacuum-seal your pasta, you may choose to use a vacuum-sealing food preservation machine. This can help you to ensure that your pasta is kept in the most ideal environment for many years of preservation.
After packaging your pasta, the second most important step is to make sure that you keep your pasta in a dark, cool place.
This ensures that the quality of the pasta doesn’t break down over time as a result of unstable or extreme temperature conditions, or too much exposure to light.
When thinking about long-term preservation and survival, it really will save you a lot of time and effort if you invest in a food vacuum sealer.
These vacuum sealers enable you to easily preserve your food, giving it a much longer shelf-life than it would have had otherwise.
As we discussed previously, one of the most important factors when it comes to the long-term storage of pasta, is making sure that it is sealed in an airtight container, with no exposure to moisture.
There is absolutely no better way to ensure that your food receives these conditions than by vacuum sealing it.
This is because the vacuum sealer removes the air, causing the packaging to tighten around the food, becoming almost like a second skin. This protective layer creates a separation between your pasta and the outside world.
Unfortunately, this method is not recommended for pasta, as pasta has sharp edges which can puncture this protective skin, leaving it vulnerable to all of the factors that aid in it spoiling, such as moisture or insects.
Instead, it is a much better idea to opt for canning jars – although, it should be noted that the best type of pasta for this method are shorter varieties of pasta, such as penne and macaroni.
This is because canning jars aren’t really big enough to accommodate longer pasta in strand-form, such as spaghetti or linguini. If you really, really like these pasta varieties, you can decide to snap them in half in order to help them to fit into the canning jars.
The oxygen in the outside air can cause the fats and vitamins within your food to break down much faster than otherwise, so vacuum-sealing your food helps to facilitate a much longer shelf-life by preventing this from happening.
Another benefit of vacuum sealing is that the pasta’s lack of exposure to air also means that it has a lack of exposure to microorganisms.
There are many microorganisms in the air that are drawn to food, as they feed on its nutrients – vacuum sealing your pasta will protect against these.
Vacuum sealing your pasta can improve its chances of lasting more than a couple of years sevenfold. Whilst they are more typically used for foods with high moisture, dry foods still reap the benefits of being vacuum sealed.
Vacuum Sealer Attachments
When buying a food vacuum sealer, it’s important to note that you may need to buy the jar sealer attachment that you will use for vacuum sealing your pasta into jars separately.
This is because a lot of more basic food vacuum sealers do not come with the necessary attachment. Luckily, many vacuum sealer attachments are universal, and therefore interchangeable, meaning that finding an attachment to fit your vacuum sealer should not be difficult.
You should keep in mind that the jar sealer attachments available to buy often come in two sizes – either regular or wide. This is to fit the different sizes of canning jars available.
You should make sure that the attachment you buy is the right size for the canning jars that you intend to use, as this will ensure that your vacuum sealing is the most effective. If your attachment isn’t the right size, you may find that vacuum-sealing doesn’t work as well.
Make sure that you have your canning jars and lids ready before you start to vacuum seal your pasta. Another great idea that you can use to extend the shelf-life of your pasta is to include an oxygen absorber in each jar.
After your jars are filled with your pasta, make sure to follow the directions that come with your particular vacuum-sealer in order to ensure that you vacuum-seal your pasta the most effectively.
Jars that have been sealed correctly will have a lid that seems concave, with the surface of the lif sinking down into the jar. When pressing down on this, you shouldn’t hear a popping sound – if you do, you have sealed it incorrectly.
If you’ve ever looked closely at the lid of jars that you have opened, you will see that they have an air bubble at the top that can be ‘popped’, signifying that the vacuum seal has been broken. You can make sure that your jar is extra secure by adding a band to the lid, as this will help to keep the lid in place.
One thing to watch out for if you intend on using glass jars in order to help you to store your pasta, is that they can easily break, due to being made from glass, meaning that in an emergency, you will not be able to rely on the glass jars to be robust.
They are also really hard to transport, as they are heavy, meaning that not only are you more likely to drop them but there’s also a good chance that the jar will break on impact.
Another downside of using canning jars is that they aren’t very space-saving. When it comes to prepping, space and organization are both super important. Canning jars do not allow you to be as organized, or as efficient in your use of space.
This means that if you are prepping for a lot of people, canning jars may not be the best option for you. Luckily, we have some alternatives to this method!
Other Ways Of Storing Your Pasta
Whether you are prepping for a large number of people, you prefer your pasta in strand-form or you’re just not ready to invest in an entire vacuum-sealing machine, we have some alternatives to using a vacuum-sealer, that you can consider for your pasta.
It’s actually possible to remove air from a container without using a vacuum sealer. Oxygen absorbers are really handy when it comes to the world of prepping.
They are largely used to help extend the shelf-life of a product, and they do this by removing or decreasing the amount of oxygen available within a container.
As a result, oxygen absorbers are an amazing option if you have to store a large amount of food for a long period of time. We’ll get into methods that use oxygen absorbers below.
Use Airtight Containers
One of the biggest worries when it comes to the long-term storage of any food, are the possibilities of insects being able to come into contact with it, and potentially nibble away at all of the hard work you’ve put into acquiring your stockpile.
Whilst these insects don’t tend to be harmful, finding a cockroach in your food might not be particularly appetizing to you or the other people that you are prepping for.
No matter how clean you believe your home to be, there is always a risk of insects sniffing out your food. Some insects may enter your home by traveling on your clothes or in your groceries. This can even happen with insect eggs or larvae.
Weevils, moths, and cockroaches are all common culprits when it comes to ruining prepper stockpiles. Weevils, in particular, enjoy eating dry foods, high in carbohydrates, such as pasta.
You may have found these insects in your cupboard or pantry, as they are often drawn to starchy items, such as cereal, grains, and even pet food!
The best way to avoid this happening is to use airtight containers to store your food. This doesn’t just go for prepping – this goes for all dry food that you may keep.
You can kill the insects or eggs that may be hiding in your food by placing your food in the freezer for forty-eight hours, before placing them amongst your regular food or stockpile.
If you intend on storing your food long-term for prepping or otherwise, one great tip to avoid insects being drawn to your food is to place a bay laurel leaf in every airtight container.
This is because these leaves have been shown to be effective in repelling many of the insects that would be drawn to your pasta and other grains.
How To Use Mylar Bags And Oxygen Absorbers To Store Your Pasta
Whilst this method uses mylar bags, you can also do this with canning jars if you wish. Please note that mylar bags may be damaged by any sharp pasta, and if this happens, the shelf-life of the pasta will decrease.
You can reduce the chances of this happening by opting for a type of pasta with smooth edges, as opposed to a type of pasta with sharp ends like spaghetti. Pasta shapes like penne, which also have sharp edges, should also be avoided.
Pasta varieties with smoother edges and rounded shapes, such as orzo, may be better options for this, as it is unlikely that these types of pasta will pierce the mylar bag.
To use the mylar bag method, follow the handy, step-by-step instructions that we have included below!
Step one: choose your pasta. It’s best to use a type of pasta without any sharp edges, so avoid long, strand-based types of pasta such as spaghetti.
Step two: fill the mylar bags with your pasta. Before adding your oxygen absorber, read the directions for use to make sure that your oxygen absorber is suitable for the size of your bag.
If it’s designed for use with smaller containers, you may find that it is not effective, as the bag won’t seal as well. Once you have made sure this is correct, add it to your bag.
Only open your oxygen absorber when you are ready to seal your bag, as they start to work immediately.
Step three: Use a hot iron to press against the top of the bag so that it is mostly sealed. When you near the end of the opening, leave a small gap unsealed so that you can expel any excess air.
Step four: press down on the bag to remove any remaining air. Make sure to do this gently (but thoroughly) so that you don’t break the pasta.
Step five: Use the hot iron to seal the rest of the bag, making sure that the gap that you left at the end is fully closed over. Check the opening to make sure that there aren’t any gaps and that the mylar bag is completely sealed.
This is important, as any air holes will allow air into the bag, meaning that your pasta might not last as long as you expect it to.
Step six: Leave the bag somewhere safe. If you come back to look at it the next day, you should notice that the bag has formed a second skin around your pasta. This shows that the oxygen absorber that you added is effective.
If you have any oxygen absorbers left over, you can seal them into a separate canning jar, you’ll be able to use them again.
Whilst we would recommend using a combination of both food vacuum sealing and oxygen absorbers as these are the most effective, this method will still work as an alternative.
You can also use this method for glass jars, you just don’t need to worry about sealing them with a hot iron. Add your pasta, oxygen absorber, and lid, and you’re good to go!
How To Store Larger Amounts Of Pasta For Long Amounts Of Time
One of the best ways to store your pasta for a long amount of time is to keep it in a sealed, glass jar, as described previously.
However, this may not be a viable option for some preppers, as you might intend on storing a large amount, in which case you may need the space, or glass jars may be too fragile for what you intend to use them for.
If you find that the glass jar method is inconvenient, you might choose to use food-grade buckets as your long-term container of choice.
This is because food-grade buckets are absolutely perfect for prepping. Not only can you use a bucket in a vast number of ways, making them a versatile tool when it comes to prepping, but food-grade buckets are reasonably cheap.
If you’re really clever about it, you can even get them for free by going to a local food place and asking if they have any you can take – just make sure that they’ve only used the buckets for food, as if they’ve been used for anything else, they will not be safe for use with your food.
Sometimes these types of buckets will be reused to hold cleaning chemicals, amongst other things, meaning that they would be unsuitable (and dangerous) for use with food.
Food-grade buckets are brilliant for storing large amounts of pasta. A five-gallon bucket can fit somewhere between twenty to thirty pounds of pasta.
If you’re prepping for a large number of people or with a big amount of time in mind, these containers will come in especially useful. You should use the method involving mylar bags that we described earlier in order to use these buckets for long-term storage effectively.
The buckets will provide your food with extra protection from the threats we have discussed previously (oxygen, moisture, insects, and light), as well as aid in your organization, making your food easier to spot amongst any other things you may have in storage.
When choosing your bucket, make sure to choose a bucket as close to the size you need as possible.
Factors that you may need to consider are the amount of pasta you will need to feed the people you are prepping for, the place you are storing it and how you intend to organize it, the type of food you are using (if not pasta) and the amount of time you intend to store it.
Gamma seal lids are also something that you may want to think about purchasing. This is because these types of lids provide your food with all of the protection that a regular lid might, with increased accessibility.
Gamma seal lids will help you to keep up with your organization and the rotation of your supply, as well as help people that may struggle with regular lids to open up the packaged pasta much easier.
Bulk Buy Package Pasta
Another option is to skip buying your pasta and container separately and purchase pasta that has already been packaged in a bucket or other suitable packaging for long-term storage.
This option is additionally good, as it allows you to choose pasta with flavoring or sauce if it is available. These types of packaged pasta will often have even longer shelf-lives than the pasta you repackage for long-term storage yourself.
Many people use dry canning to seal their pasta, however, this is not a recommended method. Whilst being without a vacuum sealer may make you feel desperate, this method is actually dangerous and should not be used.
This is mainly because of the fact that canning jars are susceptible to breaking when using the dry canning method. If you use this method, you risk your jars possibly exploding, which can result in injuries.
Dry canning is not as effective as the vacuum sealing method, as the jar you are storing your pasta in is able to retain much more oxygen than it would otherwise.
Whilst it allows you to seal the jar, any remaining oxygen will start your food’s deterioration process. As a result, you should avoid using this method as there are other safer, far more effective ways to get the result you would like.
Another reason that this method is not effective, is that pasta (and most other foods) should be stored in a cool, dry place.
Using the dry canning method would require you to expose your pasta to heat for potentially even longer than the hour, which will directly impact its quality and shelf-life. Heat directly affects the longevity of your food, potentially making your efforts a waste of time.
What Is The Best Kind Of Pasta To Store Long-Term?
There is an extremely large number of different types of pasta. With so many options available, it’s no wonder that deciding which pasta to store for an extended period of time is hard.
Pasta and noodle varieties can range from ramen, rice, and buckwheat noodles to spaghetti and macaroni. This is great, as choosing to store a few different kinds of pasta can help to prevent too much boredom when it comes to the food you have to choose from if you do need to use your stockpile.
The most important thing to think about when choosing which pasta to store, is how that particular pasta’s ingredients will hold up against both time and the elements. If your pasta contains eggs or fat, its shelf-life will decrease.
The same rule applies to pasta with any moisture content.
Another factor that you may want to consider is the amount of time it will take to cook that particular pasta variety. Thin types of pasta, like vermicelli, cook faster than most other types of pasta.
Pasta varieties that take longer to cook, such as bowtie pasta, will take longer to cook. This is something to pay attention to, as depending on the situation you find yourself in, you may not have as much time or fuel as you would need to cook the pasta.
You should also think about what you intend to cook with the pasta. Pasta alone will not be able to meet your nutritional needs, meaning that you will definitely need to think about sauces or other ways of incorporating the healthy things that your body needs into your meals.
Make sure that you’re choosing pasta suitable for this purpose, as well as ensure that you have prepared other ingredients to go along with it.