Storing Pasta Long Term: The Ins and Outs of Storing Pasta

Long Term Pasta Storage
  • What’s the Best Way to Store Dry Pasta Long Term?
    • Using a Vacuum Sealer
      • Why Use a Vacuum Sealer?
      • Vacuum-Sealing Pasta
    • Alternatives to Vacuum-Sealing Pasta
      • Mylar Bag and Bucket Method
      • Dry Canning Method
    • Keeping Bugs Out of Pasta
  • Storing Larger Amounts of Pasta Long Term
    • Don’t Forget to Rotate Your Pasta
  • How Long Can Dry Pasta Be Stored?
    • Does the Sell-by Date Matter?
  • The Best Type of Pasta for Long Term Storage
  • Advantages & Disadvantages of Storing Pasta
  • Conclusion
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    airtight container with an oxygen absorber. A vacuum sealing food preservation machine is our top choice for creating the best environment for long-term storage. Once your pasta is packaged, keep the containers in a dark, temperature-controlled location.

    FoodSaver is a well-known brand due to its extensive television advertising, but there are several competitors such as Geryon and Mueller that get rave reviews from customers. You can find quality vacuum sealers for less than fifty dollars.

    science behind vacuum sealing food is simple. The vacuum sealer device removes as much air as possible from the container via suction, leaving behind an environment that preserves food much better than other methods. Less air is better for maintaining food since the air carries microorganisms that will feed on available nutrients. The presence of oxygen also speeds the deterioration of fats and vitamins in the food.

    There are lots of uses for a vacuum sealer when you’re prepping, but using it for dry foods like rice, flour, or pasta may be a bit counter-intuitive since these items are known to last for a long while even without special preservation measures. However, if you really want to store your pasta long term (more than one or two years), using a vacuum sealer is highly recommended.

    mylar or plastic bags and flexible plastic that shrink tight around the food when the vacuum seal is applied. However, this isn’t the method we recommend for pasta since pasta can have sharp edges. You might not notice it at the time, but those sharp points could break through the plastic when it’s being stored, and expose your pasta to undesirable elements like oxygen, pests, and moisture.

    Instead, you can pack and vacuum seal your pasta in canning jars. You’ll notice that the shape of traditional canning jars is not long enough to accommodate long Italian pasta types like spaghetti or linguine, so using canning jars works best with macaroni elbows, penne, or other short kinds of pasta.

    Be aware that most basic food vacuum sealers do not come with the jar sealer attachment, so you’ll need to buy it separately. All the vacuum sealer models we looked at for this article could use accessories and materials interchangeably with other brands, so you can likely find an accessory that works even if you bought a model from a company that doesn’t sell a jar sealer attachment.

    Jar sealer attachments come in two sizes to fit regular- or wide-mouth standard glass canning jars. Be sure to use the size that fits your jar and that the attachments fit over the jar and lid, covering it entirely.

    You’ll need canning jars and lids to vacuum-seal your pasta in glass jars. We also recommend adding an oxygen absorber to each jar. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully to make sure you get a proper seal. You’ll know that your jar is sealed if the lid is concave and doesn’t make a popping sound when you press on it. After the jar is sealed, you may choose to add a band around the lid to help keep it in place.

    The disadvantages of glass jars are that they are heavy and not portable. They could be damaged in an earthquake or similar catastrophe. They are not the most space-efficient way to store lots of pasta, for those that are prepping for a large group of people. Later in this article, we’ll review an alternative method of storing more substantial amounts of pasta.

    alternate methods of vacuum sealing without using a specialized device. These methods depend on the action of the oxygen absorber to remove excess air instead of the vacuum sealer.

    reputable sources, including the companies that make canning jars, the dry canning method is dangerous and not recommended.

    The main danger of using this method is that canning jars are not made for dry heat environments and could crack or explode during the dry canning process. Additionally, as we mentioned earlier in this article, heat is one of the enemies of your food’s longevity. Exposing your pasta for an hour or longer for dry canning works directly against your purposes of long-term preservation.

    Dry canning also allows far more oxygen to remain inside the jar than there would be using a vacuum sealing method. The cooling action will create enough of a vacuum to seal the canning lid, but whatever oxygen is inside the jar can still cause your food to deteriorate.

    If you have any other options, dry canning should be avoided since the other preservation methods we listed in this article are safer, faster, and more energy-efficient.

    Weevils are a type of beetle that can be found on cereal, pet food, dried grains, and similar food items. Aside from weevils, cockroaches and moths also eat starchy foods and can be attracted to dry pasta if it’s available.

    While pantry insects generally are not harmful to humans, most people find it distasteful to discover a bug in their food. The best way to keep insects out of your stored food is by keeping it in airtight containers.

    If you’re wondering how the insects got into your home in the first place, the answer is that they probably hitched a ride in on your groceries. You may not be able to see them, but eggs or larvae can already be inside the food you bring home.

    To be safe, put your recently-purchased pasta, grains, and similar foods in the freezer for a couple of days before putting them away. This will kill any insects or eggs that you inadvertently brought in.

    When you’re prepping your pasta or other dry foods for long-term storage, we also recommend adding a bay laurel leaf to each container. Bay leaves are shown to repel many types of insects, including those most frequently found in pantries.

    Food grade buckets have several advantages. They have a large capacity – you can fit twenty to thirty pounds of pasta into a five-gallon bucket. They’re relatively inexpensive and can sometimes be found for free from foodservice providers. They are more portable than glass jars, although buckets can also get heavy when they’re full. Lastly, a bucket can be reused in all sorts of ways in a survival situation.

    When you’re sourcing your bucket, be sure it’s a food-grade bucket. All food-grade buckets are white, but not all white buckets are made for food. If you’re getting your buckets from a restaurant or bakery, make sure they have never been used for anything except food. Some businesses will reuse buckets for cleaning supplies or other storage, which is obviously undesirable for our purposes.

    Consider what size makes the most sense for your needs. Those considerations include how many people you need to prep for, portability, length of anticipated storage time, storage location, and what food you’ll be preserving.

    Once you have one or more buckets and your pasta for storing, you’ll want to use the mylar bag method described earlier. Place your sealed mylar bags inside the bucket, so you can take out one pack at a time as you need to use them. Using the bucket makes it easy to find your pasta when you need it, plus it provides an extra layer of airtight protection from air, light, and pests.

    You might consider investing in some gamma seal lids for your buckets as well. These bucket lids are airtight, watertight, and keep out pests just like your standard bucket lid, but they’re much easier to open and close. They will make rotating your pasta supply much easier, as well as making the buckets more accessible to children or older people who might have trouble with regular lids.

    While up to now we’ve been focused on how to store pasta by yourself, it’s also worth mentioning that you can purchase buckets of pasta already professionally packaged for long-term storage. Many of these have an even longer shelf-life, like this Macaroni and Cheese Storage Bucket from Chef’s Banquet that has 120 servings and can be kept for up to twenty years.

    calorie-per-dollar lists online that will give you a better sense of which foods pack the most nutritional content for the least money. Of course, you’ll also want to account for the sauces, vegetables, meat, or cheese that you’re planning to serve with your pasta when judging the overall cost per calorie.

    Make sure you also calculate out the price per serving when you’re deciding which pasta to purchase. You might be tempted just to buy the biggest package, assuming that you’ll get the best price, but that’s not always the case. You can sometimes get a better price using coupons or sales on pasta that is in standard one-pound packaging.

    Although most dry pasta is fairly standard in taste across the board, be careful if you’re considering investing in a large quantity of an unfamiliar brand. We’d recommend doing a taste test before you make a big purchase since you don’t want to be stuck with a bunch of pasta that you and your family dislike.

    Also, be sure to keep your storage area and capacity in mind. Even if you find a great deal, you’ll need to have the space to keep it and proper containers. Once you’ve accounted for those factors, you’ll be ready to start looking for great deals for your cache.

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