Does Pasta Go Bad?

Italian cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines in the world, rich in aromatic Mediterranean spices and other intoxicating ingredients, but it is certainly best known for pasta. Nowadays, Italian pasta is an integral part of almost all people’s regular diet and it still keeps its charm and uniqueness in many forms and recipes. Dry, fresh, dark, multicolored, stuffed, different in composition, added spices and other components, pasta remains the queen of Italian cuisine.

History of pasta heads back to 8000 years before Christ, back in time man began to cultivate grains, including wheat. The earliest archaeological findings lead us back to the period around four millenniums in the past. A plate of spaghetti was found under three meters of sediment in China. Traces of pasta dish can be also found in the remains of Etruscan, Arab, and Greek and Roman culture. Pasta experienced the evolution through centuries. The first pasta workshops appeared on Sicily, during Middle Ages. Professional pasta production has begun since 13th century in Naples and Genoa. Contemporary and standardized production of pasta in Italy is regulated by legislation in 1955.

There are many different types of pasta and pasta dishes. There are some Italian tips on cooking the best pasta. For example, it should be always cooked in plenty of salted water. Pasta needs to be cooked “al dente”, which means that is should keep certain hardness.  There are numerous additions to different pasta dishes. High quality extra virgin olive oil and Italian Parmesan cheese are the top two ingredients. A fine pasta dish is almost unimaginable without these two.

Pasta can be really various in shapes. There are orichette, spaghetti, spaghettinni, ravioli, tortellini, lasagna, rottini and the list just goes on and on. The most popular shapes are spaghetti, macaroni and penne. There are also numerous manufacturers and companies with a vast pasta production and export. Italian pasta products are at the very top of the scale, but good pasta is nowadays produced all around the world.

Some of the most popular pasta dishes around the world are tagliatelle al Ragu alla BologneseSpaghetti alla CarbonaraRagu NapoletanoPesto ala GenoveseQuatro FromaggiPasta con Pomodoro e BasilicoSpaghetti Aglio e OlioPasta Marinara and many more. Various types of noodles are popular in Asian cuisine.  Noodles are staple food in Chinese cuisine from where they have spread to Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia, as well. Chinese noodles can vary in ingredients, shape and manner of preparation.

Can pasta go bad?

Pasta shelf life depends on the way of preparation and ingredients. It can be purchased dried or fresh and you can also make it yourself. Technically, it is a mixture of flour, water and eggs, made in different ways. What about its endurance and can it go off? The answer is affirmative. However, the case of dried purchased pasta is quite different to freshly homemade pasta.

Dried pasta can survive for an admirable period of time as long as it is stored in a proper way. Unlike many other foods, it does not make difference if the package is unopened or opened. Commercial dried pasta could last for over a couple of years and it would still be fine to cook it. It can be consumed up to two or three years from the production date.  It can be safely kept on the kitchen shelf, ladder or elsewhere, as long as if you maintain it dry.

When it comes to fresh pasta, such as fresh noodles, the situation is quite different. Fresh pasta cannot survive long and it is best to be immediately consumed. The date on the package usually meets the reality. If you keep it unopened, it should be ok for about a week. When you once open it, it is best to eat it within the next couple of days.

Homemade pasta should be fine for just a couple of days and it is usually considered ready to eat food. Freshly made pasta usually does not contain any preservatives, which makes it healthy but unstable. If you decide to make supplies of homemade pasta, you can freeze it and keep in the freezer for about a month or two. Actually, it won’t go bad after two months, but it will lose all the quality and taste.

How to tell if pasta is bad?

Bad fresh noodles or pasta are easy to recognize. If you notice any color changes or mold it is obviously deteriorated and it should be discarded. If it smells odd or strange, pasta is inedible as well. If noodles look and smell good, they are most likely still fine to eat.

Dried pasta does not go bad the way most of the food does. It won’t get moldy if it is kept on a dry place, away from wet substances. The worst scenario with dried pasta are little insects. They won’t actually spoil it, but they can get into the pasta in a way you can’t get rid of them. So, make sure you thoroughly checked your dried pasta package content, if you kept it opened for a longer period of time. If you find bugs, you should discard it.

Dried pasta is hard to spoil, but it can lose its taste, if it stands for over a couple of years. It should still be edible, but it won’t be tasty as it was.

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