Pasta is probably one of the easiest foods to prepare. Who doesn’t like pasta, anyway? It’s so versatile, easy to make (whether you’re opening a store bought package of dried pasta or whipping up some homemade) and easy to cook!
But sometimes we just get over ourselves and make too much (especially during holidays and celebrations) and we’ve no choice but to keep the leftovers in the fridge. Maybe, you just want to save some time and decided to make enough for a week’s food supply. Just the same, we’re all asking: how long does pasta last in the fridge?
Short History of Pasta
If you look at the history of this beloved thing called pasta, you will see that it dates back up to 3000 years ago. Whether you believe that that is the beginning of pasta is strictly semantics. I know what you are thinking- who cares, right? The only thing that matters is that it’s yummy and a dinner time favorite!
But I guess if you came from one of the countries that stake their claim in the origin of pasta, then it will be a big deal for you. I am actually waiting for Ancient Aliens to tackle pasta, but no such luck. There is evidence that the ancient Etruscans prepared something that resembles pasta (a combination of wheat and egg), but they baked it, not boiled it.
There is where semantics will enter. The pasta we know now is boiled, not baked. So many will argue that we can’t consider what the ancient Etruscans concocted as pasta in the strictest sense. Yep, it is mind boggling. Then came the ‘laganon’ from the Greeks which resembled ‘lasagna’ (again, they can’t say it’s ‘pasta’ because it’s not boiled). Then the Romans did their own version, too.
There are also accounts of something like pasta from Arab lands. That is why the claims that the makings of pasta spread from Arabia to Italy during the incursion of Arabs into Sicily. Then there’s China and so on and so forth. The only thing we’re sure about is that pasta became more popular during the 14th century which we can give credit to the Italians and Spaniards for.
Pasta gained popularity worldwide from the 18th century. Aside from that, it became accessible to everyone, no matter what their station in life might be. There are many types of pasta by that time. But the great popularity of the pasta in the United States is attributed for the immigration of Italians to the States (not just The Godfather).
Because if the large immigration, the many dishes made using pasta became more widespread. Almost every family has their own recipe to share, and who can blame the people for accepting the recipes wholeheartedly when they’re so delicious? We can clearly see why pasta stood the test of time. Why not when it can be paired with almost every ingredient!
Refrigerating Pasta – How Long Does Pasta Last In The Fridge
Nothing beats fresh pasta done right. Aside from that, the recipe is so basic that even a newbie can do it. If you have never tried making your own pasta, try it the next time especially if you are making lasagna! Since lasagna is done with big flat sheets of pasta, that will be the best pasta dish that you can do while still feeling up the making of fresh pasta.
The only drawback in making fresh pasta is the storage. Because it is, well, fresh, it is not exactly made to last years in your cupboard. It is easy to make so basically you make fresh pasta on the very same day that you will use it. But not all of our plans come into fruition. Let us not kid ourselves in thinking that you will never need to think ‘how long does pasta last in the fridge?’ when it is fresh.
You might one day want to make a whole batch of fresh pasta that will be enough for a week. Maybe while you are making your fresh pasta something came up and you have to scratch the pasta dish you are supposed to be making. Or it can be that you simply made too much. Again, it does not matter ‘why’ you need to know, it is just a valuable knowledge.
Fresh pasta can also be bought from stores as well if you really don’t want to make it by yourself but want to get the superior taste of fresh pasta. Either way, fresh pasta, homemade or bought, should be stored the same way and will last in the fridge for the same length of time. Fresh pasta will last up to 2 days in the refrigerator with only a little bit of change in taste.
But of course, you will have to do the storing properly. First of all, you can just wrap the wet dough up and throw it in the refrigerator. The fresh pasta will need to be dried a bit first. Spread the fresh pasta (in whatever form you made them) in a baking tray for a couple of minutes.
Don’t forget to dust the pasta with a little bit of flour to prevent it from sticking together. After that, fold the pasta and form little nests with it. Let it dry again for another thirty minutes. Once the thirty minutes is up, wrap the pasta up tightly and put it in the refrigerator.
Dried pasta is probably the greatest thing for people who do not want to make their own pasta. This is very ideal especially for people who have tight schedules. It is not as great as fresh pasta but great quality ones can definitely be almost at par.
Dried pasta, of course, comes in boxes or packages with a best by date. So you can safely assume that it will be fine to cook and consume the pasta up to that date. But how long will it last if it is kept in the refrigerator? Will it make the shelf life longer?
The answer to that are: do not put it in the refrigerator and no, it will not. The only thing you will have to remember when storing dried pasta is to keep it in its original packaging and store it in your pantry. You can even eat the pasta after 1 to 2 years past its expiration date (which is simply the last date when the manufacturer will vouch for the safety of the product) if you store it properly.
You can never help it. Some things just come up and there are times when you just have to abandon the pasta dish you are making. There are also times when there are leftovers. So how long can you keep cooked pasta in the fridge?
Cooked pasta can last up to 3 to 5 days in the fridge. Always remember that foods should be put in the fridge after two hours- this is vital especially if you are serving a crowd. Of course, there are things that you will have to keep in mind if you want to preserve the taste and texture (or as much of it) of the pasta.
If you are storing a pasta dish, then store it in an airtight container before tossing in the fridge. On the other hand, if you are storing the pasta sans any sauce, let it cool down first and toss it with a bit of oil before putting inside an airtight container. When it comes to reheating the pasta, just drop it into boiling water.
Pasta is a very versatile food. You can pair it up with almost any ingredient. It is also easy to make (or buy) to boot! No wonder why it is so popular. Because of that it is vital to know the answer to ‘how long does pasta last in the fridge?’. Your reason for wanting to know doesn’t matter!
- Fresh- 2 days
- Dried- don’t refrigerate, store in cupboard
- Cooked- 3 to 5 days
Now that you know the answer, you can confidently store your pasta in the refrigerator. Do you have questions and suggestions? Leave them in the comments section!