Often considered the ultimate comfort food (right after chocolate) dried pasta also can last a long time if properly stored. Pasta usually is purchased from a grocer in plastic bags or cardboard boxes. The boxes are marked with a “Best if Used By” date and can last for up to three years in it’s original package. Sometimes pasta is contaminated with weevil eggs which will hatch during a warm summer. We thought we were storing our pasta carefully inside the original box and sealed in a zipping bag. Surprise! If the weevils hatch, they’re not satisfied to stay in the package and just eat the pasta. Oh, no, they chew through the cardboard box and even through the plastic bag!We discovered a contaminated box and into the trash it went. Concerned that the weevils would make their way into other stored packages we began the search for bugs and for a way to help us keep our stored pasta safe. We learned:
1. Dried pasta stores best long term if it is packed in containers along with an oxygen absorber and vacuum sealed.
2. A dried bay laurel leaf added to pasta, grains or flour will keep the critters away.
3. Mylar bags can work to preserve pasta, but sometimes the sharp edges cut the plastic and the seal is lost. Instead we use wide-mouth glass jars and attach the sealing top from our Food Saver to pull a vacuum.
4. If you need to seal jars, but have no electricity to pull the vacuum, use a new brake bleeder. These are available at Harbor Freight. The hose connects to the ones from the Food Saver and with a little hand exercise, you can pull 25 psi and seal the lids. Carefully remove the sealing top and add a jar ring. Store in a cool, dry place.
Billie Nicholson, editor