Isn’t it just the worst when you are stuck with a massive bowl of leftovers?
When your family or significant other didn’t finish their meal, and you’re left with lots of food?
I think that every household faces this problem – especially when it comes to spaghetti!
We always prepare a lot of sauce and cook way too much pasta. It is inevitable to have at least some of it left afterward.
Eating every last bit of food from our plates isn’t always possible, though.
In this article, we’re going to unveil a couple of things about preserving leftover spaghetti – including how long does spaghetti last in the fridge?
Before we dive into this matter any further, let’s talk a bit about spaghetti.
Spaghetti is usually described as long and thin pasta. It is traditionally used in Italian cuisine.
Two main ingredients of pasta are wheat, typically durum, and water – but sometimes, minerals and vitamins are added to the recipe.
Many pasta dishes are made with spaghetti, usually served with a variety of tomato-based sauces, which often contain basil and oregano, olive oil, meat, and vegetables.
Carbonara and bolognese are the most famous pasta dishes. In America, spaghetti is often served with chili con carne, which means chilly with meat.
Try not to store leftovers!
As previously mentioned, it is very difficult (sometimes even impossible) to measure how much food your family will eat. Still, there is a simple rule when it comes to food:
Eat it up!
An easy rule to follow, right?
Well, sometimes, it isn’t. From time to time, moms make so much food that it seems that the entire army can feast on it!
The big question is:
How Long Does Spaghetti Last In The Fridge? How Do You Know That It Went Bad?
Most people do not want to throw away food. But if you don’t do that and try to eat it, instead, an even worse thing will happen – food poisoning.
How Do You Know If Your Pasta Is Spoiled?
Throwing food away is no one’s idea of fun – but that doesn’t mean that you should save the food that went bad.
If you find mold or see that pasta has changed color or smells funny, it is time to dispose of it.
Never try to save pasta – especially not when it starts showing signs of spoilage. The result will always be food poisoning, which is never a pleasant thing.
Pasta – How Long Can You Keep It In The Fridge?
The estimated time of freshness for meaty spaghetti is usually around three days. Non-meaty dishes, on the other hand, can last up to four days.
It’s best not to mix sauce and pasta when serving the dish to your family; it will last longer in the fridge if it’s not blended.
Let them do the mixing on their plates – it will stop you from wasting the food.
Another great tip would be to put a tiny amount of vegetable oil or olive oil to prevent your cooked pasta from sticking.
You see, cooked pasta tends to stick together when exposed to lower temperatures. So, as it starts to cool down – but it is still relatively warm – put a couple of oil drops over it, and mix it well.
After that, you have to make a decision:
Will you eat that pasta in the next 3 or 4 hours?
If your answer is yes, then you don’t need to worry about storing it in the refrigerator.
But, if your answer is no, then you need to put it away. When you leave the pasta out for a couple of hours, its quality starts to degrade.
It can go bad pretty quickly, which could be an issue for whoever eats it next.
So, if you are not sure whether you will or won’t eat freshly cooked pasta, the safest thing to do is to store it in the fridge as soon as it cools down.
The faster you put your dish into the refrigerator, the longer it will preserve freshness!
How To Properly Store Pasta?
Once you have entirely drained pasta from excess water, store it in a plastic container. For the best results, it would be good to have a container with a vacuum sealer that can squeeze out the air.
If you have prepared a lot of pasta, splitting it up into smaller portions is also an option. For this, we’d recommend using sealable bags rather than ordinary ones.
Be cautious when storing it in the fridge because sometimes the middle package can stick and retain the heat if not adequately cooled down.
Math on this one is easy:
- Bigger chunks of spaghetti can slow down the cooling process, causing the pasta to attract more air. The result is accumulated moisture.
The next problem appears if your pasta is mixed with a sauce:
- A mixture of these two will need more time to cool down, providing a way for bacteria to multiply on your delightful meal.
- Don’t forget to toss in some extra vegetable or olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking together! Shake the container or bags lightly so the oil can spread evenly.
- Usually, it is best if you put the pasta in the fridge on the highest shelf. The air doesn’t circulate much in this area, and the temperature is a bit higher, which is perfect for delicate meals like this.
- One of the worst places to put cooked meals is a drawer or lower shelf; these types of meals don’t work well together with very low temperatures.
What kind of bacteria can grow on pasta?
- Uncooked pasta cannot grow bacteria because there is no moisture to encourage bacterial growth.
Cooked pasta is a whole different story, though:
- Some malicious microorganisms may start to invade if you leave your pasta outside of the fridge for longer than you should have. Some of those bacteria are Enterococcus, micrococcus, Escherichia coli, and fungi.
- If the food is delicious for you, it will be tasty for all sorts of bacteria.
- Be careful!
Can You Store Pasta For A Longer Period Of Time?
If you want to extend your pasta life for one to two months, you certainly can. All you need is a working freezer and a freezer-friendly container!
This way, you can store cooked pasta for up to two months. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can completely forget about it. Check your freezer from time to time, just in case.
Reheating And Thawing Cooked Spaghetti
The time has come to eat spaghetti leftovers. There are two ways to thaw frozen pasta:
- Leaving them at room temperature – a slower and more natural method
- Using the microwave – this method is invasive and faster
The slower method is always better because it won’t damage pasta on a cellular level, leaving it more nutritious and tasty.
Using a microwave can be tricky because it will thaw the strands extremely fast, leaving you with fewer nutrients. Pasta may even appear mushy and tasteless.
Let us talk about reheating refrigerated pasta. It can, as well, be done in two ways:
- Using hot water
Again, the first method is better, because pasta has already lost a lot of its moisture, and reheating it in the microwave will end in poor quality and mushy texture.
The best way to reheat leftovers using hot water is to boil the water first and let it soak in for 30 seconds, drain the pasta, and voila!
If you are going to use the second method, it is highly recommended that you microwave the pasta on the reheat setting.
Set your microwave on the lowest heat setting for 1 minute, after that you will have to stir your spaghetti vigorously. Feel free to sprinkle a bit of water over it; the added moisture will be more than welcome.
Spaghetti will forever be a popular meal – but it’s not always worth saving.
Now that we’ve learned how long does spaghetti last in the fridge, let’s sum up the most important things that were covered in this article:
- Always try to cook the exact amount of food you or your family can eat.
- Never blend pasta and sauce because it will probably go bad very quickly.
- If you have to store leftovers, be sure to do it properly. Drain pasta well and mix it with a small amount of oil so that it doesn’t stick together.
- Use vacuum-sealed containers for the best result, or if you have a lot of pasta left, you can use some sealable plastic bags.