Shelf life of boxed pasta?
I use up spaghetti within days or weeks of buying it, because my preferred pasta shape is spaghetti (pasta shape preference might be another topic, but I digress...). Anyway, I was wondering about the shelf life of boxed pasta. It just seems like it shouldn't go bad, but there could be a reason to toss it that I don't know about. I also realize that it's a cheap item that can be replaced easily, but I'm curious. I've got a few boxes that I've had for over a year now. How long do you hang onto a half-used box of pasta before you toss it?
In Italy all foods have an expiration date, and I have seen it covered up by a label on a package of expensive imported pasta at an expensive NY gourmet chain. I somehow ascertained that they were selling pasta a year older than we were getting in Italy of the same brand. However, to answer your question, a high-quality artisanal dry pasta I bought a few weeks ago in Rome has an exp date of September 2012. Usually it seems to me the dates are somewhat less, but still a couple of years. In any case, unless you see bugs, go ahead and use the pasta whenever you want. Every so often I cook all the leftover fragments of packages and make a pasta al forno with them and start over.
Sometimes it will get bugs (yuch!!) in it. And sometimes, if still left in the unopened box, you can see the very edges get a white (versus yellow) color. That's akin to frezzer-burn and should get tossed out.
PS: If that happens to me, it throw it out to the birds (uncooked) and they eat it like stale bread !