Are you dehydrating pasta? "Isn't it already dry?" you might ask? Not if you make it by hand!
The thrill of making homemade pasta for the first time is not lost on this fellow pasta maker. I first learned to make my pasta in 2018 in Italy, and since then, I've been on a mission to learn as many shapes as possible.
Making pasta by hand "Fatta a mano" is the definition of slow living. You're taking your time, choosing ingredients within tension, and working with a product until you get the result: delicious pasta. The challenge for me until now is knowing the best way to preserve all that could work safely. So I put together a guide looking at ways to preserve our pasta.
Keep in mind, too, if you make pasta regularly utilizing the power of a vacuum sealer. Keep in mind, too, if you make pasta regularly using the power of a vacuum sealer. During the 2020 lockdowns, I was only able to access a 50-pound bag of semolina flour when the majority of grocery stores were out of stock, and for my partner and myself. That is quite a bit of flour, and both of us enjoy making pasta, but even that was a lot for us! So we ended up using the vacuum sealer to preserve the quality of the flour. Read on to learn about some of the ways to dry and preserve your fresh pasta.
Why dehydrate or preserve homemade pasta?
Build out your pantry: Drying fresh pasta lets us have access to handmade pasta as often as we'd like, but ultimately it's a great way to build a pantry for when your freezer is full and after you've given some to all of your friends. In addition, pasta allows us to have our favorite type of pasta on hand when needed, especially when most grocery stores are out of stock.
Supply chain issues: The bucatini shortage of 2020 is all I needed to see that our precious pasta could be gone in a flash. The primary reason that we dry and freeze pasta is that we like homemade pasta. It's easier to pull some out of the freezer or pantry than start from scratch.
I've dried short noodle shapes like penne pasta, but long thin noodles such as angel hair and thin spaghetti since those are made with a pasta extruder. Some of my favorites are wider homemade noodles like fettuccine and tagliatelle.
Make your own backpacking meals: If you are a backpacker or camper, dehydrated meals like pasta are a great way to carry in your own meals on a multi-day hike. Whether you are preparing meals on-site or taking short trips into the woods, dry pasta (and dehydrated pasta sauce) will take up much less space in your pack!
What are the ways to preserve fresh pasta?
Did you finish making a whole batch of fresh pasta and want to save some for a meal in the future? We've got you. There are three primary ways to extend the shelf life of fresh pasta for when you can't eat it within the first few days.
Usually, my go-to is the freezer, spreading them out on a sheet in a single layer on parchment paper and adding them to a freezer bag or an airtight container so that I can have pasta ready to go from freezer to boiling water (don't bring it back to room temperature) to parmesan cheese and good olive oil, in a short time. Fresh pasta can last in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Leaving pasta to dry in the open air or on an iconic method that Italian Nonna's have been using for some time. While a wooden pasta rack is an option, use what you have at home. For example, you could dry orecchiette on a fine mesh screen like the famous pasta grannies in Bari, Italy, who sit outside their houses making the pasta each day. If you're looking to air dry at home, lay your pasta out on a baking rack overnight, and then leave it in an open-air tray. After a few days, it can be added to an airtight container, but it's a good idea to keep it out of direct sunlight and use it within a couple of months.
Dehydrating is the removal of moisture from food (more on that below). I started dehydrating on my stove, but since getting a dehydrator, it's been a game-changer for preserving herbs, citrus, and other foods to create powders, teas, and overall storage. However, it's at a consistent temperature which can be challenging with air drying.
What is dehydrating?
Dehydrating is a great way to store your favorite foods, especially when fresh produce is not available in the colder months. Dehydrating makes food safe for long-term storage and preserves all vital vitamins and minerals. It can also make some foods more convenient to prepare, like beef jerky and dried fruit.
It's a simple process that removes moisture from food by passing cool air over it. The air temperature needs to be low enough so that bacteria will not grow on the food. Properly dehydrated foods have a shelf life of about three years.
There are two main ways to dehydrate food, with a dehydrator or oven. A dehydrator uses heat and fans to blow warm air over the food, whereas a range uses only warm air. The goal is to remove moisture but not cook the food in either case.
There are many foods you can try this with, including meat, fish, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and even herbs. Some foods do better than others when dried; meats become jerky, while fruits become leathery sheets that are great for snacking or cooking.
How to dry fresh pasta using a dehydrator
There's a lot of advice about storing fresh pasta. One common suggestion is to dry it out in the oven. This works, but it takes forever and wastes energy.
Drying pasta in a dehydrator is faster, more efficient, and doesn't require much tending on your part. It's easy and takes just a few hours in your dehydrator. Follow these steps, and you'll have perfectly dried pasta in no time!
A.) Your first step is to have fresh pasta. Don't try to dry store-bought, dried pasta. That's a different process and won't work. This is the easiest easy way to dry your pasta, in my opinion.
B.) Arrange the noodles on your dehydrator trays so they don't touch (you might need to do this in batches). You can use parchment paper underneath, but this is optional. You don't want them too close or too far apart because then your noodles will fall through the cracks into another tray.
C.) Set your dehydrator to 135 degrees Fahrenheit for 2-4 hours for chewy pasta or 135 degrees for about 24 hours for soft noodles or until you reach the desired texture. After taking it out of the dehydrator, let them sit out for no more than two hours before storing
For best results, double-check the manufacturer's instructions for drying times and temperatures.
process for drying fresh pasta in an oven
If you are using an oven, turn the temperature down to the out 8 hours for elbow macaroni, 4 hours for spaghetti, or 12 hours for most other types of pasta.
Remember that because humidity varies, the drying process could take longer than estimated here, depending on weather conditions outside your kitchen.
Dehydrating pasta is a simple process that can easily incorporate into any food dehydrating operation.
So if you plan to dehydrate your food, here is how you go about it...TIP: Dehydrate pasta in the oven at a low temperature.
This way, it will not burn and create a nasty aftertaste. The best temperature to dehydrate pasta is between 100 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
Preheat the oven to its lowest setting and turn off the fan. If you have a range with a built-in fan, make sure it is turned off or that the dial is set to "off."
If you have an oven without an automatic fan setting, you will need to open and close the door periodically to ensure even dehydration throughout.
Storing Dehydrated pasta
Store dehydrated foods in sanitized containers with a tight-fitting lid. Dehydrating makes the pasta lighter and crunchier, and it is more convenient to carry than pasta in a can I think better than regular pasta from the store.
The shelf life depends on how you treat your dehydrated pasta. Suppose you pack it in airtight containers (such as Mason jars) and store them in a cool, dry place. If you keep your dried pasta in plastic bags or loosely closed containers, it will need to be consumed within one year.
Dehydrator: A good dehydrator has separate trays that stack or slide in and out of the unit easily so you can load them with different kinds of foods while still keeping them separate from one another. The fan should have several settings so you can adjust the airflow depending on what is being dried (soft or hard fruits, for example).
Oven: An oven with a pilot light will allow you to dry your pasta without electricity. If the range does not have a pilot light, drying the noodles will take much longer than usual. The time it takes to dehydrate the pasta depends on how thick they are. Thinner noodles, such as angel hair, will dry faster than fettuccini.
Food processor: Food processors come in handy for chopping vegetables and meat, but if you want your dried fruits and veggies to be as healthy as possible, but if you are making pasta dough from scratch, it's an excellent tool to have.
Vacuum sealer: These have been a game-changer in my food storage game. You can buy these at any kitchen supply store or online. If you don't have a vacuum sealer, jars with a tight-fitting lid are a good move.
- Select pasta shapes that you can make your favorite recipes
- Dry pasta should sufficiently to snap when twisted, not bend; store in airtight containers in the room.
Drying homemade pasta is the easiest and most effective way to preserve your pasta for long-term storage. It's also the quickest method, as a dehydrator can have your fresh pasta dried out and ready for storage in only 2 hours.
Yes! You can dry fresh pasta by hanging it, drying it in nests, or dehydrating it. Drying pasta affects its shelf life, but most long-term storage methods work well.
Store dry pasta for six months in airtight containers in a dry location. It is essential to note that the shelf life of dry pasta is affected by the type of dehydrating process used.
Dry pasta at 135 degrees Fahrenheit for 2-4 hours. Drying times may vary depending on the thickness of your homemade pasta. Store dried pasta in an airtight container. Be sure to label the container with the type of pasta and the date it was dried.
Dehydrating fresh pasta is relatively easy, and the process is similar to drying other foods. First, line a sheet tray with wax paper spread the paste evenly over the cookie sheet. Next, place it in an oven and set it at its lowest temperature.
The dehydrating time will vary based on the thickness of the pasta and how dry you want it to be. The finished product should be crispy but not brittle.
The answer is no. The drying process for pasta will be nearly identical whether you are using a rack or not.
Did you try this?
Have you tried to dry fresh pasta? I'd love to hear about it! I'm excited to connect with you and share my favorite fresh pasta recipes and lots of food and recipes with you. Feel free to connect on Instagram!