One of the important things to keep an eye out for when grocery shopping is the shelf life of food products. This will help you get the freshest items and also protect you and your loved ones from food poisoning.

If you didn't already know, pasta is included on the list of such food items. Pasta comes in two major forms, fresh and dried, which determines how long they can be stored:

Fresh pasta — may be homemade or bought out of specialty shops. They are typically made with eggs, which means they can only be stored for about four or five days.

Dried pasta — this is the most common form of pasta, sold at grocery stores. It is usually made with semolina flour and water, and not with eggs, so it can actually last one-to-two years past the date on its box.

According to experts, pasta boxes are typically labeled with a "best by" date, which is the manufacturer's estimate of how long the pasta will really taste fresh. This also means that after this date, the pasta will not accumulate any bacteria, and so remains safe for consumption.

When your pasta has exceeded its best by date, expect changes like loss of flavor. However, here are a few tips that can help conserve the quality of your pasta for longer:

  • Transfer the pasta to an airtight container.
  • Keep the container in a cool, dark place.
  • Keep fresh pasta in its airtight packaging and in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook it.
  • You can also wrap your fresh pasta in an aluminum foil or put it in a freezer-safe zip-lock bag and freeze it. It will last about two days in the fridge and two months in the freezer.
  • Leftover cooked pasta, can last in the fridge for up to five days, or in the freezer up to two months.

Enjoy!