“What is the best way to store homemade noodles?” was an AnswerLine question. The caller related how her grandmother used to make large batches of homemade noodles, cut, and dry them on a clothes drying rack or on dowel rods between the kitchen chairs. After the noodles were thoroughly dry, they were packaged in large tins and placed in the pantry for future use.
That was the method of yesteryear. NOT today. The University of Illinois has a great publication on the ease of making homemade noodles and how to store them properly. Here are some highlights from that publication that pertain specifically to homemade noodle food safety:
- Noodles are pasta but different from other pasta because noodles contain eggs or egg yolks while other pasta does not. The FDA stipulates that a “noodle” must contain 5.5% of the total solids as egg solids which makes the raw egg ingredient a food safety concern.
- Homemade noodles should be used right away or refrigerated for up to three days.
- Fresh noodles may be dried. At room temperature, they should only be allowed to hang for drying no more than two hours to prevent possible salmonella growth. A food dehydrator may also be used to dry noodles; recommendations for drying in a food dehydrator are to dry for two to four hours at 135F. Once noodles are dried, they should be packed in an airtight container or plastic bag and stored in the freezer for three to six months for best quality. I usually add an extra step when I make noodles for the freezer; after allowing them to air dry for 2 hours, I scatter them on baking sheets and place them in the freezer for a couple of hours before packaging. With the extra step, the noodles are easier to use as they usually don’t stick together.
Here are a couple of other food safety issues to consider when making homemade noodles:
- As with any dough that contains raw eggs and flour, the dough should never be tasted.
- Avoid contamination by having a clean working surface, clean hands, and clean equipment. A cutting board that has been used for raw meat or poultry should not be used for noodle rolling and cutting.
- Just like other foods that are left at room temperature for longer than two hours, cooking or reheating noodles may not make them safe to eat. When food items are left out too long or not handled properly, some bacteria can form a heat-resistant toxin that cooking simply can’t destroy.
Homemade noodles are easy to make and are a delightful addition to soups and casseroles. One only needs to practice a few food safety tips to avoid any potential risks.