Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Shelf Life of Pizza and Pasta Sauce

"I've had pizza sauce in my fridge for 5 days can I use it?" asked my son on the phone.

"I don't think so, let me check and get back to you." I reply.

The shelf life of pasta and pizza sauce varies by manufacturer. Once opened, it should be stored in a clean, air-tight container in the fridge. It should NOT be stored in the can.

I went to the website of the pizza sauce manufacturer for my son and was told it lasted in the refrigerated 2-3 days.

Whenever you have a question about a food product, I encourage everyone to go to the website and look for the answers. It's usually under the 'frequently asked questions' section and if it's not there, send them an email or call them. I've done this numerous times and always get a response.

I checked out three different pasta sauces and got three different answers:

1. Prego Pasta Sauce (a division of Campbell’s) – I phoned and was told that once opened, the sauce should not be kept for more than 14 days (2 weeks) in the refrigerator. If you purchase more than you need, they suggest you freeze the extra in plastic freezer bags. It will keep frozen for up to 6 months.

2. Ragu – on their website it says their rich and meaty sauce will last for up to 7 days in the refrigerator and 3 months in plastic bags in the freezer. However, if it’s a cheese creation sauce, than only a few days in the refrigerator and do not freeze.

3. Classico – Maximum 3 – 5 days in the refrigerator and 2-3 months in plastic storage bags in the freezer.

Remember, once you open a jar of pasta sauce, write the date somewhere on the outside of the jar. This way, you don’t have to guess how long it's been in your refrigerator!

Homemade Pizza

Pizza is extremely easy to make yourself. Why not try making your own pizza dough? Believe me, it is easy. 

However, if yeast is intimidating, try purchasing a plain pizza shell, and make your own pizza with your choice of toppings: pizza sauce, green pepper, onions, olives, tomatoes, pineapple, meat, part-skimmed mozzarella cheese.

For those who wish to try Pizza Dough here is a recipe taken from "The Lesley Stowe Fine Foods Cookbook" written by Leslie Stowe and published by Harper Collins, 2006.

Pizza Dough

Makes enough for 2 large pizza

1 1/2 cups warm water (not hot, because otherwise you kill the yeast)
1 package INSTANT active dry yeast
Pinch sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

In a small bowl, combine the warm water, yeast and sugar. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir in the flour, oil and salt. Mix until dough forms a ball.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface area and knead for several minutes, adding additional flour if the dough is sticking to the surface. When dough is smooth and shiny, transfer to a bowl and cover with paper towel or a napkin or a clean dish cloth, and let rise until it doubles in size.....about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Punch down dough and knead once more, then roll out with a rolling pin (a wine bottle makes a great rolling pin) or use your fingers and push the dough into a circle. Place pizza on a greased baking sheet or lined with parchment paper. Top with sauce and toppings. Bake until the bottom begins to brown, 10-15 minutes (lift it with a spatula to check).