Rice is an extremely important part of life for many people, and according to Ricepedia, it’s the staple food for more than half of the world.
When it comes to storing rice, it’s important to differentiate between cooked rice and raw rice; the storage you use will depend completely on this factor. Rice is a food you should always treat with caution, as it is hard to tell when it is bad and it can give you serious food poisoning if it has gone off.
Dry rice rarely poses hazards, although you should still store it properly, but cooked rice needs to be handled with great care to minimize the risks associated with reheating it.
Dry white rice has very little moisture in it, and can safely be stored for months on end, provided it doesn’t get wet. It’s worth noting that brown rice has more moisture in it, and may not keep as well, but should still last for several months in the proper conditions.
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How To Store Rice Properly
Dry uncooked rice should be stored in a clean, airtight container. You can leave rice in the bag you purchased it in, but it is best to transfer it to a container that can be sealed instead. This ensures that the rice cannot get damp, and that it is not accessible to any bugs or rodents that might be attracted to it.
You can freeze uncooked rice in an airtight container if you wish to extend its lifespan, and it can also be kept in the fridge if you prefer. However you store it, you should seek to seal it so that no moisture can get in; this will very quickly rot the grains and ruin the whole batch.
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Cooked rice also needs very careful storage. Some people say you can’t reheat rice, but this is being debunked; you can reheat rice safely provided it has been stored very carefully and you reheat it thoroughly.
If you have leftover rice, you should immediately bring its temperature down by running it under cold water. When it is cool, it should be drained, and then transferred to a sealed container and stored in the fridge. It should not be left at room temperature for any amount of time; the faster you cool it, the better it will keep.
You can also freeze cooled cooked rice in airtight containers. These Glass Food Storage Containers would be perfect for use in either the fridge or freezer, and should seal out all the moisture and prevent airflow.
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How Long You Store Rice?
Here’s how long you can store cooked and uncooked rice.
How Long Can You Store White Rice?
Dry white rice can be stored for months, possibly even years, in the right conditions. It is not thought to deteriorate provided it remains cool and dry, without too much airflow.
How Long Can You Store Brown Rice?
If you have brown rice, you should be looking to use it within six months as a maximum, unless you freeze it, in which case it should be good for a whole year or even longer, provided it remains dry.
How Long Can You Store Uncooked Rice?
Cooked rice doesn’t have nearly such a good storage life. Many people recommend eating it within a day, and you should always reheat it so that it is hot throughout. Never eat lukewarm rice that has been reheated.
Some estimates say that you have up to five days to consume rice that has been correctly cooled and stored. That may be pushing it, however, so if you are uncertain, it is probably better to stick to two or three days. Longer than that means that bacteria may be starting to form and the rice could be dangerous.
If you don’t expect to eat the rice quickly, try freezing it in an airtight container. Frozen rice should stay safe to eat for months. Defrost it in the fridge and reheat it to piping hot before eating it, however.
Rice that has been left at room temperature should not be eaten, even after a few hours. Many people advise treating it like meat; if you would not eat chicken that had sat on the counter for that long, don’t eat rice. If you accidentally leave rice out, do not try to store it; it needs to be discarded.
How To Tell If Rice Has Gone Bad
You might be wondering how to tell if rice is bad. With dry rice, you should find it fairly easy. Any change to the “normal” look will indicate that the rice is bad. If you see spots on the rice, it has probably got damp and begun to mold.
You may also occasionally get bugs in uncooked rice that has been stored for a long time, especially if the packaging isn’t sealed. It’s important to discard the rice; while most of these bugs are harmless, few people want to eat insects, and they could infect other foods. Avoid bugs by storing your rice in a sealed container.
If your uncooked rice smells funny, it may be because it has picked up odors from other foods, rather than because it is specifically off. You may still want to discard it for safety, however, or rinse it thoroughly before cooking.
It isn’t always easy to tell when cooked rice has gone bad; it can look innocent enough and still be harboring bacteria. However, if your cooked rice has got a tinge of blue, a sour smell, spots, sliminess, or other discoloration, it is not safe to eat.
Cooked rice that has dried out and gone crispy should also be discarded. Make sure you cover rice in the fridge to avoid this happening.
Mistakes To Avoid When Storing Rice
- Do not leave rice out: rice that has been left in a pan or on a counter should be thrown away after a few hours. It is not safe to consume.
- Do not let dry rice get damp: this will very quickly introduce mold and bacteria to the bag, and you will have to throw it all away.
- Don’t eat any rice that has an odd smell or texture; this indicates it has gone off.
Keep Your Rice Fresh For Months (Or Years)
Rice is notorious for being dangerous when reheated, but provided you cool it quickly and reheat it thoroughly in a short space of time, it should be perfectly safe to eat. Store your dried rice in a sealed container, and keep all cooked rice chilled until it is wanted again, and you should find rice no problem to store.