Rice is consumed all over the world and is considered to be one of the most filling accompaniments to any dish. This simple cereal grain has a place on the table in every culture, so it is vital to learn how to store it correctly to keep it safe for consumption.
This article covers how to store cooked and uncooked rice and look at some rice fun facts and the nutritional content in rice. If you want to become a rice expert, then you have come to the right place.
How to Store Uncooked Rice
Uncooked rice grains are very dry, so keeping the rice dry while it is in storage is the most important thing to remember when finding a storage solution for your rice. Brown and white rice should be stored in an air-tight container to keep it fresh for as long as possible.
Rice that has been stored correctly will stay fresh for up to a year, but you can keep rice for up to two years. The longer rice is kept in storage, the less appealing it will be when it is cooked. Just remember that rice texture and taste will change over time so using it up within a year is advised.
How to Store Cooked Rice
Cooked rice that hasn’t been stored correctly can be a huge safety hazard. It is a safe haven for bacteria called bacillus cereus, a very harmful bacteria that can cause serious vomiting and dehydration.
Cooked food can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four or five days, and that is technically true for rice too – if you store it properly. Here is a step-by-step guide for storing cooked rice that you can follow to ensure the food you consume is safe and edible.
1.Cook the Rice
Cooking rice sounds easier than it is. Overcooked rice will clump and stick together and doesn’t reheat very well, and the longer you store overcooked rice, the less appealing it will be.
Follow your favorite rice recipe to get the best chance of yummy cooked rice. I like to wash the rice thoroughly and then let it sit for a couple of minutes before frying it off in vegetable oil and cooking in a 2:1 water to rice ratio.
You can add saffron, bay leaves, and spices to your rice to make it extra yummy. You could also make rice pudding if you prefer to eat sweet rice. Rice pudding and savory rice should be stored in the same way, so read on for more instructions.
2. Place it in a Tightly Sealed Container
Airtight containers are vital for storing rice. You should opt for a container that is long and shallow so that the rice cools faster.
You wouldn’t usually refrigerate food before it has cooled down completely, but the rules are a little different for rice. Rice needs to cool down as fast as possible so that harmful bacteria can’t develop. This is why refrigerating the rice while it is still hot is recommended.
Make sure that your refrigerator is set to the right temperature setting. If it is too cold, the contents at the back of the refrigerator will freeze, and if it is too hot, the food won’t be kept safe for a long time.
4. Inspect Before Consumption
You should always smell and inspect food before eating it. Rice that is slimy, very dry and crusty, or smells a little off should be thrown out immediately. These are all signs that the rice is off and inedible.
Rice could display these unappealing characteristics after just a day or two in the refrigerator. If this happens to you, you need to check the refrigerator settings to ensure everything is working properly. If you can’t see a fault, getting your refrigerator seen by a professional is advised.
5. Reheat the Rice Correctly
You might cook rice properly, follow all the right storage advice and cooling process, but if you don’t reheat it well, it could still be dangerous. There are lots of ways to reheat rice. Have a look at the section below for some suggestions.
Reheated rice should be served piping hot. Leftover rice is very versatile as it is a little dryer than fresh rice. This is great if you want to make fried rice as the rice keeps its shape better a day or so after boiling. Here are some great reheating methods for leftover rice.
Fried rice is a main course in itself. You can add all of your favorite ingredients to the rice and toss them all together to create an easy on-the-go meal.
Peas, sweetcorn, carrots, finely chopped potatoes or sweet potatoes, and anything else you want to add are great vegetable extras to add that will bulk up your meal and add vitamins and nutrients to your dish. Chicken, egg, beef, and fish can also be added to the rice, so go wild and experiment!
Fried rice doesn’t take very long to cook, so if you need to cook certain ingredients such as chicken, fish, potatoes, or eggs, you should do so in a separate pan before frying the rice and combining the ingredients.
Reheat in the Oven
Reheating rice in the oven is a great opportunity to add spices. Think about the spices you want to add and what you want to serve the rice with before combining the ingredients.
Always drizzle a little bit of water over the rice before placing it in the oven so that the steam rehydrates the rice. Cover the rice with tin foil and cook until it is piping hot.
Top Tip: You should check the rice every five minutes to make sure it doesn’t dry out or overcook.
Microwaving cooked rice is the easiest reheating method. This will probably be your go-to method if you need to reheat your food at the office or if you are in a rush.
Place the rice into a microwave-safe dish and sprinkle water over it evenly. Dampen a paper towel and use it to cover the rice before microwaving on high heat for a few minutes.
Top Tip: You should check the rice every minute or so and stir if needs be.
Can Rice Go Off?
As you might have gathered from the previous sections, cooked and uncooked rice can go off. Identifying gone-off cooked rice is easier than identifying gone-off uncooked rice.
Here are signs to look out for:
- Bad smell
- Slimy texture
- Crispy or dry appearance
Top Tip: Uncooked rice shouldn’t be stored in the refrigerator. Refrigerators are very moist and will change the texture of uncooked.
Freezing fresh rice is a great solution for anyone who doesn’t want to waste their leftovers. Place cooked rice in freezer bags with the date it was cooked and frozen. Keep rice in the freezer for up to six months. Frozen rice is not as nice as refrigerated or fresh rice, so you might be disappointed in its taste and texture when you come to eat it.
What Happens if You Eat Rice that Hasn’t Been Stored Properly?
Eating rice that hasn’t been stored properly is very dangerous. Although gone-off rice will usually only give you a mild vomiting illness, food poisoning is not something any of us want to experience.
Rice that has been left out overnight is considered to be very dangerous. In fact, rice that hasn’t been refrigerated within two or three hours of cooking should be disposed of.
Nutritional Content in Rice
Small amounts of brown or white rice with your meal are very healthy and will keep you fuller for longer. Just like all carbohydrates, it shouldn’t be the main ingredient in your meal. Eating too much rice with the wrong meals could cause weight gain, but eating it in the right way with a balanced diet could also aid weight loss, which is why knowing what to pair rice with is vital.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding brown and white rice and which of them is the healthiest. Let’s take a look at the nutritional values of brown and white rice for comparison.
|Total lipid (fat)||0.65 g|
|Calcium||2 milligrams (mg)|
|Fatty acids (total saturated)||0.17 g|
|Fatty acids (total trans)||0 g|
|Total lipid (fat)||0.15 g|
|Fatty acids (total saturated)||0.04 g|
|Fatty acids (total trans)||0 g|
Healthy Rice Meal Ideas
Planning your meals is the best way to prevent food wastage. Here are some simple and exciting meal ideas containing rice that will inspire you.
1.Mango Sticky Rice
Sticky sweet sesame seeds and rice with luscious mango are so nice for dessert! Simply boil rice and add some sugar to the water during cooking, sprinkle with sesame seeds once it is ready, and top with juicy mango.
2. Egg Fried Rice
Egg fried rice is delicious on its own or paired with lots of crunchy vegetables and succulent chicken slices. The best thing about fried rice is that it can be different every time you make it!
There are hundreds of takes on the classic risotto dish. You can make creamy risotto, cheesy risotto, sundried tomato risotto, and more! Just remember, you can not make risotto using cooked rice.
4. Spanish Rice
Spanish rice is full of flavor; it only takes 10 minutes to prep and cooking it is oh-so-simple. If you want some tangy rice that will be full of flavor, this is the dish to go for!
5. Rice Casserole
Who said you couldn’t make a casserole with rice? Rice casserole is such a yummy winter dish!
Sushi is very cosmopolitan, and more and more of us are trying to make this yummy meal at home. Great rice is the building block of sushi, so give it a go for yourselves!
7. Zesty Rice
Plain rice is a thing of the past. Why not add some lime zest to your rice during the cooking process to give it a kick?
The Great Wall of China is Held Together With Rice
Sounds wild right? The Great Wall of China was built during the 15th and 16th centuries when building equipment and technologies were very simple indeed. A thick, porridge-like solution made out of rice and a few other ingredients was used between the bricks to stick them together.
All Rice Starts off Brown
White rice began its life as brown rice. White rice is brown rice that has gone through some processing to remove its outer layer.
Rice is Grown on Every Continent Except Antarctica
This one isn’t much of a surprise considering how important rice is in every culture. Rice isn’t grown in Antarctica as it doesn’t have the right growing conditions for it to grow.
Rice is Great for Your Skin
Rice is very good for your skin and has minerals and antioxidants that can make the skin soft and smooth.
China Discovered Rice
It is true, the Chinese discovered rice in 2500 BC! Sri Lanka and India were the next contrives to start using rice in their cooking, thus embedding this versatile grain into their culture and history.
Rice is a Staple Food in Low-Income Countries
Rice is a very normal dish in the Western world, but in countries with lots of poverty and poor income, rice is considered a ‘poor man’s meal’. This is because it costs less than 10 cents per ounce, keeps you fuller for longer, and a small amount can feed a lot of people.
Q: Is white rice healthy?
A: Yes, white rice is healthy and an important component for achieving a healthy, balanced diet. Rice shouldn’t be consumed every day due to its high arsenic content.
Q: Can rice make you fat?
A: Rice can contribute to weight gain if it isn’t eaten in the right way. Eating more than a handful of rice with your meal is too much and could make you gain weight.
Q: What is the cheapest type of rice?
A: White rice is the cheapest type of rice, costing you just a few cents per ounce.
Q: Why is Kinmemai rice so expensive?
A: Kinmemai rice is so expensive because it takes a long time to produce. The rice grains are left to mature for over six months, and they go through a process that supposedly enhances their flavor and texture.
Q: Should you boil water before adding the rice?
A: Cooking rice is simple, but the order of the steps is very important. You should wash the rice well, fry it in some oil, and add boiling water to the pan.
Q: What happens if you don’t wash rice before cooking it?
A: Washing rice before cooking it gets rid of surface starch. Failing to wash the rice before cooking could result in clumpy rice that has a funny texture.
Q: Is overcooked rice ok to eat?
A: Overcooked rice doesn’t pose any immediate health concerns, but there is no denying that it just isn’t very appealing, and its soggy texture could put you off.
Q: How much rice should I eat per week?
A: You can eat rice twice or three times per week. Keeping your diet versatile and interesting is important, so eating rice every day is not recommended.