Most of the time while we cook food, some of it is leftover. It especially happens with food that is most often cooked such as rice.
It is not true that leftover rice cannot be eaten. You just have to ensure that the rice is safe to eat.
It should be assured that the rice has been cooked, cooled, stored, and reheated in a proper way. This would help prevent illness and food waste.
How Can Rice Make You Sick?
If the rice is not cooked properly or cooled properly, it may give the bacteria ample time to grow in a moist environment. Bacteria tend to grow on food that is high in moisture.(2)
If the rice is left at room temperature for long the bacteria can easily multiply in it and eating this rice can make you sick. On eating rice containing Bacillus cereus you may experience vomiting and diarrhea. The symptoms might be experienced 1-5 hours after eating it and last for 24 hours.(1)
How Long Does Cooked Rice Last in Fridge?
Cooked rice can last in the fridge for four to seven days. However, if stored properly it may last for even more time.
But sometimes you have to follow your own sense of smell and taste to judge the freshness of any stored food.
Signs of Rice Gone Bad
There are a few signs that show that the rice is no longer safe to consume.
If the rice smells weird and bad or sour, it may signal bacteria growth. It is best to throw it out.
Be sure to fall sick if you eat it.
Dry Crumbly and Tough Rice
Being in the fridge for long, rice loses its moisture content. It may turn dry tough and crumbly.
If the rice is in this form do not eat it, even if it does not smell bad. This indicates that it has been in the fridge for a long time.
Rice is Slimy
Slimy rice means that the bacteria have grown in it all the more and it is on the first stage of fermentation.
Such rice when refrigerated had a lot of moisture in it that promoted bacterial growth.
Does Variety of Rice Make Difference
White rice lasts a bit longer than the other rice varieties.
Brown rice can last only for four to five days in the fridge. It is less processed than white rice. The oils make it healthier and also a reason, it gets expired faster.
Another variety, wild rice, has the same expiry as white rice. It lasts for the same period of time i.e. four to seven days in the fridge.
Is it Safe to Eat Cold Rice?
Till the time you like the texture and the taste, it is safe to consume cold rice.
Make sure you look for the signs of contamination before eating it.
Can Cooked Rice Be Frozen?
It is absolutely fine to freeze cooked rice. It is the best way to ensure that the leftovers do not go rancid in the refrigerator.
They can be defrosted anytime before meals.
You can add a little bit of moisture to this rice, as most get lost in the freezing process.
Frozen rice has a longer shelf life i.e. Six to eight months. Make sure you store this rice in an airtight container.
How to Store Cooked Rice?
Follow the below-mentioned steps to store the cooked rice for it to last long.
- Make sure that the rice is cooled completely before putting it in the fridge. Putting hot rice in the fridge allows the moisture to pool and collect. This encourages bacterial growth and makes the rice get spoiled faster.
- Use air-tight containers to keep the unwanted moisture out of the refrigerated rice. You can also use resalable plastic bags.
- Reheat the rice only when you have to eat it, as multiple reheating and cooling give the bacteria the opportunity to grow.
- Excess of leftover rice should be frozen.
If not sure whether the stored rice is safe to eat, do not consume it. It may lead to unwanted illnesses.