Does Rice Go Bad?

Rice is a good companion to most dishes and is a staple in most cuisines around the world. But it does take a while to cook, so you might want to cook and store it in advance.
Uncooked rice lasts for a very long time, but cooked rice has a much shorter shelf life. It needs to be stored properly and used within a short period of time. Here’s everything you need to know about storing rice:

Storing Rice

If it is uncooked rice, storing it is very simple. Just keep it a clean and dry area away from the heat. If you have already opened the packet of rice, you should transfer the rice to an air-tight container.
Some people also prefer to store their rice in the freezer or the fridge. Just put the rice in an air-tight container or a freezer bag. If you’re using a freezer bag, make sure to squeeze out as much air as possible before putting it in. This prevents freezer burn.
There are two ways to store cooked rice. If you plan on eating it within a couple of days, put it in a tightly sealed container and keep it in the fridge. Don’t put steaming hot rice into the fridge straight away; allow it to cool to room temperature first.
If you don’t plan on eating rice in the near future, you should store it in the freezer.

Can Rice Be Frozen?

Rice can be stored in the freezer. It keeps well and stays safe for a very long time. Here’s how you can store cooked rice in the freezer:

  • If there is a lot of it, first make smaller portions. A meal-sized portion will do.
  • If the rice was just cooked, let it come down to room temperature first. Once it is ready, scoop the portions into freezer bags.
  • Make sure to squeeze out the air from the bags and seal them properly. You can also add dates to the bags for future reference.
  • Place the bags in the freezer.

Freezer bags with no air inside them are the best way to store rice. They prevent freezer burn and don’t take up too much space in your freezer. If you are meal prepping and the rice is meant to be consumed within the week, you also use prepping containers.
Here’s are a few ways to thaw and heat the frozen rice before eating:

  • Set the microwave to a low power setting and heat the rice in small chunks of time. Heating it at high power or continuously can burn the rice. Rice sometimes gets dry in the freezer, so you can add a couple of tablespoons of water to compensate.
  • Take a non-stick pan and keep it on low heat. Put the rice on the pan and let it thaw on low heat. You can increase the heat once the rice thaws and it will be ready to eat in a few minutes.
  • Leave it in the refrigerator overnight and it will thaw on its own. Reheat like always on the next day when it is time to eat.

How Long Before Rice Goes Bad?

Raw white rice will stay good forever, as long as you store it properly. Brown rice has a shorter shelf life, but white rice can last a really long time.
Cooked rice stays good for 4-6 days if kept in the refrigerator. If you’re lucky, it might even last for a week or 7-8 days but don’t expect that it always will.
If you plan on using it more than 4 days later, you should ideally keep it in the freezer. It will stay safe for consumption and it can last almost indefinitely. For best taste and texture, it is recommended that you eat it within 4 to 6 months.
If you’re wondering how long cooked rice can stay good at room temperature, there is no one answer. According to the USDA, food safety is comprised if food stays at temperatures between 40 degrees F to 140 degrees F for more than 2 hours.
So the answer will depend on what the room temperature is. Colder weather means that it can last longer and hot weather shortens its longevity. The longer it is kept at room temperature, the higher the chances of you falling sick from eating it.

Related: Food Storing Guide: Storage Times For The Refrigerator And Freezer

How Do You Know If Rice Has Spoiled?

It is easy to identify soiled uncooked rice. It will have bugs or mold or the color might change. It is best to dispose of this rice because the bacteria will have spread and there is no way to salvage it.
Sometimes uncooked rice catches the smell of whatever food it was stored with. It is possible that it is safe to it, but it is best to throw it away to be safe.
Firstly, the smell will persist when it is cooked and will hardly be enjoyable to eat. The smell can also be because of other factors, making the rice unsafe to eat. It is better to err on the side of caution than eat it and fall sick.
The indicators of rotting are also extremely obvious in cooked rice. The smell of spoiled cooked rice is very recognizable. It ought to be the first indication if the rice is spoiled. Additionally, spoiled rice loses some moisture, turning it all sticky.
Mold on the rice’s surface or a yellowish tint are a dead giveaway. Throw the rice away if you see any of these symptoms. It will taste awful and might make you sick if you eat it.

Wrapping Up

White rice can last for a really long time. After being cooked, you can store it in the refrigerator if you are eating it within the week and in the freezer if you plan on eating it more than 5 days later.
Identifying ruined rice is very easy. It smells bad, has a wet texture, and is often discolored too. If you are unsure about the condition of the rice, it is best to throw it away.
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