Rice is one of the pantry staples that have the most extended shelf life. Most households like preparing it because it’s not only easy to cook, but it’s also a good source of carbohydrates.
Although uncooked rice can stay for ages without going bad, cooked rice has an expiry date. Furthermore, its moist texture also makes it prone to harmful bacteria.
Cooked rice stays longer when stored in the refrigerator than when left at room temperature. But how long does cooked rice safely last in the fridge? Read on to learn.
How Long does uncooked rice last?
The shelf life of uncooked or dry rice varies with the type of rice. There are various types of rice. However, the main difference in rice in its shelf life is whether it is white or brown.
Brown and white rice have different degrees of moisture. Brown rice is neither milled nor polished. It, therefore, has a greater fat and oil content compared to white rice. This makes it go rancid faster than dry white rice.
Despite this difference, both types of rice are shelf-stable when kept dry. If you have plenty of dry rice, you don’t have to keep it in the fridge. You can safely store it at room temperature in the pantry.
However, brown rice stays fresh for three to six months since the date of manufacture, while white rice can stay up to 5 years without going bad.
You can increase the shelf life of your brown rice by keeping it in the freezer when frozen uncooked brown rice can stay fresh for up to 18 months, while white rice can last as long as 30 years.
You can also extend the shelf life of your brown rice by refrigerating it. Refrigerated brown rice stays fresh for up to 6 months.
How long does rice last in the fridge?
If stored properly, cooked white rice can stay in the fridge for up to 6 days. Cooked brown rice has a shorter shelf life. It can only stay in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Storing cooked rice in the refrigerator maximizes the shelf life of the rice by keeping it safe from airborne bacteria that cause spoilage.
As a rule of thumb, you should store cooked white rice in the freezer if you intend to use it five days after cooking it. This rule applies to many short, medium, and long-grain rice varieties, including basmati, wild rice, jasmine rice, and arborio rice.
This ensures that the rice is safe to eat when you are ready to use it.
How to best preserve cooked rice
Cooked rice has a lot of moisture which makes it a potential breeding place for bacteria. It is important to refrigerate or freeze leftover rice right away if you intend to use it later. If leftover rice stays at room temperature for over two hours, it is advisable to toss it in the bins because it’s likely contaminated.
Cool rice quickly after cooking it by spreading it over a baking sheet. If the room temperature is high, consider putting the baking tray with the rice in the fridge to lower the temperature.
Once it has cooled, put the cooked rice in a resealable plastic bag or an airtight container, label it with the expected expiry date and place it on the uppermost shelf.
Keeping leftovers on the top shelf allows you to keep track and avoid food wastage through spoilage.
How can you tell if cooked rice has spoiled?
Some people make the rookie mistake of reheating and cooling cooked rice several times. However, this is wrong and could cause severe food poisoning. Rice contains a spore-like bacterium called Bacillus cereus. This temperature change creates a suitable environment for this bacteria to grow in the rice, making it harmful to consume.
It would be best if you never determined whether food has gone bad by tasting it. The best way to tell whether rice is safe for consumption is to test its smell, texture, and appearance.
- Fresh rice is aromatic. So if your rice begins to give off a funky smell, it’s advisable to trash it. A foul odor may be a sign that the rice contains bacteria.
- Freshly cooked rice is moist and sticky. When cooked rice is stored in the fridge longer than recommended, it loses its moisture content, dries up, crumbles, and becomes harsh. Although the smell of the rice may not have changed, it is advisable to toss such rice in the bins to avoid food poisoning.
- When cooked rice stays too long in the refrigerator, bacteria grow because of its high moisture content. As the bacteria multiply, the fermentation process kicks, making the rice develops a slimy texture. This slimy texture should tell you that the rice has gone wrong and should be discarded the right way.
Classic symptoms of food poisoning
Some of the most common symptoms of eating spoilt rice include vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach aches. If you happen to experience food poisoning from spoilt rice consumption, you don’t need to go to the doctor right away.
You can drink plenty of water and then eat a couple of bananas to ease your stomach and bring it back to normalcy. If this does not work, you should seek medical attention right away.