Today, we will be diving into how to properly store rice so that it can stay as fresh as possible, for as long as possible. There are several ways to do this, for both uncooked and cooked rice, to keep your rice moist, delicious, and safe to eat for later consumption. Plus, with proper rice storage, you can even save precious money and time by being able to reheat your rice whenever you need it!
How to Store Uncooked Rice
Did you know that rice can deteriorate, even when uncooked? When rice comes into contact with moisture (its worst enemy), heat, dust, or any other contaminants, it will, in fact, go bad. Moisture can also introduce bacteria, which of course, can cause serious issues. So, how do you make sure that your uncooked rice stays as fresh as possible?
- Buy your rice in small quantities. The less rice you have on hand, the less likely it will be for you to have extra uncooked rice on hand.
- If you do have extra rice on hand, no need to worry! Choose an airtight container that is made from plastic, glass, or metal. You can even use plastic bags – just make sure to press the air out of the bag before sealing.
- Extend the life of your raw rice by refrigerating or freezing it. Hot temperatures can damage your rice grains, and high levels of humidity can introduce moisture. Even if you store your rice in a cool and dark place, high temps in the summer can unknowingly damage your rice. So, when in doubt, refrigerate!
Pro tip: The shelf life of raw rice differs for brown rice. White rice tends to have a longer shelf life, up to 2 years, while brown rice still contains oils that deduct the shelf life to about 6-12 months. One way to know that your brown rice has gone bad is by checking for an unpleasant, almost rancid, smell.
How to Store Cooked RiceSome of you might believe that you can “store” your cooked rice in your rice cooker, as long as it is in “keep warm” mode. This is both true and untrue. We do not recommend that you store your rice in your rice cooker for longer than 12 hours, or 24 hours if your Zojirushi rice cooker has the “Extended Keep Warm” feature. We’ve heard of some people storing rice in their rice cooker for days at a time. Don’t do that! Not only will the flavor of the rice become less pleasant, but moisture will eventually evaporate, leaving you with dry, hard rice. We want you to always be able to enjoy delicious rice, and recommend the following:
- Refrigerate or freeze your leftover rice. Yes, the same trick for storing dry rice applies to cooked rice too! Put your cooked rice in a storage container or wrap tightly in plastic wrap. The USDA recommends cooling rice to 70°F within two hours, then from 70°F to 40°F within the next four hours, and to store rice at 41°F or below.
- Use frozen rice within 6 months. Refrigerated rice should be enjoyed within 5 days. You can use your microwave to reheat rice and dress up your leftover rice in a fried rice dish or salad. Just remember, if you plan to reheat rice, choose a microwave-safe rice storage container to store it in.
Pro tip: Add a tiny bit of water to your leftover rice to reintroduce some moisture and to prevent your rice from drying out when reheating.
Delicious Leftover Rice Recipes
Some recipes are in fact tastier when you use leftover rice, partly because leftover rice tends to be a little drier, and easier to toss in a pan with other ingredients. In fact, did you know that fried rice dishes are often made with leftover rice? Here are some rice dish recipes you can make the next time you find yourself with some leftover rice on hand:
- Artichoke Mixed Brown Rice: Nutritious, delicious, and ready in minutes.
- Tuna Seafood Pilaf: A Japanese style pilaf that you can whip up with just a few ingredients.
- Kimchi Fried Rice: One of the best ways to use leftover rice is fried rice!
Did you learn anything new about how to store rice today? How do you plan on using your leftover rice? Make sure to share your thoughts, comments, and questions with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan