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Walk over to your kitchen and open the fridge. Do you see yesterday’s leftover rice sitting there, waiting for some TLC? Are you even sure it’s there from yesterday? Because I’m not!
None of us like the thought of wasting food so we stash it away in the fridge, partially consumed, waiting and hoping that it might all of a sudden become appealing when we’re ready to go back for those last few bites.
Everything has a different shelf life and that can make keeping up with fridge cleaning duties really difficult. Rice especially is used nowadays as a carb for almost every dish, making it even more important to understand the do’s and don’ts with this staple.
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Cool Things to Know About Rice
- Rice was first cooked up in China. Surprise surprise! We wouldn’t recognize our favorite Chinese takeaway without the rice.
- It is in fact the oldest known food on our planet, and it hasn’t gone out of fashion yet.
- Don’t forget to celebrate on the 19th of April. That’s national rice day, so enjoy a hearty home-cooked curry or at your local sushi restaurant.
- Rice is used to make rice wine, vinegar, and beer.
- These days we throw confetti over newlyweds, but not so long ago it was rice that was commonly thrown over the lucky couple.
- The city of Nanjing in China holds a secret: Rice was used to help build the walls in the city. Who would have thought it?
- Only Antarctica doesn’t grow rice plants. Every single other continent on Earth does.
- Anyone suffering from high cholesterol should eat more rice as it contains no cholesterol at all.
- The uncooked white rice in your pantry will be good for well over 10 years. So stock up as much as you like risk-free.
Have you heard anything like it? Walls made of rice. Rice in your beer and a whole day dedicated to celebrating rice. But you may be more interested to find out how long you should keep it once cooked?
This is a very important question you are asking as rice is one of the most tricky foods to keep fresh for a number of reasons. Firstly rice contains Arsenic, which is in fact toxic. Arsenic can not be avoided as it is in all of the elements. It’s in the air, ground, and water and because of this, it’s inevitable that some foods will absorb the substance as their plant grows.
Washing your rice before cooking it and making sure it is cooked through neutralizes any chemicals. In fact, cooking the rice with more water will remove almost all of the arsenic, try cooking it with double the usual water and draining the excess. So as you can see there is no need to worry, but do make sure you are preparing rice properly.
Once the rice is cooked it must be refrigerated almost immediately. Let the rice cool completely before refrigerating, this usually takes about an hour or so. Not popping it in the fridge straight away can cause food poisoning.
Practice cooking rice to your liking and make it at home instead of ordering from a takeaway joint that you haven’t been to before. You can parboil rice too, for a healthier option.
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How to Store Cooked Rice for Later
Before we can talk about how long rice can be kept once cooked, let’s look at how to safely store cooked rice now that we know it can be a little dangerous if not done well.
Here are some tips and tricks to keep your rice fresh and problem-free. After all, we don’t want to be cooking one portion of rice every time you fancy having some. That would be ridiculous.
- Cool within an hour or so (as mentioned previously)
- Move to an airtight container. Although food being stored in the fridge is usually safe, the food still needs to be stored in a sealed tight container.
- Place rice in a freezer bag and throw it in the freezer. Frozen cooked rice can be kept for three months.
Once you have cooked and prepared the rice as instructed to the best of your abilities (Because let’s face it, we go with the flow of life and things happen, we can’t watch over the rice with a one-hour timer waiting for it to cool) and stored it well you can keep it for about two days.
Two days is the ideal for the rice to be left uneaten once cooked for a lot more reasons than hygiene too. Your rice is tastiest on the day of cooking and is perfect for your intended meal.
The next day rice is best used to make fried rice as it is slightly firmer there for making its texture ideal for frying. Any more than that and the rice builds up to an unhealthy number of bacteria and is best to be thrown away.
I know, I know, it’s hard-throwing out food. Think of it this way, if you plan your meals two days in advance every time then you prevent wasting food and the headache of thinking of a menu for yourself and your family on the spot.
Not all food needs to be thrown out after only two days in the fridge, that would be criminal. But rice does and there isn’t much we can do about like to cook in the right proportions for what we really need.
Top tip: One cup of rice is enough for 2 adult portions or 3-4 kiddie portions.
It might take a few goes making enough rice just for two days, especially if you are a feeder and like there to be plenty for everyone, but you will get the hang of it. At least rice only takes about 10 minutes to rustle up if you do run out during your dinner party.
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If friends ask why you have to make more, impress them with your new-found rice knowledge. They might even start referring to you as ‘The Rice Guru’ … yeah, I think that would catch on rather nicely.