Did you know that rice is a global staple food?
People around the world enjoy rice dishes, both delicious and a nutritious addition to any dish.
But many people struggle with storing rice and are uncertain if it really does go bad.
Like its carb-sister pasta, rice is available in different varieties based on color, grain, texture, and taste. Rice is enjoyed worldwide by billions due to its high-calorie content, longer shelf-life, and low cost.
But here’s the deal.
Not all the different varieties like wild, white, jasmine, brown, Basmati, and Arborio rice are created similarly, which is why various types have a different shelf life.
And are you storing cooked or uncooked rice? That also changes how you identify rice spoilage.
So how long does rice last? Read on.
The Shelf Life Of Cooked and Uncooked Rice
The shelf life of all types of rice chiefly depends on how you store it. Many people prefer to cook rice in bulk beforehand and freeze or refrigerate it since rice takes a little longer to cook.
This triggers many questions, such as whether to freeze cooked rice or uncooked rice, how to thaw frozen rice, and how long does cooked rice last in the fridge.
Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered – keep reading.
It’s a known fact: uncooked rice has an indefinite shelf life regardless of where you store it— in the pantry or the fridge. All the different varieties of rice could be stored for an infinite amount of time except for:
Brown rice, yes, that’s right!
Comparatively, uncooked brown rice lasts for less time than white rice. It can last up to 3-6 months in the pantry, 6-12 months in the fridge, and 12-18 months in the freezer. But why is that so?
Brown rice naturally has higher oil content, which amounts to its shorter lifespan than the other kinds of rice.
However, the shelf life of all kinds of rice can be extended if they are kept free from contaminants. Uncooked rice can be refrigerated or stored in a cool, dry place to keep them fresh.
It is fairly impossible to keep cooked rice fresh during hot and humid days since microbes and bacteria rapidly grow in warm temperatures.
Cooked rice can last for 4-6 days in the fridge and up to 6 months in the freezer. However, cooked brown rice can only last for 3-5 days in the fridge and two months in the freezer.
Although cooked rice starts to worsen with days when stored in the freezer, it is advisable to consume it within a few months. It’s always a safe option to transfer freshly cooked rice into the fridge once it has cooled down.
How To Tell If Rice Has Gone Bad
It’s pretty easy to tell if the rice has gone bad when it comes to uncooked rice. One can tell by simply looking. In the case of spoilage, traces of molds and bugs will be visible, with a distinct funny smell.
It’s fine to throw away rice that has developed a weird odor since nobody likes to eat rice that smells. Some rice also develops rice weevils, which are tiny red-colored bugs that live inside the grain. If you see this, your rice is definitely ready for the bin.
When it comes to cooked rice, traces of food spoilage are relatively easy to spot. Cooked rice, especially boiled rice, starts to develop a slimy texture and a funny odor. Molds or discoloration are also visible when cooked rice is ready to go.
To Freeze Or Not To Freeze?
Both uncooked and cooked rice can be stored and put away in the freezer. Usually, uncooked rice does not need to be stored in the freezer, but it can help elongate its shelf life.
Well, you might be wondering, what’s the best way to freeze white or brown rice?
Freezing cooked rice is not much of a big deal. The process will hardly take a few minutes. You need to:
- Ensure that the rice has cooled down completely.
- Distribute the rice into small meal-sized portions.
- Put the portions into freezer bags, or you can also use airtight meal prep containers.
- Make sure to remove excess air from the freezer bags before sealing.
- Add labels or dates.
- Put them into the freezer.
Freezer bags are the ideal choice for freezing uncooked rice for a more extended amount of time.
How To Thaw Frozen Rice
The best way to thaw frozen rice is by using a microwave oven. Simply defrost the rice on low power for a few minutes. Keep checking on the rice from minute to minute. Once the rice is completely defrosted, add a few tablespoons of water to it and put it on high power for a minute or two.
The same method can be done using a non-stick pan. Thaw the rice similarly on low heat – turn the heat to medium once the rice is defrosted.
Storage Tips To Keep Rice Fresh At Home
A few smart storage techniques can maximize the shelf life of cooked and uncooked rice. Following are some of the ways you can keep your rice as fresh as possible.
Tips For Cooked Rice:
- Transfer freshly cooked rice in air-tight containers once it’s cooled off.
- Reheat the refrigerated rice with a sprinkling of water in the microwave.
- Put back the containers in the fridge right away after taking out a portion.
- Use Freezer bags to store the rice in the freezer for an extended amount of time.
- Don’t add water abundantly when cooking rice. Soggier rice has higher chances of getting spoiled quickly.
- Wash rice thoroughly before cooking to remove excess starch.
Tips For Uncooked Rice:
- Remove all air from the freezer bag before sealing it and putting it in the freezer.
- Make sure not to freeze rice for more than three months to avoid freezer bum, which makes the rice to become dry and hard.
- Put the grains in an airtight jar and keep it in a cool, dry place in your pantry.
- What if the packet is already open? That is perfectly fine. Just transfer the remaining contents in a sealed and airtight container.
So What’s The Bottom Line?
One needs to be mindful when storing rice at home.
Sure, no one likes to open the fridge to find slimy and oddly smelling rice bowls or a pantry reeking of weevil-ridden rice!
Rice can be easily kept fresh and wholesome by following a few helpful tips and tricks. It is necessary to store rice in airtight containers to protect them from external factors.