‘Correct’ method to store cooked rice to keep it fresh and avoid food poisoning

Gordon Ramsay explains how to cook basmati rice ‘perfectly’

Enjoyed as a main dish, side dish and even in sweet treats, rice is known to be a staple food valued across the globe, simply for its taste, versatility, availability, and affordability. 

Cooked rice needs to be stored and reheated properly as it contains Bacillus cereus spores, which can survive boiling temperatures.

If the rice is cooled too slowly after cooking or left at room temperature for too long, bacteria can develop from the spores, releasing toxins that can cause food poisoning – and these toxins won’t be destroyed by reheating.

To help store and reheat rice “correctly”, rice experts at Tilda have shared their top tips on how to do this.

They said: “It’s important that rice, whether it’s dry or steamed, is stored in a cool dry place. 

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“Once rice has cooked and cooled down it must be stored it in an airtight container to retain its freshness and aroma and avoid food poisoning.”

How to store rice

The experts claimed that there are three “simple steps” households must follow when storing leftover rice.

The first step is to let it cool down. As cooked rice is moist, it is a “breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria”. With this in mind, it’s important that you “cool rice fully” before preparing it for storage.

Once cool, place the rice in an airtight container or a zipped plastic bag, ensuring that all air is removed before sealing, and put it in the fridge.

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When ready to eat the rice, make sure to reheat it with a little water to help loosen the dried grains. 

As a general rule of thumb, households should “reheat the rice for 30 seconds”, stir and repeat if needed.

How to freeze rice

Many people don’t realise they can also freeze cooked rice. So, for those who have cooked too much, simply pop it in the freezer and use it in the future for a range of different dishes. 

To freeze cooked rice, make sure the rice is fully cooled before freezing it. Once the rice is completely cold, transfer it into freezer bags and flatten the rice as much as possible so that it can be sealed tightly and easily stored.

Label and date the rice so you know how long it’s been kept in the freezer as “rice can be frozen safely for up to one month”.

How to reheat rice

Ideally, rice is best served as soon as it has been cooked. However, if that isn’t possible, households can reheat rice as long as they do so safely

To reheat rice, cool the rice as quickly as possible, ideally within one hour, and keep it in the fridge until ready to reheat it.

Store the rice in the fridge for no more than two days before reheating. When reheating rice, make sure it is “steaming hot all the way through and “do not reheat rice more than once”.

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