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How to Tell if Cooked Rice Is Bad?


Cooked rice is a staple that has been boiled and steamed with water and heat. Maybe leftover cooked rice is no longer strange for most of people, you can store it at room temperature and also a refrigerator or freezer to keep it last longer. Stir-frying or reheating leftover rice to use later is not a bad idea but how will it be if the leftover rice turns bad? Moreover, how can you recognize and avoid a bowl of spoiled cooked rice and how long can you eat rice after cooking? But before I give you some tips, there is some information about storage methods that I think you should know.

If you use a fridge to store cooked rice, the precise number is 6 days and can reach up to 6 months in a freezer to lengthen the leftover shelf life. However, without cooling appliances, your leftover cooked rice can last for only 2 hours for the best quality in taste and texture. It is also the perfect time for spores inside cannot transform into bacteria and cause food poisoning.

An airtight container, aluminum foil or reusable plastic bag are some good things which can guarantee a longer storage lifetime and better food quality.

Though even you store the leftover in the right way, it still gets spoil in some way, so how to recognize it easily? How to tell if cooked rice is bad? Here are some tips that will answer your question.

#1 The leftover turns super hard and dry in texture

This visual sign illustrates that leftover rice will dry out more day by day even you leave it at room temperature or cooling equipment. When it reaches its limit of hardness or dryness and you feel even it is reheated, the moisture might be not restored again, so instead of keeping eating, the only thing you need to do is throw it away. I think your house should keep some airtight containers indoors because they will reduce the ability of super hard and dry leftover rice.

#2 The cooked rice is left unrefrigerated for too long

Many science articles show if you cool down food and then thaw them at room temperature or in cold water, especially from 40 to 140 degrees F in a very long time, food spoilage seems to happen more easily. The word “too long” here means it is not longer than 2 hours – the perfect time for storing at room temperature as I’ve said above.

#3 The cooked rice is cooled and then heated many times

I know you want to maximize the shelf life of the leftover rice as long as possible but could you imagine the quality of it will be worse when it’s storage environment is changed continuously? Leftover cooked rice has to face up with the transformation from a low temperature in a fridge to a higher one that contributes to the faster expansion of bacteria.

#4 The cooked rice has an unpleasant smell

If there is an unpleasant smell such as moldy or musty, it must be the best sign to toss it right away. Leftover rice is stored in a wrong way or over time, this ability obviously cannot keep the original taste of your food, moreover, you can also get food poisoning. Therefore, the proper storage method is so important that decide the shelf life of any leftover food, do not forget. For more proper storage methods, you can go and check here.

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