Table of Contents
- Food Storage – How long can you keep…
- How Long Does Cooked Rice Last in the Fridge? We Have Answers.
- What Is Cooked Rice Anyway?
- Does Cooked Rice Go Bad? How Long Does Cooked Rice Last?
- How Long Does Cooked Rice Last in the Fridge?
- How to Tell If the Cooked Rice Has Gone Bad?
- How to Store Cooked Rice Properly?
- Final Thoughts
- Is it safe to reheat rice?
- Love Your Leftovers
- Store And Handle Food Properly
- How to Store and Handle Food Properly at Home
- Cooked Food
- Dairy Products
- Dried And Preserved Food
- Fruits And Vegetables
- Food Storage Chart
- Expiry Dates
- More Tips for Individuals and Households
- Do You Know Which Fridge Shelves You Should Store Your Food On?
- How to Store Food in a Fridge:
- Food Hygiene Tips for Your Fridge
- General Rules of Refrigeration
- WATCH: This Is The Proper Way to Store Leftover Rice
- Storing cooked rice in the refrigerator
- Storing cooked rice in the freezer
- Know the rules
- Understand your food
- Top-rated fridge freezers
- Leftover rice could make you sick if you don’t do this one thing
- Shelf Talk
- The foods you need to be EXTRA careful with
Food Storage – How long can you keep…
- How long does cooked white rice last? The precise answer to that question depends to a large extent on storage conditions – refrigerate rice within two hours of cooking.
- To maximize the shelf life of cooked white rice, refrigerate in covered airtight containers or resealable plastic bags.
- How long does cooked white rice last in the refrigerator? Properly stored, cooked white rice will last for 4 to 6 days in the refrigerator.
- How long can cooked white rice be left out at room temperature? Cooked white rice should be discarded if left out for more than 2 hours at room temperature, as bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F.
- To further extend the shelf life of cooked white rice, freeze it; freeze rice in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.
- How long does cooked white rice last in the freezer? Properly stored, it will maintain best quality for 6 months, but will remain safe beyond that time.
- The freezer time shown is for best quality only – cooked white rice that has been kept constantly frozen at 0°F will keep safe indefinitely.
- How to tell if cooked white rice is bad? The best way is to smell and look at the rice; discard any rice with an off smell or appearance, do not taste the cooked rice first.
Sources: For details about data sources used for food storage information, please
How Long Does Cooked Rice Last in the Fridge? We Have Answers.
Rice is a staple in many countries and cultures. It is also a basic when it comes to cooking. Any meal can become an extremely filling one when it’s served with a side of boiled or cooked rice.
If you’ve just started living alone, you really should know how to cook rice. You can fill your stomach and laze around when you’ve got this kitchen staple down.
The trouble with cooked rice is that we usually have some left over. In that case, many of you may wonder just how long those fluffy white or brown grains might last. We’re here to discuss just that question!
What Is Cooked Rice Anyway?
Cooked rice is just rice that’s been boiled, steamed, or otherwise had some sort of contact with water and heat. There’s no one way to cook rice or, rather, no single correct way to do it.
You can boil rice with a few cups of water and add salt to give it that soft texture. Some recipes may call for rice to be half boiled and then steamed with a vegetable or meat mixture. Then, of course, we have our garlic rice, brown rice, or rice mixed with beans. Whichever way you look at it, rice is sure to get your mouth watering before long.
When we have cooked rice ready for eating, we usually serve it with some sort of savory dish. This could be chicken curry, grilled/baked fish, or lentils. Of course, there are several other varieties depending on which country and culture you’re operating in.
In China, for instance, rice is usually a meal in itself. It may be flavored with seasonings or seeds, but it is generally rolled and eaten with chopsticks. In another part of the world such as India, rice can be made into sweet puddings and even fried crackers.
Cooked rice is also used in stir-fries. Additionally, you can use it as sushi filling. Come to think of it, there are several cultures that have rice as the basis of their dishes. Mexican, Filipino, Indian, Chinese and Japanese cuisines are the most common examples of these.
Using leftover rice could also become a means for experimentation on an individual basis. We all know that one person with impossibly weird tastes. For instance, someone may like to squeeze lemon juice on leftover boiled rice and sprinkle sugar on top for a unique dessert.
Does Cooked Rice Go Bad? How Long Does Cooked Rice Last?
One wouldn’t think that plain cooked rice could go bad, but the sad truth is that it definitely does. The result of eating bad rice could be very dangerous and really make you sick. Therefore, you should take precautions to make sure no food is left out for too long, not even rice.
According to the Business Insider, leftover rice needs to be stored properly in order to avoid getting sick after consuming it. The cooked rice should not be left at room temperature for a long time, 2 hours to be exact. If this occurs, it can cause spores to change into bacteria.
This bacterium isn’t of the friendly kind, so don’t think you’ve grown penicillin with your rice! No, this is the harmful kind of bacteria which could even give you food poisoning. The spores of these bacteria grow large families of their own, which could end up giving you a deadly virus.
All this means that you need to store your rice as soon as you can. Once it has stopped steaming, it’s ready for popping in the fridge.
When it comes to reheating, life and rice both give a multitude of problems. Sure, you may love the taste of reheated rice from the frying pan, pot, or microwave, but this rice would likely not love you.
In order to avoid this dangerous relationship, be sure to store the rice correctly after it’s cooked for the first time. You actually need to cool down your rice and store it within an hour after it’s fully cooked.
Then you can enjoy a delicious, steaming hot meal (make sure it is hot through and through!) for two consecutive days.
How Long Does Cooked Rice Last in the Fridge?
The short answer is 4 to 6 days in the fridge. In order to maximize the cooked rice’s shelf life, make sure to cover cooked rice in an airtight containers or reseable plastic bags.
You might have a bunch of cooked rice on hand and are wondering just how long you can keep it without it going bad. You want to look forward to stir-fried rice but are worried about getting your insides in uncomfortable twists.
There should be nothing to fear, though, as some expert websites and individuals have had the very same dilemma.
Peter Pudaite, a food expert as a chef and restaurant owner, said cooked rice might not be so difficult to keep from going bad. It doesn’t have much protein in it, so the food-poisoning kind of bacteria wouldn’t be there in the initial stages of storage.
However, he does go on to say that the longer cooked rice stays in the fridge, the more harmful bacteria would grow on it. This is in addition to the deteriorating quality and taste of fridge-stored rice. We’re sure you wouldn’t want dry, unappetizing rice for any meal whatsoever.
How to Tell If the Cooked Rice Has Gone Bad?
Most of us are lucky enough to have been blessed with the five basic senses. These senses are more than enough to let you know if that fluffy pile of brown or white rice has gone bad.
If rice goes bad, you have to toss it. You could compost it or feed it to the birds for a less wasteful last resort, though. And the next time you cook rice, make a little less. It doesn’t take long to boil a new small batch if you find yourself running out.
Kelli Foster, a writer well-known about the kitchen niche, has penned down some signs of bad rice that you should pay heed to. First, you should simply smell the rice. If it smells bad, it would taste bad and do bad things to your stomach. Time to recycle it!
You may not be able to remember how long that rice has been in the fridge. If it’s more than four days, it’s probably best to let it go. Its hardness and dryness would be more telltale signs of spoilage. In order to lower this risk, Foster recommends storing rice in an airtight jar or box in the fridge.
If the rice was left out of the fridge altogether, you should try to remember how long it’s been at room temperature. If the time has been more than one or two hours, it’s safest to find another use for the rice rather than consuming it.
Also, be wary of rice that has been cooled, heated, then cooled and heated again, and so on. This creates a playground for bacteria instead of killing it. Thus, if you’re a busy person, only reheat rice when you’re absolutely sure of eating it right away.
How to Store Cooked Rice Properly?
Once your rice has been cooked properly, a Huffington Post writer says that it should be left until it doesn’t steam anymore. You can try storing the rice a little to let all the steam out. This would make sure that there is no excess moisture in the rice which could give rise to bacteria.
Once the rice is around 5 degrees centigrade, it can be safely kept in the fridge for as many as three days. In our humble opinion, this is more than enough time to utilize this rice for making your meals filling and delicious.
Again, this opinion is just the input of one expert on the subject. Rice storage may actually depend on several conditions. If the temperature in the fridge is too high and the climate is humid, rice may not even make it to the next day.
A food blogger at Just One Cookbook has given some valuable tips on how to store rice perfectly. She recommends freezing rice as the best way to maintain its taste and freshness. For this, you would have to pack steaming rice in an airtight box and shut it tightly at once. This would trap moisture inside the rice.
Wait until the containers cool down to room temperature. You can now store the rice in the freezer for around a month. You can store the rice in small portions and take out one or two containers every day. This would enable you to have fresh rice whenever you feel like it!
It is best if the airtight containers have a steam vent in the lid. This way, you could open the vent and simply microwave the container when you want some fresh rice within minutes.
A little knowledge can make life a lot easier. The next time you have to store cooked rice, you know exactly what to do. This way, you would stay safe and be sure to enjoy your rice as much as possible. You can also gauge just how convenient rice can be for you.
Now that you have this info, you can go crazy with your leftover rice. If you’re a huge fan of rice, you may want to cook and store it in large batches. Then go to town and have rice with chicken and vegetables or whip up some yummilicious desserts!
Is it safe to reheat rice?
Share on PinterestIf a person follows food safety guidelines, they can reheat rice without risk.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) outline the safest ways to cook, store, and reheat food, including rice, properly.
Each of the following steps will ensure that reheated rice has a low risk of making people sick:
1. Wash hands well
Always wash hands thoroughly before preparing and cooking food. Keep utensils that have touched raw animal products separate.
2. Cook the rice properly
When cooking rice, make sure that it reaches a high temperature. Keep it out of the danger zone — between 40°F and 140°F — where bacteria grow rapidly.
Serve rice immediately after cooking.
3. Cool the leftovers quickly
To further reduce bacteria growth, cool food quickly by:
- Dividing the food into shallow food containers and sealing them with a lid.
- Placing hot food directly into the fridge or freezer. Risottos or paellas will freeze better than plain rice.
- Do not leave rice or any hot food sitting out for more than 1 hour.
4. Store leftovers properly
The USDA recommend only storing leftovers for set periods:
- Dispose of fridge leftovers after 3 to 4 days.
- Dispose of freezer leftovers after 3 to 4 months.
Store foods at a safe temperature. According to the USDA, room temperature is 90°F, which is the ideal temperature for bacteria to grow. Bacteria grow rapidly between 40°F and 140°F.
- Store foods at 40°F and below. Make sure the fridge is at this temperature or lower.
- Throw away any leftovers kept at room temperature for over 2 hours.
When reheating rice, make sure it is piping hot throughout.
To microwave leftover rice:
- Open the storage container and remove the lid. For each cup of rice, add 1–2 tablespoons of water. Place the lid lightly back on top to allow the rice to re-steam.
- Place in the microwave and heat for 3–4 minutes, or until piping hot throughout.
- Make sure the internal temperature of the rice is at 165°F or higher. If unsure, use a food thermometer.
- Serve immediately.
To stir-fry leftover rice:
- Place the rice in a wok or sauté pan with your choice of oil.
- Turn the stove to medium heat, stirring the rice continuously. Make sure to break up the clumps of rice.
- Stir continuously to cover the rice evenly in oil.
- Use a thermometer to make sure internal temperature is at least 165°F.
- Serve immediately when piping hot.
To steam leftover rice:
- Place the rice in a saucepan with 1–2 tablespoons of butter or oil.
- Add 1–2 tablespoons of water for each cup of rice and bring to a simmer. Keep the lid on the saucepan.
- Stir occasionally. Once the water has boiled off, check that the internal temperature is above 165°F.
- Serve immediately if piping hot.
It is safe to eat the rice cold as long as it has been cooled and stored correctly. Do not leave reheated rice sitting on the counter.
Following these steps will reduce the risk of food poisoning. Do not reheat the rice more than once as this further increase the risk of food poisoning.
Love Your Leftovers
Randy Mayor; Cooking Light
To avoid food-borne illness, follow these tips for proper storage of leftovers and other previously-cooked foods.
• Refrigerate foods quickly because cold temperatures keep most harmful bacteria from growing and multiplying. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food and leftovers within two hours. Foods left out longer should be discarded.
• Divide large amounts of leftovers into small, shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator.
• With poultry and other stuffed meats, remove the stuffing and refrigerate it in a separate container.
• Place hot foods directly into the refrigerator or freezer, but don’t overload the container. Cool air needs to circulate to keep food safe.
• Use refrigerated leftovers within three to four days. Freeze quantities that can’t be used by then. Since bacteria can’t grow at freezer temperatures, food is generally safe while frozen, but you’ll need to use the frozen foods in a reasonable length of time for best quality.
• Reheat leftovers thoroughly to a temperature of 165 °F or until hot and steaming. Soups and gravies should be brought to a rolling boil.
• If you are reheating leftovers in the microwave, use only microwave-safe dishes. Remove food from plastic wrap, Styrofoam and/or freezer containers.
• When reheating in the microwave turn the dish midway through cooking, reposition it on rotating table, rearrange or stir food, and turn large food items over.
• Allow food to stand after microwaving because the food will continue to cook after the microwave is off.
Store And Handle Food Properly
By Save Food Cut Waste
Way Ling Wiesser is a foodie enthusiast and the Ambassador for the Singapore Food Revolution, a voluntary arm of the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation. When she was younger, her dad (now, a retired chef) cooked really big meals of multiple dishes, traditional Chinese style, and there was always too much food so the family were used to storing leftovers and finishing off the following day.
Now that she is a mother of two, Way has become more conscientious about leftovers and she will always try to finish everything before making a fresh meal. She’s also cooking smaller portions in order to minimise the need for storing leftovers. Way believes that food needs to be stored properly to maintain freshness at all times, particularly in Singapore where the humidity is so high.
She shares her storage tips for food:
I store cheese in a separate box so that the smells don’t invade the rest of the fridge. For deli items such as shaved ham, I change the supermarket paper that it comes wrapped in – I use baking paper and this maintains the freshness of the deli meat – if I leave it in the supermarket paper, it goes off in about 1 day. I also use a special fruit and vegetable cushion in the fridge to prolong shelf life and prevent bruising of my fresh produce.
For all leftovers, I store them in a mixture of glass and plastic containers in the fridge – I always leave everything to cool completely before closing the lids and placing in the fridge.
Everything is always covered well, even if it’s only going in for an hour or so.
I have a lot of different sizes of storage containers and find that the really small ones are very useful for tiny leftovers. My favourite tip is to save any leftover wine in small containers – perfect for quick defrosting and adding into a pasta sauce! I also need big containers as I like to bake and cakes and muffins have to be stored in the fridge here in Singapore.
Store and handle your food properly at home to help you keep food longer without spoilage, and thus reduce food wastage.
How to Store and Handle Food Properly at Home
Having proper storage and handling of food at home not only helps you ensure food safety, it also helps you keep food longer without spoilage, and thus reduce food wastage.
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) is in-charge of food safety, and has published several tips and resources on proper storage and handling of food at home.
One tip on food handling is to separate raw food from cooked food. Raw food can contain micro-organisms that cause foodborne diseases, and when raw food is mixed with cooked food, the micro-organisms may be transferred to the cooked food and cause cross-contamination.
Another tip is to keep food at safe temperatures, which means keeping hot food above 60°C and cold food below 5°C. This would reduce the spread of bacteria, as bacteria multiply quickly in the temperature danger zone between 5°C to 60°C.
Here’s more tips from AVA on handling and storing the different food groups:
- Cook only sufficient amounts for immediate serving.
- Portion out excess cooked food after cooking and refrigerate quickly.
- All cooked food should be refrigerated or frozen within 2 hours after cooking.
- Store cooked food in a clean, shallow container.
- Use shallow containers and leave sufficient air space around the food to promote rapid and even cooling. Cooked food stored in large, deep containers remain warm for a longer time. Dangerous bacteria may grow in this warm spot which can lead to food poisoning if consumed.
- When freezing cooked food, make sure they are wrapped tightly.
- Keep your refrigerator uncluttered so that air can circulate and cool food properly.
- Do not refreeze frozen food that have been thawed.
- As a general rule, do not keep cooked food for more than 4 days.
- Label and date food before storing them. This eliminates questions as to the age of the food.
- Take out only what you need to consume and return the unused portion to the refrigerator or freezer immediately.
- Do not leave dairy products at room temperature.
- Read the storage instructions on the label and keep the dairy products at the correct storage condition.
- Dairy products that can be kept at room temperature should be stored in a cool, dry place. Avoid storage under extreme heat or direct sunlight.
- Ensure that there is sufficient space in between items placed in the refrigerator or freezer so that cold air can circulate freely.
- Pasteurized milk should be kept refrigerated.
- Once a can of condensed or evaporated milk is opened, transfer its contents into a non-metallic container, cover tightly and refrigerate.
- Store butter and cheese in their original packaging in a covered non-metallic container and keep them refrigerated.
Dried And Preserved Food
- Inspect dried and preserved food regularly for insect infestations, mouldiness and other signs of spoilage.
- Store unopened dried and preserved food in a cool and dry place, away from heat or direct sunlight.
- Dried and preserved food that are to be kept for extended periods of time should be stored in packaging that does not allow air or water vapor into the package to prevent rancidity or growth of moulds.
- Once a pre-packed dried and preserved food is opened, transfer the unused portion to air-tight containers and keep them in the refrigerator to maintain their quality.
- Do not overstock your food supplies. Rotate your supplies of dried and preserved food by using the oldest first – follow the rule of first in / first out.
Fruits And Vegetables
- Remove the soiled portions of vegetables, cut off the base and wash away any residual soil in a basin of tap water.
- Soak the vegetables in fresh tap water for 15 minutes. Special detergents or washes are not needed.
- For harder items like potatoes, scrub the skin gently with a brush to get rid of any dirt.
- Store fruits (except banana) and vegetables in the refrigerator as soon as possible.
- Do not mix fruits with vegetables in the same storage compartment as fruits produce ethylene gas during their ripening process.
- Pack vegetables in plastic bags or containers before storing them in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator.
- Store hardy root vegetables and raw fruits that need ripening at room temperature.
- Separate raw meat from cooked or ready-to-eat food to prevent cross-contamination.
- For frozen meat, thaw only the amount you need.
- Thaw frozen meat safely in the refrigerator or use the microwave oven.
- Chilled and thawed meat should be placed in the refrigerator if not cooked immediately.
- Do not leave chilled or thawed meat at room temperature for more than 2 hours as bacteria will rapidly multiply.
- Do not refreeze meat that has been completely thawed.
- Follow the recommended safe handling and storage information on the packages, if any.
- Ensure that there is sufficient space in between items placed in the refrigerator or freezer so that cold air can circulate freely around them.
- Do not open refrigerator or freezer doors more often than necessary to avoid temperature fluctuation.
- If you need to freeze the meat, divide into portions based on your normal serving size.
- When storing or thawing meat in the refrigerator, place the meat in containers or trays to prevent the meat juices from contaminating other food.
- Prepared meat such as minced meat or meat cubes have shorter storage time.
- Do not overstock your meat supply. Follow the rule of first in / first out, i.e. use older stock first.
- Handle seafood with care. Bruises and punctures in seafood make them spoil more rapidly.
- Thaw seafood safely in the refrigerator or use the microwave oven.
- Separate raw seafood from cooked or ready-to-eat food to avoid cross-contamination.
- Cook seafood well to kill viruses and bacteria.
- Follow the recommended safe handling and storage information on the packages, if any.
- Wash and dry fresh seafood before placing them in clean plastic bags or containers for storage.
- If you need to freeze the seafood, divide into portions based on your normal serving size.
- Ensure that there is sufficient space in between items placed in the refrigerator or freezer so that cold air can circulate freely.
- Do not open refrigerator or freezer doors more often than necessary to avoid temperature fluctuation.
- When storing or thawing seafood in the refrigerator, place the seafood in containers or trays to prevent the juices from contaminating other food.
- Do not re-freeze seafood that has been completely thawed.
- Do not overstock your seafood supply. Follow the rule of first in / first out, i.e. use older stock first.
- Store live oysters, clams and mussels in the refrigerator. Keep them damp. Do not place them on ice, or let them come into contact with fresh water. Do not place them in airtight containers.
- Wash and refrigerate freshly shucked oysters, scallops and clams in separate containers. For best quality, they should be eaten immediately.
Food Storage Chart
If you’re not sure how long to keep your food in the refrigerator or freezer, here’s some guidelines on food storage from AVA:
According to “A Guide to Food Labelling and Advertisements“, AVA requires prepacked foods to be labelled with their expiry dates, which refers to the date after which the food may not retain its normal nature and quality.
The expiry date should be labelled using words such as “USE BY”, “SELL BY”, “EXPIRY DATE”, “BEST BEFORE” or other words of similar meaning. The storage direction of the food must also be stated on the label or package when the validity of the date is dependent on its storage, for example: “BEST BEFORE: 31 Dec 2012. Store in a cool, dry place.”
Should you throw away food after its expiry date?
AVA advises (via email correspondence) that:
Date-marking, by no means an absolute cut-off identifying unsafe food or inedible food. Nevertheless, AVA discourages consumers from consuming food products after expiry dates. For consumers who decide to consume food products after expiry dates, it is paramount that they can recognise characteristic of spoiled or unsafe food. If in doubt, consumers shall check with the food manufacturers or the retailers.
Love Food Hate Waste in the UK advises the following:
Best Before – These dates refer to quality rather than food safety. Foods with a ‘best before’ date should be safe to eat after the ‘best before’ date, but they may no longer be at their best.
Use-by – These dates refer to safety. Food can be eaten up to the end of this date but not after even if it looks and smells fine. Always follow the storage instructions on packs.
Display Until & Sell By – You can ignore these dates as they are for shop staff not for shoppers.
Start today to store and handle your food properly at home. This would help you ensure food safety, keep food longer without spoilage, and reduce food wastage.
Images credit: Way Ling Wiesser – Proper Food Storage, Way Ling Wiesser; Plate with Chinese food. by dimailer; Cheese by designkryt; Mushrooms by davidlat; Fresh Veggies by 1876; Diced Meat by neil2580; shrimps3 by Filou; Food Storage Chart by AVA
Source credit: Food Safety Education by AVA; A Guide to Food Labelling and Advertisements by AVA; Date labels – Infographic by Love Food Hate Waste
Interview credit: Way Ling Wiesser
More Tips for Individuals and Households
- Grow and Buy
- Learn About Food Sources
- Grow Your Own Food
- Plan What To Buy
- Cook and Eat
- Store And Handle Food Properly
- Cook And Order Just Enough
- Cook Your Leftover Food
- Give and Recycle
- Start Food Composting
- Make Garbage Enzyme
Do You Know Which Fridge Shelves You Should Store Your Food On?
Knowing where in the fridge to store your food is a question that many people wish they knew the answer to. Refrigerating your food correctly is important to ensure that your food remains safe to eat and stop harmful bacteria spreading for raw to ready-to-eat foods. But what goes where?
How to Store Food in a Fridge:
(Please note that the diagram below was created for the purposes of a domestic fridge, with the bottom shelf being a vegetable drawer).
Top and middle shelf
Ready-to-eat foods, such as dairy products, ready meals and packaged foods, leftovers, cooked meats and prepared salads. These should all be covered or kept in sealed containers to prevent contamination. Ready-to-eat foods are stored at the top of the fridge, away from raw foods so that harmful bacteria cannot transfer from the raw food to the cooked food.
Raw meat, poultry and fish in sealed containers to stop them touching or dripping onto other foods. Raw meats should always be stored at the bottom of your fridge to prevent cross-contamination. Ensure that each item is wrapped or in a sealed container so that it doesn’t come into contact with other foods.
Fruit, vegetables and salad vegetables that have been washed prior to storage. Make sure that your fruit, vegetables and salad are wrapped in paper or plastic with air holes to keep them protected from any contamination. For salads and herbs, try wrapping them in a damp paper towel before storing to prevent them from drying out and to keep them fresher for longer.
Have you seen our latest report examining regional standards of food hygiene across the UK? Check out our interactive map and discover how hygienic your hometown really is in Food Hygiene: Know the Score.
Food Hygiene Tips for Your Fridge
Remember that your fridge should be set at a temperature between 0-5°c so that the rate of food spoilage is slowed and harmful bacteria cannot multiply. At this temperature, your food will be kept safe to eat.
Also remember to keep an eye on use-by dates. Any food that has passed its use-by date should not be eaten as harmful bacteria has had chance to grow and make the food dangerous to health. Foods past their best-before dates can be eaten as this is only a mark of quality, not safety.
Thinking of selling your homemade produce? Look no further than our Starting a Food Business From Home guide.
General Rules of Refrigeration
- Make sure that the refrigerator is never overloaded. Whilst cramming that last piece of food into the fridge may seem a good idea at the time, you are in danger of blocking the cooling unit that will chill your food. There is also a danger that the fridge door could not be properly shut, leaving you food that is unfit to eat the following morning! Air needs to be able to circulate around the food.
- New stock should always be placed behind old stock. Yes, the rules in a commercial kitchen should apply at home as well. Ensure you eat the food in the fridge based on the use by date in order to prevent food wastage which ultimately hits your wallet!
- Open cans should never be stored in the refrigerator as this may result in chemical contamination, especially acidic food such as fruit and tomatoes. If you wish to put canned food in the fridge, ensure that you put the food into a container that is suitable for chilling first.
- If your fridge temperatures are too high, it may be the result of overloading, the blocking of cooling units, or the thermostat being set too high. If your fridge does not have a thermometer built in, we recommend that you purchase a fridge thermometer to monitor the temperature. Remember that the correct temperature is- 0-5°c.
Responsible for a commercial refrigerator? Our Level 3 Food Safety Course is a comprehensive overview of everything required to manage food hygiene in your business.
Further Food Hygiene Resources
- How to Defrost Food Safely
- How Long Can You Store Frozen Food For?
- Can I Cook This From Frozen?
- Level 1 Food Hygiene and Safety Certificate
WATCH: This Is The Proper Way to Store Leftover Rice
Extra rice can always be put to good use, whether you’re in the mood for fried rice or rice pudding. Or just a bowl of plain old leftover rice! Follow these steps to preserve the flavor and texture of leftover rice—or any type of cooked grain.
Storing cooked rice in the refrigerator
If you’re planning to eat the leftover rice within one or two days (maybe in some fried rice, perhaps?), store it in the refrigerator.
1. Cool it quickly
Cooked rice is very moist, which can be a breeding ground for bacteria growth if it is left at room temperature for more than two hours. Play it safe and cool down any leftover rice quickly—either by spreading it out on a baking sheet, or placing it in the refrigerator.
2. Store in an airtight container
Those little cardboard take-out containers may be cute, but they will also let in air, making leftover rice chewy and hard. Transfer the cooled, cooked rice into an airtight storage container or a ziplock plastic bag (remove as much air from the bag as possible before sealing) then store in the refrigerator.
3. Reheat with a little water
When reheating the rice, sprinkle a teaspoon of water over the top to help loosen stuck, dried grains. Reheat in the microwave on medium power, stirring every 30 seconds until the rice is hot. Or, reheat the rice in a pot over medium heat on the stovetop. Stir constantly to keep the grains moving, but be careful not to mash them.
Storing cooked rice in the freezer
Cooked rice can be frozen for up to three months; after that, it is prone to freezer burn.
As mentioned above, cooked rice should be cooled quickly and not left at room temperature for more than two hours.
2. Store in a freezer bag
Transfer the cooled, cooked rice into a ziplock freezer bag. Press the bag to remove as much air from the bag as possible before sealing. Store it flat in the freezer—it will take up less space and defrost more quickly.
3. Thaw (Or Don’t Thaw)
Frozen grains can be added directly to hot dishes like soups, stir-fries, casseroles, and stews. If you’re planning to eat the rice on its own, follow the directions above in step 3.
Alice Henneman, MS, RDN, UNL Extension in Lancaster County
With almost 2 grams of healthy fiber and just over 100 calories per half cup … have you tried the nutty flavor of brown rice?
What’s more, whole grains — such as brown rice — may help reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers, and may even contribute to maintaining a healthy weight.
Brown rice takes longer to cook than regular white rice (about 45 minutes vs. 15 or 20 minutes). However, it’s easy to cook a larger batch and enjoy more than one meal for your effort.
Storing Cooked Brown Rice
Cooked brown rice can be stored, covered tightly, in a shallow container in the refrigerator for 4 days. It will maintain good quality in the freezer for 6 months but will remain safe indefinitely in the freezer as long as the temperature remains at 0 degrees F or lower. After cooked rice has cooled in the refrigerator, transfer it to plastic freezer bags in quantities needed for future meals. Label with the date and quantity.
Because of the oil in its bran layer, uncooked brown rice has a shorter shelf life than white rice and maintains its quality for about 6 months. For longer storage, refrigerate or freeze uncooked brown rice. Refrigerated brown rice will maintain quality for 6 to 12 months.
IMPORTANT! Refrigerate extra cooked rice in shallow containers as it cools faster in the refrigerator. It’s OK to refrigerate foods while they’re still warm. Perishable cooked foods, such as rice, shouldn’t be left at room temperature longer than TWO hours TOTAL time.
For thicker foods — such as rice, soups, hot puddings, etc. — limit depth of food to 2 inches. Loosely cover the rice. This allows heat to escape and protects from accidental contamination from other foods during cooling. Cover tightly when cooled. Plan to use within 4 days.
Preparing Brown Rice
Brown rice may be used instead of white rice in many recipes. It tastes especially good in salads, stuffing, stews and vegetarian dishes. Brown rice is available in three sizes:
- Long-grain rice: produces light, dry grains that separate easily.
- Short-grain rice: yields fat, almost round grains with a higher starch content than the other two varieties; the grains stick together when cooked.
- Medium-grain rice: has a size and characteristics between the other two rice varieties.
Follow package directions for preparing brown rice. Brown rice may be cooked top of range, in a regular or microwave oven or with a rice cooker.
Tips on Selecting a Rice Cooker
If cooking rice seems like too much fuss and an uncertain outcome, consider trying a rice cooker.
A rice cooker features an inner pan that rests above a heating element. Specific ratios of water and rice are added to the cooker. Rice cookers determine when the rice is done by sensing the temperature of the inner pan.
Helpful features include:
- Glass lid to view cooking process
- Hole in lid so steam escapes
- Nonstick pan
Pointers to successfully use a rice cooker include:
- Read the directions that come with your rice cooker to learn how much rice and liquid to use for different types of rice. Check how long rice may be left in the cooker on the “keep warm” setting.
- Be aware when the rice cooker directions refer to “cups” of rice, they usually refer to the cup or scoop that comes with the cooker. This may be smaller than a typical 8-ounce cup.
MEXICAN SKILLET RICE (featured recipe)
- 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 16-ounce can pinto beans, drained
- 2 4-ounce cans diced green chiles
- 1 medium fresh tomato, seeded and chopped (optional)
- Fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, cook meat until brown, stirring to crumble; drain. Return meat to skillet.
- Add onion, chili powder, cumin and salt; cook until onion is tender.
- Stir in rice, beans and chiles; thoroughly heat.
- Top with tomato and garnish with cilantro if desired. Serve immediately.
SOURCE: Recipe and image courtesy of the USA Rice Federation. For more information about rice, visit www.usarice.com
- If desired, lower the sodium further by cutting back or omitting the salt, especially if your beans are canned with salt.
- When I tried freezing some of this recipe for later use, I was quite pleased with the results. As I was reheating it in the microwave at work, several people commented on how good it smelled!
We all love leftovers. They make for an easy lunch to take into work or a quick dinner when you don’t want to cook from scratch.
But they can be a health risk if not stored and reheated correctly. The NHS states whilst most food poisoning will go away without intervention from a GP or hospital, it can last for up to a week.
To make sure nasty bacteria doesn’t contaminate your food, here’s everything you need to know to make sure that your money-saving dinner isn’t making you sick…
Know the rules
- Transfer foods from their hot cooking dish into a shallow one to ensure that leftovers cool quickly. Don’t leave them out of the fridge for more than two hours.
- Portion out food or meals into individual portions when putting them in the fridge or freezer so that they are ready to grab and go and you can avoid reheating foods twice as this can lead to bacteria growth.
- When reheating in the microwave, make sure you stir dishes intermittently as food can be left piping in some places and still cold in others.
BRETT STEVENSGetty Images
Understand your food
Food poisoning warnings have long been associated with pre-cooked rice. But according to the NHS the danger isn’t in the reheating, but the way you store it.
Uncooked rice can contain the bacteria Bacillus Cereus and these spores can survive even when the rice is cooked. If the cooked rice is left standing at room temperature, the spores can grow into bacteria which will multiply and can produce toxins that lead to food poisoning.
The NHS advises:
- Serve rice as soon as it has been cooked. If being left to chill, make sure that it cools as quickly as possible (ideally within an hour) and keep in the fridge for no more than a day.
- When reheating make sure it is piping hot all the way through, and don’t reheat more than once.
If your roast dinner has done enough to fill the week’s lunch boxes, make sure you store it right. Cover and cool to room temperature before putting in the fridge, then store for up to three days. When reheating, make sure that it is 70°C or above.
If your chicken was frozen prior to cooking, it can be frozen again once it has been cooked all the way through and cooled.
Cooked meat is fine to leave in the fridge for a few days, and you can eat it cold within that time.
If reheating, bring it out of the fridge to room temperature before warming up. Using a microwave for meats like sausage is fine (just make sure they are hot through) but can sometimes ruin the texture of steaks and roasted meats. Instead, place in a frying pan for around 60 seconds on each side to warm.
There can be confusion surrounding cooked potatoes, but as long as they are left to cool and stored properly they won’t do you any harm. After all, how else would you make a delicious potato salad or gnocchi?
Cooked potato of all types (mashed, boiled, jacket etc) should be fine in the fridge for up to three days. And the best way to reheat your roasties without them going soggy? Put in a low oven or in a dry frying pan rather than a microwave to keep their crisp.
If you’re serving up cream, crème fraîche or yoghurt, try to leave it in the container you buy it in and put it back in the fridge fully sealed as quickly as possible.
But, if you’ve dispensed into a pretty jug or bowl to make it look nicer when serving, don’t return it to the original packaging. Just wrap up tight and store in the fridge.
Cans and tins
Only used half a tin of beans, sweetcorn or custard?
Once a can is opened, residual metal on the rim can leach into food and leave a metallic taste. Instead, dispense leftovers into a separate container, cover and chill for up to three days.
Top-rated fridge freezers
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Leftover rice could make you sick if you don’t do this one thing
The INSIDER Summary:
- The NHS says that leftover rice can be bad for you.
- Uncooked rice can contain spores that can survive when the rice is cooked.
- If the rice stands at room temperature for too long, those spores turn into bacteria.
- That in turn can cause food poisoning.
- Store your rice as quickly as possible once you’re done eating it.
Although reheating a Chinese takeout when you’ve got a hangover is one of life’s great pleasures, leftover rice can actually be scarily bad for you, the NHS says.
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Because if you didn’t already know, you can get a pretty grim case of food poisoning from eating reheated rice; it’s not the reheating that causes the problem, but instead the way the rice has been stored after being cooked the first time.
So uncooked rice often contains spores (cells capable of reproducing quickly) of Bacillus cereus — a bacteria strand that can cause food poisoning — that can survive when rice is cooked.
And if the rice is left standing at room temperature after it’s been boiled, the spores can grow into bacteria, which will ultimately multiply and may produce toxins that cause vomiting or diarrhea.
The longer cooked rice is left at room temperature, the more likely it is that the bacteria will make the rice unsafe to eat — meaning it’s vital that you store your rice at the right way quickly if you’re hoping to reheat it later.
So, how do you increase the chances of avoiding food poisoning all together? First off, serve rice as soon as it’s been cooked, and cool any leftovers as quickly as possible. The NHS recommends within an hour, ideally. You can then keep the rice in the fridge (but for no more than one day) before reheating.
It’s worth noting you should also check the rice is ‘steaming hot’ all the way through when you’re reheating it, and never attempt to reheat it more than once.
Happy rice reheating, y’all.
Read the original article on INSIDER. Follow INSIDER on Facebook. Copyright 2017. Follow INSIDER on Twitter.
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The exact answer to the question “How long does rice last?” depends on the type of rice, whether it is cooked or uncooked, and the conditions under which the rice is stored. Follow these handy guidelines for keeping this popular side dish at its freshest.
Most types of uncooked rice have an indefinite shelf life. The main challenge is keeping it free of dust, insects and other contaminants.
So exactly how long does rice last if it is uncooked? White, wild, Arborio, jasmine and basmati rice all have an indefinite shelf life, when kept free from contaminants. The exception is brown rice — thanks to its higher oil content, it won’t keep nearly as long.
Shelf life for uncooked rice:
• White rice
• Wild rice
• Arborio rice
• Jasmine rice
• Basmati rice
• Brown rice
|3-6 months||6-12 months||12-18 months|
*Freezer time shown is for best quality only — foods kept constantly frozen at 0° F will keep safe indefinitely.
Follow these tips for storing uncooked rice:
– To maximize the shelf life of rice, store in a cool dry area; after opening the package, place the uncooked rice in a sealed airtight container or place original package in a resealable heavy-duty freezer bag.
– For added protection against bugs, dust or other contaminants, uncooked rice may also be stored in the fridge or freezer; place rice in a sealed airtight container or place original package in a resealable heavy-duty freezer bag.
– How to tell if rice is bad? If bugs or other contaminants are found in rice, discard the entire package. Spoiled brown rice will often develop an oily texture and develop an off odor.
How long does rice last once it is cooked? The shelf life for cooked rice — all varieties, including white, wild, jasmine, basmati, Arborio, brown — is as follows:
• Refrigerator: 4 to 6 days
• Freezer: 6 months (best quality only — foods kept constantly frozen at 0° F will keep safe indefinitely)
Some tips for storing cooked rice:
– To maximize the shelf life of cooked rice, refrigerate in covered airtight containers.
– How long does cooked rice last at room temperature? Bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F; rice should be discarded if left for more than 2 hours at room temperature.
– To further extend the shelf life of cooked rice, freeze it; freeze rice in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.
– How long does cooked rice last in the freezer for safety purposes? The freezer time shown is for best quality only — foods kept constantly frozen at 0° F will keep safe indefinitely.
– How to tell if cooked rice is bad? The best way is to smell and look at the cooked rice; discard any rice with an off smell or appearance, do not taste the cooked rice first.
How to reheat cooked rice:
– On the stovetop: Add 2 tablespoons of liquid per each cup of cooked rice. Cover and heat about five minutes on top of the stove.
– In the microwave: Add 2 tablespoons of liquid per each cup of cooked rice. Microwave on high power — allow about 1 minute for each cup of rice being reheated. To reheat frozen rice: microwave for 2 minutes on high power for each cup of rice.
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LEFTOVERS not only taste better the next day, they are also a great way to save money on lunch and eat healthier.
But the way you store and reheat your food could be promoting the growth of dangerous bacteria, putting your health at risk.
5 Leftovers are a great way to save money but how you reheat them could put your health at riskCredit: Getty – Contributor
Luckily, this handy guide on how to store and reheat everything from meat to vegetables and even dairy, can help dodge a dodgy tum.
It reveals you should never store leftovers for more than three days – something most of us are probably guilty of.
When transferring your food from the dish you cooked it into a plastic container, make sure it’s shallow so the food can cool quickly, the Good Housekeeping report said.
And never leave it out of the fridge for more than two hours or you’re asking for bacteria to grow and multiply.
5 You should always make sure your food is heated all the way through to avoid food poisoningCredit: Getty – Contributor
You shouldn’t reheat food twice, so make sure you put the leftovers into individual portions you can reheat one at a time when you’re ready to eat them.
And always stir the food during the reheating process to make sure it heats through thoroughly.
The foods you need to be EXTRA careful with
The rules for reheating food apply to all leftovers.
But there are some foods that can pose more of a risk than others.
5 Bacteria is rice can cause food poisoning even when it is cooked, so make sure your leftovers are piping hotCredit: Getty – Contributor
You probably already know that rice comes with a food poisoning risk if you save your leftovers.
But the problem is actually with the way you store it, not the way you heat it, according to the NHS.
Uncooked rice can contain the bacteria bacillus cereus and it can survive even when the rice is cooked.
And they can even multiply and produce toxins that lead to food poisoning.
Rice should be served as soon as it’s cooked and, if it’s being left to chill, it needs to be cooled as quickly as possible.
You should keep it in the fridge for no more than a day and make sure it is piping hot the whole way through when you reheat it.
5 Leftover chicken should be kept in the fridge for no more than three daysCredit: Getty – Contributor
We all know chicken can cause some nasty cases of food poisoning – after all, it needs to be cooked thoroughly the first time you cook it.
You should make sure the chicken is cooled to room temperature before it goes in the fridge, and it should be kept for no more than three days.
It also needs to be piping hot the whole way through before you can eat it.
3. Red meat
Leftover red meat is actually one you don’t need to reheat, as long as it was cooked properly the first time.
But if you are reheating it you need to bring it up to room temperature before heating it again.
If you are reheating, make sure it is hot the whole way through.
4. Green veg
5 Green vegetables are fine to reheat, despite previous research suggesting it can promote a chemical linked to cancerCredit: Getty – Contributor
You’d be forgiven for thinking green veg can only ever be healthy, but the European Food Information Council has previously warned that reheating nitrate-rich spinach and other leafy vegetables can lead to the production of nitrosamines – a chemical linked to cancer.
But newer research has found that reheating green veg is safe and so is eating them cold if you fancy them in a salad.
It’s always a good idea to keep your cream, yoghurt or whatever other dairy product you buy in its original packaging.
But that doesn’t always look good at dinner parties.
So if you have served it in a nice jug or something similar, leave the product in there and simply wrap it up tight with cling film before it goes back in the fridge.
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6. Canned food
Sometimes you only need to eat half of a can of corn or peas, but you shouldn’t leave the rest in the can when you store it.
That’s because metal from the rim can leach into the food and leave a metallic taste.
You should put it into a separate container and cover it before leaving in the fridge for up to three days.
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