Rice is a staple in many households, and people often store it in the pantry for long periods of time. But does rice go bad? It's important to know how to store rice properly, how to tell if rice has gone bad, and what to do about it.
Does Rice Go Bad?
In theory, dry white rice doesn't go bad. Dry white rice is a dried grain with an indefinite shelf life. But rice quality will start to degrade after about 6 months of storage. The longer you store rice, the less flavor it will have and the more brittle it will become. So while rice doesn't technically go bad under ideal conditions, it's best to use it within 6 months for optimal flavor and texture.
The problem is when the dry rice is exposed to the elements. The rice can then be contaminated with bugs or mold from moisture.
If you need to store rice for longer than six months, your best bet is to keep it in the freezer. Frozen rice will retain its quality for up to a year. When you're ready to use it, thaw the rice in the fridge overnight and cook it as usual.
Tips for Storing Rice
Though it has a long shelf life, there are still things to keep in mind when storing rice. Here are some tips on how to store rice so that it stays fresh and lasts longer:
- Store your rice in an airtight container. This will keep it from drying out or absorbing moisture and prevent bugs from getting into the rice.
- Store your rice in a cool, dry place. Heat and moisture can cause the rice to spoil faster.
- Consider keeping your rice in the fridge or freezer, especially if you live in a humid climate. This will help extend its shelf life even further.
How to Tell if Rice Is Bad
If you're unsure if your rice is bad, there are a few things you can do to test it. First, check the color of the rice. If it's discolored or has changed shades, it's time to toss it. Next, smell the rice. If it smells sour or musty, it's no longer fresh and should be thrown out. Finally, taste a small amount of the rice. If it tastes off or stale, don't eat any more of it.
If your rice passes these tests, then it's probably still safe to eat. But if you're unsure at all, it's better to play it safe and throw the rice out. If you're ever in doubt about whether something is still good to eat, it's always best to throw it out and start fresh.
How Long Does Cooked Rice Last in the Fridge?
Cooked rice can last in the fridge for up to 3 days if it was handled properly. To keep your cooked rice fresh, store it in an airtight container and place it in the fridge as soon as it's cooled down. When reheating your rice, be sure to heat it until it's steaming hot all the way through to kill any harmful bacteria.
The key to keeping cooked rice fresh is to cool the rice quickly and never leave it at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If cooked rice is left at room temperature for more than 2 hours, a bacteria called Bacillus cereus can produce a toxin that causes food poisoning.
Yes, the USDA requires dry white rice to have a shelf life of 6 months from the date of manufacture. Unrefrigerated brown rice must have a shelf life of 3 months.
Dry white rice has a long shelf life, so you will probably be fine if you eat rice after the expiration date. But if you noticed that the rice was growing mold, you could get sick. Mold can cause serious health problems if ingested. Contact your doctor if you accidentally ate moldy rice.
No, white rice lasts longer than brown rice. The natural oils in brown rice can go rancid and spoil. White rice does not have as many oils. Keeping your brown rice in the fridge or freezer will keep the oils from going bad.
Dry white rice doesn't go bad if stored correctly, but it's best to use it within 6 months for optimal flavor and texture. If you need to store it for longer, your best bet is to keep it in the freezer. Use your senses of sight, smell, and taste to make sure your rice isn't bad. If anything seems off, it's time to toss the rice and start over.