It may seem like a fad, but I’m serious about switching to a gluten-free diet. Last month, I have started with plain white rice as an alternative for oats and wheat-based bread. But cooking rice is quite time-consuming. Is it scientifically acceptable and safe for cooked rice to be stored longer and preserved for later consumption?
It has always been the practice of many people to cook rice in batches. They either refrigerate or freeze it for later use within a week or so.
Studies confirm that the storage of cooked or parboiled rice by refrigeration is acceptable in terms of overall quality. It may stay good for not more than 20 hours at room temperature and up to 48 hours when refrigerated. In the freezer, cooked rice should be kept only for up to 2 months for the best quality.
Can You Freeze Cooked Rice?
Freezing extends the shelf life of almost anything indefinitely, but with cooked rice, it may not be the most recommended thing to do so.
Even if you have executed the best storage practices to avoid freezer burn, cooked rice may eventually dry out if frozen for a longer period.
That is why there’s no definite consensus as to when frozen cooked rice may stay longer without compromising its quality. But surely, everyone can agree that dry rice is not any better than spoiled rice.
This – together with the fact that cooked rice is more susceptible to foodborne pathogens and spores that may cause food poisoning – ought to make you think twice about freezing cooked rice for several months.
Before consumption, you may thaw the frozen rice in the fridge. If you wish to serve it right away, reheat it directly in the microwave for about 3 minutes.
If the frozen rice is contained in a microwave-safe freezer bag, open a small portion of the bag to let the steam out. At least 165 degrees Fahrenheit should be reached when reheating the rice.
How to Preserve Cooked Rice?
Whether you are freezing white rice or brown rice, you can save your cooked rice for later consumption with the following safe storage practices and other tips:
- If you are planning to freeze plain white rice, do not cook it thoroughly (al dente) to prevent mushiness as you reheat it
- Brown rice should be cooked thoroughly
- After cooking, scoop the rice out and layer it on a pan for faster cooling (Not more than 2 hours at room temperature)
- Use only airproof containers or thick freezer bags to completely prevent air oxidation
- Allow a half-inch headspace to allow for expansion when using jars
- Portion the rice and store it in freezer bags on thin layers
- Before freezing completely, freeze first the bags of cooked rice on a cooking sheet to flatten them out as they solidify
- After the initial freezing, label the bags and freeze
- Do not refreeze or reheat cooked rice more than once
Cooked Rice Recipe
With this Rice Pakoda recipe, you can turn your leftover rice into a delicious tea time or quick-bite snack. Mixed with spinach and chili, it may also be served as a great appetizer.
If you don’t know what to do with your leftover rice, then turn it into these Spinach and Rice Balls. Add some potato and you’ll have a gluten-free snack for your pure-veggie diet.
Make a delicious pancake out of your leftover rice. With this Rice Pancake recipe, you’ll simply be adding some onions and garlic for flavor and coconut chutney for dips.
No, you should not freeze cooked rice. Rice is a starchy food and once it is thawed out, the rice will become sticky and very mushy. Though it may seem like a good idea to freeze your leftovers to use them later (and save time), actually cooking and using fresh rice is much better for health reasons. If you need to store some rice, make sure it is cooled down completely before freezing (in the fridge) and only reheat once to avoid food poisoning.
Is there something you are wondering about freezing? Let me know in the comment section below! I would love to hear from you!