One staple that can be found in almost all kitchens is rice, it is not expensive, easily cooked, and you can make them in large portions. If you don’t want to go through the stress of preparing your lunch almost every day, you could cook some rice in large portions and store inside the refrigerator. All you have to do is to eat them the following day.
Now, the bone of contention is that is it safe to eat rice cold? The fact is that you are susceptible to the risk of food poisoning when you eat cold rice. This is because of the content of bacteria that usually starts growing on rice immediately after it is cooked. However, you can safely eat your cold rice if you can handle and store them correctly.
You are encouraged to keep reading this article if you would like to find out how you can store your rice and eat it cold for you not to be concerned about the risk of food poisoning from your rice ever again.
The Dangers of Cold Rice
You will increase your risk of getting food poisoning when you eat cold rice as well as rice that is reheated. Bacillus cereus causes this particular food poisoning which is likely to cause vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. All these can happen less than 30 minutes after contaminated food is ingested.
Generally, you will find Bacillus cereus in the soil and it can contaminate your raw rice. Spores are formed on the raw rice by the bacteria and it will act as shields to protect it from the direct heat when cooking. Because of this, bacteria can also be found on cold rice as a result of contamination through food poisoning even after you have cooked it at high temperatures.
The danger concerning cold rice is not in the bacteria that are already present on the rice but it is all about how you have cooled and then stored the rice. Usually, bacillus cereus and other bacteria that cause diseases exponentially grow between the temperatures 40°F and 140°F. The usual danger zone to food between these temperatures.
It means that leaving rice to rest or cook at room temperature will allow the spores to germinate and multiply quickly. This will increase your chances of being sick when you eat it.
How to Safely Store and Eat Cold Rice
The spores formed by Bacillus cereus are not usually eliminated by cooking, so rice should be treated similarly to how other perishable foods will be treated. The best thing you can do to avoid any type of sickness from bacteria is to know how you can handle, store as well as prepare your cold rice. Check below for some tips you can use to safely handle and store rice:
- Put freshly cooked rice in the fridge. You first need to allow it to cool for about an hour. To do this, divide it and place it inside shallow containers. The containers can be placed inside cold water if you want to increase the process of cooling.
- Put the rice inside air-tight containers to refrigerate it. Don’t stack your containers if you have multiples because it could limit airflow that could stop rapid cooling.
- Don’t leave leftover rice for over 2 hours at room temperature. If you have left your rice more than this stated time, just throw it away.
- Refrigerate the rice at temperatures below 40°F to prevent further bacteria spores from forming.
- You can keep your rice inside the refrigerator for about 4 days as long as you have stored it properly. Throw it away if you have left it inside the fridge longer than the period stated above.
- Ensure you keep cold rice inside an air-tight container in your refrigerator. It is best to use a container you can tightly seal so that additional moisture will be kept out of your rice. Additional moisture could promote the growth of bacteria. Bacteria will not be killed by refrigerating your rice, it will only inhibit the growth.
You need to place your rice in smaller containers immediately after cooking because the rice is likely to take a long time to become cooled if you place the bigger portion inside a large container. Allow the rice to become cooled before you place it inside the refrigerator because hot rice will raise the fridge’s internal temperature. The safety of your other foods inside the fridge could be jeopardized this way.
When you want to eat cold rice, eat it as the rice stays cold rather than allowing it to get to room temperature. If you allow it to get to room temperature, it will increase the risk of bacteria acting on the rice and it could lead to food poisoning. The change of getting ill will be higher the longer you leave the rice to get to room temperature.
Can You Eat Cold Rice Which Has Been Previously Reheated?
You can eat rice that you have cooked and properly stored inside the refrigerator within four days. Rice that you have cooked, properly refrigerated, reheated, and then allowed to become cooled should not be eaten, just throw it away. This is the same for every other leftover food. Irrespective of how quickly the rice is gotten back into a refrigerator, don’t eat it. You should not risk the high food poisoning you may get from eating such food.
The Benefits of Eating Cold Rice
Cold rice has some benefits asides from being able to easily take it from the refrigerator and eat straight away to enjoy it cool on a very hot day. In comparison with freshly cooked, warm rice, cols rice has a better content of resistant starch. Contained in the resistant starch is an insoluble fiber that the body might find very difficult to digest.
Bacteria found in the digestive gut are, however, able to help to ferment this resistant starch that then acts as prebiotics. This helps the functions of two main hormones; glucagon and peptide YY that influence appetite. This resistant starch also serves as a help to the anti-obesity and anti-diabetic hormone that help to improve the sensitivity of insulin and reduce abdominal fat.
Try to eat wild rice if you want rice that contains antioxidants. Cold rice also helps to reduce blood sugar levels after your meal more than freshly cooked rice.
Meals Containing Cold Rice
Several dishes have cold rice including sushi as well as several Indian cuisines. Ensure that your rice is properly refrigerated when you want to eat these dishes or you will risk some illness afterward. Use the same handling and storage you use for cold rice to store sushi and other foods leftovers that have cold rice.
If possible, separate cold rice away from curries or sauces and put it into the refrigerator differently, or allow the entire meal in your air-tight container inside the refrigerator for about 3 days. This depends on the dish as well as freshness. Treat rice, most especially your cold rice the same way you would treat other perishable foods. This should be even more when you have mixed your cold rice in some other ingredients.
Eating Cold Rice
This is against the belief you might have held on to for a while, but you can eat cold rice that has been refrigerated. If you have stored it correctly, and have not allowed it to be at a temperature that is above 40°F after cooking. Eating cold rice can also help improve the health of your gut and it helps to low blood sugar and cholesterol levels because of the content of resistant starch. If you want to reduce any risk of food poisoning, allow your cooked rice to become cool for only one hour before you place it inside the refrigerator and ensure you eat the rice within four days.
Does reheating rice kill bacteria?
A bacterium called Bacillus cereus that can be found on your rice is highly resistant to heat. Cooking or perhaps reheating will not necessarily kill it. Refrigerating will only slow the growth of the bacterium and not kill it. This is the reason the rice should not be left outside the refrigerator for too long because it could cause the bacterium to grow rapidly. Reheated rice should not be returned to the refrigerator because of the high chance of more growth of bacteria.
Can I put warm rice in the fridge?
Avoid placing hot or warm rice inside the fridge because it could allow the temperature within the refrigerator to increase. This will allow jeopardize other foods inside the refrigerator and eventually spoil them. Allow your rice to first cool before placing it inside the refrigerator. However, don’t leave it for over an hour at room temperature. Put the rice into some smaller bowls if you want it to cool quicker.
Do you have to reheat rice?
You don’t have to necessarily reheat cold rice if you have stored the rice correctly in your refrigerator and you did not leave it for more than two hours at room temperature. Because cold rice helps with some health benefits, it might be something you want to try out so that you will not need to reheat it. If you eventually reheat your cold rice, throw away leftovers immediately you’ve eaten the ones you want to. Don’t put the reheated rice back into the refrigerator because you run a risk of food poisoning due to bacteria growth.