Yes, you can eat cold rice, but it should be properly refrigerated and stored to avoid foodborne illness. Reheat it thoroughly or use it in cold dishes like salads.
Rice is a staple food in nearly every kitchen across the globe. It’s inexpensive, simple to cook, and can be prepared in large quantities.
Read on to know how to properly store and eat cold rice, so you won’t be worried about food poisoning!
Eating Cold Rice and The Risks
Consuming cold rice or reheated rice, can increase the risk of food poisoning. Food poisoning is due to Bacillus cereus, which may cause abdominal cramps, diarrhea nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps, all in the first 30 minutes after eating foods that are contaminated.
Bacillus cereus is often found in soil and is capable of contaminating rice that is cooked. The bacteria creates seeds on rice, which act as a shield, shielding it from the heat from cooking.
Because of this, cold rice is still affected by food poisoning organisms, even when it has been cooked to extremely extreme temperatures.
In the case of chilling rice, the risk isn’t always in the bacteria that are already present however, it is in the way that the rice was cooled and stored.
Bacillus cereus, as well as other bacteria that cause disease increase exponentially in temperatures between 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
That means that, if let your rice simmer or sit at room temperatures, the spores grow quickly and grow, increasing the likelihood of getting sick after you’ve consumed the cold rice.
How To Store and Eat Cold Rice
Rice cooked in the oven does not remove any Bacillus cereus spores, therefore you must treat rice like you would treat other food that is perishable.
Understanding how to store, handle and cook rice is the most effective way to avoid any illness that may be caused by bacteria.
These are helpful tips for how to keep and handle rice:
- It is recommended to refrigerate fresh prepared rice. First, you have to cool it for one hour by breaking the rice in half and putting it in shallow containers. To accelerate the process of cooling it is possible to put the containers in a cold water bath.
- It is essential to put it in airtight containers that can keep it refrigerated. Do not stack the containers if you have more than one as this can restrict airflow and can hinder rapid cooling.
- The rice that remains over shouldn’t be stored at room temperature for longer than two hours. If rice is kept at room temperature for more than that, it must be disposed of.
- The rice must be refrigerated at a temperature below 40°F to stop the growth of spores of bacteria.
- Rice may be stored in the refrigerator for as long as 4 days if kept in a proper manner however, it must be discarded after it has been stored in the fridge longer than that.
- Cold rice is best kept within an airtight, sealed container inside the refrigerator. A container that can seal well is the best choice to keep any moisture that might be present in the rice. Any additional moisture might promote bacteria growth. The rice that is refrigerated does not remove bacteria, but it just slows their growth.
The reason to divide the rice into small containers following cooking is that when it is placed in a larger pot in larger portions it will take longer to cool.
The rice needs to cool before it is put in the refrigerator because hot rice stored in the refrigerator can raise the temperature inside and compromise the food safety of other food that has been chilled in the refrigerator.
If you are eating rice that is cold is recommended to eat it when it’s still cold, rather than allowing it to warm up.
In the same way, allowing the rice to cool down increases the risk of food poisoning because of the growth of bacteria. Also, the longer it takes for the rice to reach room temperature more likely is the possibility of getting sick.
Can You Eat Cold Rice That Was Previously Heated?
Rice that is cooked and properly stored in the refrigerator can be consumed in 4 days. Rice that is cooked, kept in the fridge, then heated, and then allowed to cool must be thrown out. This is the same for other leftovers.
Food that was reheated but not consumed must be thrown out regardless of how quickly you return it to the refrigerator.
You are at risk of getting food poisoning due to eating reheated food and then returned to the refrigerator is very high and is not worth the risk, similar to eating rice left out overnight.
The best method of reheating rice is using the rice cooker. Learn how to cook rice here.
Benefits of Eating Cold Rice
In addition to being easy to get out of the fridge, eating it immediately as well as having cool rice during an extremely hot day cold rice also has certain advantages.
Cold rice is more nutritious and has a higher amount of resistant starch than the rice that is freshly prepared. The resistant starch is a source of insoluble fibers, which is difficult for your body to digest However, the bacteria that reside in the gut can make the resistant starch into a fermentable substance, which acts as an intestinal prebiotic.
This aids in the function of two important hormones – both glucagon and peptide YY, which affect appetite. Resistant starch found in cold rice can also aid in the production of the hormone that fights obesity and diabetes which helps to boost the sensitivity of insulin and decrease abdominal fat.
If you’re in search of rice that has antioxidants then you should consider wild rice.
Consuming cold rice may lower the amount of blood sugar following a meal, in contrast to eating hot, freshly cooked rice.
Meals Containing Cold Rice
Many dishes are made with cold rice, for example, sushi and other Indian dishes. If you are eating these dishes make sure that the rice is properly refrigerated, or you may feel rather unwell following the meal.
Remaining sushi leftovers or other food items which contain cold rice will require the same handling and storage as plain cold rice.
It is possible to break the rice from curries or sauces when feasible and then freeze the rice on its own or put the whole food inside an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 7 months (depending on the type of meal and freshness).
Be sure to treat rice, particularly cold rice, the same way you would treat any other food item that is perishable. This is especially when chill rice has been mixed along with the other components.
It’s always better for you to stay on the safer side, and to properly conserve and store the rice and then dispose of it in several days.
Do You Need To Heat Rice?
There is no need to cook chilled rice so long as the rice has been kept properly in the refrigerator, and is not left out to get to room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Cold rice has distinct health benefits, and it could be beneficial for some people to not heat the rice completely.
If you do decide to cook rice that’s been kept in the refrigerator it is recommended to throw away any leftovers after you’ve consumed it. Reheated rice shouldn’t be put back into the refrigerator because there is a greater possibility of a growth of bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
Can I Store Cold Rice Back In The Refrigerator?
After cooking, do not store hot or warm rice in the refrigerator.
This can make the temperature inside the refrigerator increase and put other foods in the fridge at risk of getting spoiled. It is important to let the rice cool off outside of the fridge before serving it However, it should not be allowed to sit at room temperature for longer than an hour.
To let the rice chill faster, divide it into smaller containers, so the rice is easier to serve.
Does Heating Rice Kill Bacteria?
The Bacillus cereus bacteria that is found on rice is highly resistant to heat, which means that cooking or heating the rice won’t cause the death of the bacteria.
The rice being refrigerated doesn’t eliminate the bacteria It just slows the development. This is why it is not recommended to leave the rice in the refrigerator for too long because the bacteria could grow quickly.
It is also important not to place the rice that has been reheated back into the refrigerator as there’s an increased risk of high growth of bacteria.
Contrary to what’s been widely believed for a long time, it’s in fact, safe to eat rice that is cold from the refrigerator. The consumption of cold rice is fine when it is properly stored and not reached the temperature of 40°F after cooking.
Cold rice can help to improve the health of your gut and also lower the levels of cholesterol and blood sugar levels, due to the high content of resistant starch.
To minimize the risk of food poisoning after eating rice cold It is recommended to allow the rice that has been cooked to cool for about an hour prior to placing it inside the refrigerator. You can then consume it within four days.