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KennethT

Refrigerating cooked rice

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I am exploring options for my usual weekday lunches - I make this over the weekend, refrigerate, then microwave while at work to warm.  For a long time, I've always brought some kind of noodle/pasta dish - it warms just fine in the microwave for about a minute with a damp paper towel layed over the top.

 

I was thinking about extending this to rice based dishes - but I'm nervous about eating cooked rice that has been in the refrigerator for about 5-6 days.

 

Does anyone have any info about the safety of doing something like this? 

 

Some people may have the idea of keeping a small rice cooker at work and making the rice fresh each day, but I usually hardly have time to eat, as well as washing/rinsing and cleaning the rice cooker.  My workplace is a factory (of non-foodstuffs) so isn't the most hospitable place in the world for making food - the microwave is in the office, but the sinks are out in the factory or the restrooms, neither of which is suitable to be anywhere near stuff to be put in one's mouth!

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In this post,  @Anna N shared her method for freezing individual portions of rice and reheating in the microwave.  Would something like that work for you?  

 

 

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17 minutes ago, KennethT said:

Does anyone have any info about the safety of doing something like this? 

I absolutely would not eat rice that has been in the fridge that long. Not only from a safety point of view but that rice in the refrigerator dries out, at least in my experience. A better option might be to freeze serving size portions of rice in plastic wrap making sure to wrap it while it is still hot from the rice cooker. Pack frozen with your lunch and then put it in the microwave for about two minutes and you should have good rice. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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I make a large batch of brown rice and freeze it in a large and flat bag.  When it's frozen, it can be easily 'bashed' into much smaller chunks and pieces.  Then I dip into that bag, now rolled up in the freezer, for quick rice accompaniments to our non meal of whatever goes with rice.

 

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Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

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is there an issue w rice VacPak'd ?

 

even while hot , spritzed w a lithe water than vac'd and Fz ?

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I do it all the time and am still alive. 

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I had no health problem with rice that was refrigerated for 5 days (though I'd still try to avoid keeping any leftovers that long).

For me the issue is rather one of texture. As Anna said, rice dries out (actually its starch retrogradates). This can be mitigated with some technique - one needs to add water (about a tbspn per cup) and heat the rice until it's boiling hot, this will re-gelatinize the starch and it will be decent to eat. I

Some grains reheat better - wheat grains (bulgur) and barley for example. I usually opt to pick them for "planned-overs". 

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~ Shai N.

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I've had refrigerated rice left a day or two - it reconstitutes well using my improvised steamer method - wet paper towel over the top, microwave for on high for about a minute or 1.5

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On 7/12/2019 at 12:23 PM, Anna N said:

 rice in the refrigerator dries out

 

On 7/13/2019 at 5:23 AM, shain said:

For me the issue is rather one of texture. As Anna said, rice dries out


And at that point becomes perfect for making non-gloopy fried rice! :D I don't think I've ever made rice with the intention of it sitting in the fridge for 5 - 6 days, though I'm sure it's happened a few times, but I always make it a couple days ahead if fried rice is in the plans. 

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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50 minutes ago, Tri2Cook said:

And at that point becomes perfect for making non-gloopy fried rice! 

 No arguments there so long as you want fried rice.  


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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The short grain "sushi" rice I cook in the rice cooker lasts better overnight in the fridge than long grain. Sometimes I will eat a portion of leftover rice for breakfast, or, as noted above, use leftover rice for making fried rice. Even so, I don't use it after two days. If I have long grain rice to save I usually only do it if there is a lot of leftover sauce or gravy or whatever, and I make sure to mix it into the rice before refrigerating. Then at least there's some hope for it the next day. Dried-out rice just isn't very appetizing.

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To my taste the texture of refrigerated rice is vile.  And I don't even have to start thinking of B. cereus.  My Zojirushi holds cooked rice at temperature for over a day and this rice is almost as good as fresh.

 

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I have been reading this thread with interest.    Granted that the ambient temperature of my kitchen throughout most of the year would qualify it as a wine cellar, but I usually cook up much more rice than we need for a meal, leave the remainder in the covered (Le Creuset) casserole at room temp.   DH will come down and scoop out a bowlful, add raisins, milk and sugar and nuke it for breakfast; I may heat up a bowlful before adding avocado and salsa; some may get fried or enjoyed under some gravy.    But it looks find and smells sweet, my two criteria for whether or not food is edible.      No, I wouldn't give it to guests.

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I let it cool, covered, then put in in the fridge. I take the view that it has been sterilized and have introduced as few pathogens as any other foods. Keeping it cold should slow down any increase. For fried rice, I find it best to use day old rice that has been cooled and added to the fridge in a covered container. Probably wouldn't keep it for more than a week as it tends to dry out a bit.

Wouldn't do it for excess rice from a takeaway, unless I microwave it first and then cooled because I can't really be sure whether its been sterilized or let stand at room temperature all day.

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8 hours ago, Anna N said:

 No arguments there so long as you want fried rice.  


Yeah, there is that catch. I don't often want fried rice. 

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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On 7/13/2019 at 1:03 AM, KennethT said:

I was thinking about extending this to rice based dishes - but I'm nervous about eating cooked rice that has been in the refrigerator for about 5-6 days.

 

Does anyone have any info about the safety of doing something like this? 

 

There is no special safety issue with leaving rice in the fridge for a few days. The main safety  issue with rice is that it may contain pathogic spores that can survive cooking, and which could then multiply if the cooked rice were to be held for several hours under 60c/140f, but still warm, like on a buffet. If you have a rice cooker with a "keep warm" function, it's holding the rice above this temperature for safety.

 

The solution is to cool cooked rice reasonably quickly. Health Dept. guidelines here, where we eat a lot of rice, say that cooked rice should be cooled from 60c to 20c "as quickly as possible (within 2 hours)", and then to 4c (fridge temp.) in under 4 hours. Personally, I aim for 2 hours from cooked to fridge temperature throughout. Spreading it out on a tray greatly speeds cooling.

 

Note that I'm talking about safety here, not esthetics.

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Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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@HKDave Exactly the info I was looking for.  Thank you.

 

To all the other replies - I thank you as well - while I understand the quality loss that comes with refrigerating rice, I have relatively low standards for my weekday lunches while at work... I don't really have time to enjoy it anyway!

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If you care to take a deeper dive into the topic, you can download the FDA's Bad Bug Book as a free PDF, and have a read through the section on B. cereus. Speaking as something of a crank on the subject of food safety, I think everybody should have a copy.

 

 

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"The only questions that really matter are the ones you ask yourself."

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"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

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Should also add that different varieties of rice have different amounts of various starches, which may affect quality after re-heating.  I'm partial to short grain brown rice, chewy and sticky rather than individual fluffy grains - I just put a pot on that will be multiple servings, lasting me the rest of the week.

https://www.thespruceeats.com/the-science-of-rice-481262

 

Still, thorough re-heating should soften any starches.  Add a little water, a saucy curry, or low standards and you're good to go.  Just don't leave it on the counter all night or eat it cold :)

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I have no problems reheating refrigerated rice.  My improvised steamer, which is a wet papertowel layed over the top and tucked in the sides, microwaved for about a minute or two, works really well for rehydrating/reheating... I was worried about b. cereus  since it's commonly discussed as a problem with rice, and I had heard that it still grows at refrigerated temps so had always heard not to keep old rice more than a day or two in the fridge.

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On 7/17/2019 at 12:05 AM, KennethT said:

I was worried about b. cereus  since it's commonly discussed as a problem with rice, and I had heard that it still grows at refrigerated temps so had always heard not to keep old rice more than a day or two in the fridge.

 

B.cereus won't grow in the fridge. It grows between about 4c and 50c (per US CDC), although most health departments say 4c-60c. It reproduces fastest around 28-37c, hence the need for reasonably rapid cooling after cooking.

 

The main somewhat-common food pathogens that can grow in the fridge are listeria and yersinia, but both of those are killed by cooking or pasteurization. The problem with b. cereus is that it can survive cooking (and re-heating).

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Hong Kong Dave

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