Are you wondering if rice can ever spoil, or will it be okay on a shelf in a pantry for years until you run out of it? Find all the answers you need in our article.
You can hardly peek into any kitchen in the world and not find rice in it. It is an indispensable addition to dishes, and in some cases, the main course, as is often the case in Asian cuisine. Like when you buy pasta, you usually purchase rice in many packages. And sometimes you have a choice of different versions. White, brown, long-grain, basmati, and so on.
But how long does uncooked rice last? And how to recognize that it is no longer edible when it seems okay? Yes, rice has a shelf life, well some of the types at least, and there are specific indications to help you identify when to throw it in the trash.
How Long Does Rice Last?
So how long is uncooked rice good for? To answer this question, what kind of rice we are talking about is very important because the differences are significant. Seriously, shelf life goes from a few months up to indefinitely. Although there are numerous types, we bring information for the most common ones.
White dry rice
White dry rice is indeed the most common variant known worldwide. And although there are instructions on durability on the packaging, if you store it properly, it will undoubtedly be suitable for many years after the expiration date. And we genuinely mean many years. Some will say even forever, even though they would not go that far.
Brown rice is not as processed and refined as white, so its shelf life is dramatically shorter. It ranges from six months for some versions to about a year which is typical for most. Generally, it is much more prone to spoilage, and the appearance of mold, so be sure to pay attention.
Can Rice Go Bad?
Yes and no. As we have already said, white rice will endure for a very long time, while brown rice will be susceptible to spoilage. In the case of both, the following signs are valid that something is wrong.
Sign 1: It has funky smell
Stale odor is never a good indicator when it comes to food. A foul smell will mean that the rice has been exposed to adverse conditions such as moisture and is a sure sign that you need a new supply.
Sign 2: Mold appeared
Mold will often follow in the case of moisture that has come in contact with the rice. If you notice something like a cobweb, thin fibers stretching between grains of rice, it is mold. You should never joke with it, so even though rice is meant for heat treatment, it will be safest to buy a new stock.
Sign 3: Pests have settled
Unfortunately, open rice packaging can often be a very attractive habitat for moths or other insect species. In case you notice something squirming in your packaging, you’d rather throw it in the trash. You don’t want extra protein in your meal. Also, if you happen to have slightly larger animals in a bag of rice, such as mice, be sure to throw the entire amount in the waste.
Which is the Best Way to Store Rice?
There aren’t too many complicated tips for storing rice properly. As with other dry foods, it is essential to follow basic guidelines.
Tip 1: Keep it in a dry place
A dry place is imperative when it comes to storing rice, whether the packaging is intact or already open. Prevent moisture from coming into contact with food and thus allow spoilage.
Tip 2: Keep it in an airtight container
After opening the package, it would be good to transfer the rice to a bag that you can close well. Best with as little air present as possible. This will prevent potential spoilage, especially in the case of brown rice.
Tip 3: Freeze for longer storage
Freezing is not necessary when it comes to dry white rice. But if it is cooked, for example, you can freeze it without any problems to preserve it for a long time. You can also freeze brown rice if more extended storage is required.
It is most likely entirely safe to consume rice after the expiration date. In some cases, you can extend this period to several additional years. Just look for signs of possible spoilage that we have described.
If you notice the appearance of mold or a very unpleasant odor, as if stale, it is a sure sign of spoilage. Also, insects in the product are not desirable.
Since you have to cook the rice before consuming it, it shouldn’t harm you in terms of health problems. Even if mold has appeared, it is likely to disappear at high temperatures. However, we would advise you to avoid the risk.
If you want to test the durability of rice to the maximum, you can store it for many years. It is essential only to keep it in a dry place and an air-tight container.
Leftover cooked rice should last 2-4 days in the refrigerator. This would also depend on the type of cooked rice you have such as steamed rice, fried rice and other rice dishes.
White rice is one of the foods that can survive for many years without changing texture or taste and being perfectly fit for consumption long after the expiration date. It is only vital to store it in favorable conditions, and a dry pantry is usually enough for that.
If you notice an unpleasant stale odor or mold appearing on the rice grains, it is a sign that storage conditions have been unfavorable and that it is better to throw the packaging in the garbage. In addition, the only thing that can still spoil your cooking lunch is the appearance of insects in a bag of rice. Also, in that case, buy new stock or try one of these rice substitutes.
*image by jirkaejc/depositphotos