There are many reasons to love rice: it’s easy to prepare, tasty, filling and is a great mealtime accompaniment with almost anything.
It’s one of the oldest cereal grains and a staple food for millions of people all over the world. But did you know there are specific rules for keeping rice so it can be safely eaten the next day? If it’s not kept properly it can actually make you really sick.
Rice at room temperature
What you need to keep in mind when it comes to rice is how it is handled when it’s cooked.
Leftover rice should never ever be left at room temperature for a long time. This is because rice contains a bacterium, bacillus cereus, which can survive being boiled. And if the cooked rice is left for a long time at room temperature, this bacterium can grow and lead to food poisoning.
Cool down pre-cooked rice
What is also good to know is that this bacteria is heat resistant. So, if leftover rice sits for too long at room temperature, then the bacteria will remain even after it’s re-heated.
In other words, to avoid getting sick it’s important to quickly cool down pre-cooked rice that you did not intend to eat right away.
According to Southern Living: “Cooked rice is very moist, which can be a breeding ground for bacteria growth if it is left at room temperature for more than two hours. Play it safe and cool down any leftover rice quickly—either by spreading it out on a baking sheet, or placing it in the refrigerator.”
Then store the rice in an airtight container in the fridge or in an airtight container in the freezer. Also, keep in mind that all foods – not just rice – are better when cooled down quickly. This is clearly because you do not want to give bacteria the opportunity to grow and thrive.
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