Tips for storing cooked rice?

The past few weeks I’ve been cooking a lot of rice of the weekends, and storing it in the fridge for use during the week. I start with 2 cups raw, and divide the cooked result into two containers, each having what I consider two meals’ worth.

But, it gets kinda smooshed. I suppose I could get more containers and divide it into 4 portions, but are there other tips out there? Like maybe cooking it less, which I actually tried to do today but I guess I need to set the timer even shorter than I did, it seems about the same consistancy.

Adding vinegar and salt and making sushi? That’s a wonderful way to preserve rice.

IIRC my parents usually wrap leftover rice in saran wrap, 1 portion each, and put it in the freezer. You end up with conveniently sized frozen rice balls, ready to be microwaved.

But no matter how you do it, leftover rice is going to be kind of dry and chalky. Usually I only use leftover rice for cooking (mostly fried rice).

How about putting the portions (whatever size is convenient) in plastic bags, then purse the neck, suck the air out, twist tie and freeze right away?

BTW; cooked rice should be handled/stored with the same kind of precaustions as you would apply to cooked chicken or other high-risk foods; Bacillus Cereus is a food poisoning pathogen that loves cooked rice and will make you very ill if it contaminates your food; cool the cooked rice as quickly as possible, refrigerating after 90 minutes at the most (if it isn’t cool enough to refrigerate after this time, change something about your method to make it so, such as immersing the base of the pan in a basin of cold water).

Didn’t know that Mangetout, thanks for the heads-up.

I worked with a Vietnamese woman who used the humongous size electric rice cooker. She would make one pot for husband, daughter, and herself, keep the pot on ‘Warm’ mode and use it for several days. As far as I could tell it never harmed her or her family (although she and her husband never grew taller than 5’ :smiley: )

That’s interesting, we never refrigerate rice unless we’re going to make fried rice, and then we refrigerate overnight. We just leave it in the pot it’s cooked in and eat it for one or more days. That way it doesn’t get dried, mooshy, or whatever. This comes from my wife, who is Thai. Never been sick from this, although I suppose we could be immune from exposure.

Bacillus cereus is mostly notable for having a very hardy spore. It loves cycles of reheating (each reheating germinates the previous generation’s spores), followed by long storage at warm temperatures that allows the bacteria to multiply. Improperly handled Chinese food reheated at home of in a restaurant) was the classic venue, because it was often reheated or recooked more than once, or stored warm for use during the day. Limiting yourself to to a single reheating, and ordinary refrigeration should be sufficiently safe. The advice to cook it quickly is very good: “warm” = “incubator”

I believe Bacillus cereus doesn’t have an telltale smell or taste, but I don’t know that for a fact. I do know that “souring” is usually caused by other bacteria, which are mostly not pathogens. They might give you a little diarrhea, though, by temporarily upsetting the balance of bacterial species in your gut. This passes in under a day, often in hours. Drink plenty of fluids.

Bacillus cereus causes food poisoning by two different mechanisms. Both produce nausea and cramps, but they differ in their other symptoms

The quicker acting “emetic” form is what we now call a “food-borne intoxication” - a usually mild, self-limited poisoning from a toxin produced when the bacteria is active and breeding. This toxin is not destroyed by normal reheating or cooking (it is more stable than the starches in the rice; you’d ruin the rice before you rescued it). Since the toxin poisons the stomach first, it causes vomiting 0 to 6 hours after eating.

The slower “diarrheal” form is caused by active bacteria or a large load of spores that germinate in the gut. It isn’t quite an infection, more a self-limiting infestation.
(B. cereus is a fairly normal gut microbe, but any disruption of the gut flora can cause diarrhea, until the gut achieves a new balance) Since it relies on bacterial growth, it usually doesn’t start for 8 to 16 hours, and usually lasts less than 24 hours after onset before the gut achieves a new equilibrium. The diarrhea can range from a small volume to profuse and watery. Drink lots of water.

You leave it to cool and store at room temperature? :eek: I’m surprised you’ve not been ill a lot. I suppose it’s possible that, if you’re removing the initial serving of rice while the pan is still piping hot, then replacing a close-fitting lid and leaving it to cool, that you’re in some way ‘canning’ the rice, but I’m still surprised you’ve got away with this on a regular basis.

OTOH, my neighbours, who are from Bangladesh, gave me some containers of hot chicken curry and rice late one night; I mentioned that I would probably refrigerate them and reheat the next day (as I had already eaten dinner) and they said there was no need to refrigerate them - they recommended just leaving it on the kitchen worktop. :eek:

Yeah, that’s about the way it works with Thai food as well. Don’t know if it’s just cast-iron stomachs or if there’s something in the chiles that kills the bacteria. Maybe a mix of both.

I’m not sure, but I thought that immunity to food poisoning was difficult to acquire, because of the way it works - either:

-Infectious food poisoning - you ingest a large dose of living pathogens and they set up shop in your gut, multiplying out of control, producing toxins that make you ill, and/or attacking the gut wall.


-Toxic food poisoning - the pathogens mutliply out of control in an improperly-stored food item, producing toxins. You eat the food and thr toxins make you ill (this can happen even if reheating has destroyed all of the living pathogens, as some toxins are heat resistant).

I suppose you could build up some kind of tolerance to the toxins, but my understanding was that food poisoning wasn’t something that you could become accustomed to.

We put the cooked rice in a plastic baggie and store it in the fridge. You can reheat the entire bag in the microwave (put it on a plate because the bag tends to break open when you lift it). If you take the rice out of the bag to reheat it, put a wet paper towel over the plate so retain moisture.

On several occasions, I have forgotten a container of cooked rice in the fridge, and it develops a distictive mold that is bright orange. Anybody else get this? What the heck is that?

I’ve heard a theory that food from hot countries tends to be highly spiced because many spices have an anti-bacterial action, no idea how valid that is.
(Not relevant to the rice anyway)

The rice tends to be eaten mixed with the spicy stuff, so it could be relevant.

I’m sure there is some truth in there; spices like turmeric, ginger and garlic do have antiseptic properties, however, I don’t think they’re necessarily all that strong in effect, or else you’d wipe out your gut flora every time you ate a curry. Part of the reason for highly spicing food in hot countries is (or has historically been) to mask the flavour of food that has already started to spoil.

I don’t understand why you would do this.

Even I, with my single guy cooking skills (or lack thereof), can quickly cook a batch of rice in the microwave. And it’s pretty hard to mess it up.

What’s the big advantage to cooking a whole lot on the weekend and storing it?

I only do it because it saves 25 minutes 4 times during the week. I get home later than I’m used to because of a new job, and even that 25 minutes helps a bit.