How Long Does Rice Last? Shelf Life, Storage, and More Explained

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People in Asia and countries in the Pacific consider rice as their staple food.

It is the energy source of almost half of the world’s population – that is how vital rice is. 

While there are different types of rice available in the market, you should know how to store it properly.

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The right techniques can help keep your rice fresh and flavorful for a long time, cooked or uncooked.

Let us do some crash course on how rice of various types lasts!

Shelf Life of Rice: Uncooked and Cooked

Well, uncooked rice lasts longer than cooked ones. However, dry or uncooked rice still has its expiration. Its shelf life depends on the variety of rice and how you store them. 

Here are the different varieties of rice that are primarily available in the market:

Brown Rice

Uncooked Brown Rice

This type of rice can last for three (3) to six (6) months at room temperature. It can last about six (6) to twelve months inside the fridge.

You can preserve your quality within twelve (12) to eighteen months when it’s in the freezer. 

However, note that brown rice has higher oil content than other types of rice. As a result, storing it inside the pantry will cause it to spoil quickly. 

Cooked Brown Rice

Cooked brown rice may be kept in the refrigerator for four days if adequately covered. It will keep its quality in the freezer for six months, but it will stay safe eternally as long as the temperature is below 0 degrees F. 

However, you should not leave it at room temperature for more than two hours. Do not take chances!

White Rice

Uncooked White Rice

White rice’s shelf life depends mainly on storage conditions like brown rice. However, unlike brown rice, white rice can stay edible over a long period, in some instances, indefinitely. 

Uncooked white rice can maintain its quality and flavor for three (3) to six (6) months. When kept inside the fridge or freezer, you can extend its shelf life up to years. 

Cooked White Rice

When stored inside the fridge, cooked rice can last for four (4) to six (6) days or even a week. When kept inside the freezer, it will last for four (4) to six (6) months.

For safe consumption, when you leave your rice at room temperature, make sure to eat it within two hours. Hot weather can induce your rice to spoil faster.

Jasmine Rice

Uncooked Jasmine Rice

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Dry Jasmine rice can last up to four (4) to five (5) years inside the pantry. But, when you decide to keep it inside a fridge or a freezer, it will become consumable indefinitely. 

Cooked Jasmine Rice

A cooked Jasmine Rice can only last for two (2) hours when left at room temperature. It can still be consumable after 4 to 5 days when kept inside the fridge. And, two months if you store it in the freezer.

Is Rice Safe to Consume After The Indicated Expiration Date?

Usually, rice has the best by dates and no expiration dates on its packaging. This means that you can still safely use them beyond the said dates.

However, you cannot expect the same flavorful and high-quality outcome similar to when you just bought it. 

Therefore, you can still cook white rice even beyond its best before date. You need to make sure that you store it properly. There should be no damage or holes in the bag or container. 

How To Properly Store Brown Rice

Here is the general rule to maximize the shelf life of brown rice: store it in a cool and dry area.

A Ziploc or any resealable plastic bag is the best option to keep the rice inside the freezer. After opening the pack of brown rice, immediately transfer it to an airtight container.

Placing the brown rice inside the freezer will extend its shelf-life further. Ensure that you use heavy-duty freezer bags to avoid the moisture from seeping in. 

How To Properly Store White Rice

Store the white rice inside a sealed, tight container after opening its package. Ensure that the area is not humid, so the grains absorb no moisture.

Inside the fridge, place it in a freezer bag. Storing the white rice inside the refrigerator can prevent bugs and dust contamination.

What Is The Proper Way of Freezing Cooked Rice?

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Freezing is one of the best ways to ensure that your cooked rice will have a more extended shelf-life. This process is straightforward and convenient. Here are some steps to freeze your cooked rice:

  1. You should divide the rice into meal-sized portions.
  2. Let it cool down. You should not store the rice hot.
  3. If the rice is cool already, you can now transfer it into resealable freezer bags. 
  4. Before sealing the bags, make sure to remove them inside to lessen the moisture.
  5. You can add the date of storage if you want.
  6. Put the rice inside the freezer.

If you want to consume the frozen rice or cold rice, you may use a microwave or non-stick pan or leave it overnight inside the fridge.

Pro Tip: Garlic cloves and dried bay leaves can drive away insects from your rice. A clean rice cooker will further extend the shelf-life of your cooked rice as it prevents the growth of bacteria.

How to Know If Your Rice Has Gone Bad

Not sure if your rice is still good to consume? Here are some of the things you should check:

Odor

After months of storing your uncooked rice, especially the brown one, you can tell that it is terrible if you can smell some rancid odor.

This unpleasant smell is from the oxidation of the fatty acids present in the grains. On the other hand, cooked rice can be sour or funky.

Mold

Another indication that your rice is already spoiled is if there is mold growth.

When you use containers that are not capable of sealing tightly, grains will absorb the moisture of the place. Cooked rice is more likely to become a mold breeding ground since it is more moist.

Texture

There will be a change in color and texture when your dry rice has gone bad. You will notice a dry, stiff, crumbly feel. On the other hand, cooked rice will have a slimy and oily texture. 

Insects

Bug infestations are exceptionally common when you store your rice in an unsealed bag inside the pantry or kitchen cupboard.

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You can observe some meal moths or rice weevils inside the bag. Rice is their primary source of food. Over time, it will get dusty and contaminated with eggs and larvae.

Dangers of Eating Improperly Handled Rice

Food Poisoning

When left at room temperature, cooked rice can go bad faster than when kept inside the fridge.

The wrong storage process, including temperature changes, can allow Bacillus cereus to thrive. It is a bacteria that can cause food poisoning by releasing toxins.

Symptoms

The symptoms of food poisoning include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration

The symptoms will show 1 to 5 hours after eating spoiled rice, but they will typically disappear within 24 hours.

However, if you are already experiencing extreme dehydration, you need immediate medical attention.

Indigestion

Aside from spoiled rice, raw rice or half-cooked rice can also be dangerous when eaten.

You can experience digestive issues due to Lectin, a protein found only in uncooked rice. High amounts of lectin intake can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and digestive tract damage. You may feel the same symptoms as food poisoning. To avoid this scenario, rinse the grains thoroughly, cook the rice well, and observe proper storage.

Final Thoughts

Proper storage and rice preparation are the key factors to how long it will last. As you learn a lot of ideas from this article, do not forget to trust yourself.

Your instinct can also help determine whether your rice, cooked or uncooked, is already in its bad state.







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