Cooked Rice Storage

Good to Know in General

Generally, the bacteria that can cause food poisoning multiply quickest in temperatures between 4˚ and 60˚ C (40˚ and 140˚ F). This is why either continuous warming or refrigeration is recommended.

What About Cooked Rice?

When not consumed right away, cooked rice should be kept warm above 60˚ C (140˚ F), or it should be cooled down to 21º C (70º F) or lower within 2 hours and then to 4º C (40º F) or lower within 4 hours.

Cooked rice may be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days, or frozen up to 6 months.

Why So?

Raw, uncooked rice (among many other foods) may contain bacterial spores, specifically Bacillus cereus. These spores are deactivated by cooking and subsequent warming and /or refrigeration. But they can reactivate given sufficient time at room temperature.

In our own kitchen any cooked food that is not consumed by the afternoon of the next day is appreciated by the chickens and the fish.

What About Sticky Rice?

The above rules apply to all forms of rice, including sticky rice.

Interestingly, the traditionally practiced way of storing cooked sticky rice in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia is in a fairly tightly packed bamboo basket (กระติบ - kratib), without heating and without refrigeration for a good part of the day, in a fairly warm daytime climate. The rice is either fully consumed or is reheated by steaming at the end of the day. While the practice is common in this region, we do not recommend it for those who are not used to it. We have found no sources describing the storage characteristics of this local tradition. The subject deserves academic attention.

In traditional local use the kratib serves as both a storage and a serving basket, in English language it is solely referred to as a serving basket. Note also that the practice exclusively involves sticky long-grain rice, and not any other type of rice.


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