Brown rice is considered a whole grain and can go bad if not stored properly. This article discusses brown rice storage, which includes what temperature to store the food at, how long you should keep it for and more.
Brown rice will go bad if left out for too long. There are a few ways to tell if it’s already gone bad. The first way is to smell the rice. If you can smell anything, it’s probably gone bad and should be thrown away. The second way is to check the color of the rice. It should be a dark brown color, but not black or gray in color.
Brown rice has been a staple grain across the globe for millennia, and most home chefs have a large bag in their cupboard. However, how long will the rice last in your pantry? Is it worth purchasing the five-pound bag of brown rice if it goes bad?
Brown Rice: Is It Possible For It To Go Bad?
While most types of rice may be kept forever, uncooked brown rice has a shelf life of just six to eight months in the cupboard. This is due to the increased oil content in the bran (outer shell) of white rice, which has been polished off. Storing uncooked brown rice in the refrigerator will extend its shelf life to approximately a year, while storing it in the freezer will extend its shelf life to about a year and a half.
Cooked brown rice, like other cooked items, has a much shorter shelf life and will only keep for approximately five days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Image used under Creative Commons from Rob & Dani
Smelling your brown rice to see if it’s gone bad is an easy way to tell whether it’s gone bad. Fresh brown rice will have no odor, however rotten brown rice will have a strong disagreeable stench. If you miss this crucial indicator and eat the rotten rice, you’ll likely have stomach problems and rice that tastes awful.
Insect infestations are another method for brown rice and other grains to deteriorate. Once the bag is opened and resting in your cupboard, insects may contaminate brown rice, eating it as well as laying their eggs. Grain moths and weevils are two of the most common pests. If you see insects in your grains, you can be sure they’re infected. Other indicators include holes drilled into the rice grains, a dusty look to the grains, and little eggs and larvae mixed in with the rice. The grains are best suited for the compost pile at this time and should not be ingested.
Brown rice that has been improperly kept and is exposed to excessive moisture may begin to develop mold. This may be avoided by keeping the rice in a firmly sealed container and storing it in a cool area, but any rice that shows evidence of mold development should be thrown.
Cooked rice that has gone bad will harden as it loses moisture and will eventually mold. The rice should not be ingested if there are any evidence of mold development.
Brown Rice Storage Suggestions
If you decide to keep your brown rice in the pantry, keep it sealed at all times to keep insects and moisture out. Anecdotal evidence suggests that storing dried bay leaves and garlic cloves in a sealed container of uncooked rice can deter insects. Another way to keep brown rice fresh is to put it in an airtight container with an oxygen absorber (if you can locate one!). Any eggs, insects, or mold will be effectively suffocated, reducing the risk of spoiling. However, this procedure will not prevent rancidity in the rice bran oil.
Finally, keeping uncooked brown rice in the freezer for up to two years should extend its shelf life. Insects and mold should not be able to develop as a result of this. Because of the very low moisture level, the rice does not need to be thawed and may be cooked straight from the freezer. Cooked brown rice may also be frozen for up to six months in a properly sealed container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat with butter or a sauce to replace any moisture that has been lost.
Brown rice can go bad, but it is not as easy to determine when this happens. The best way to tell if your rice has gone bad is to smell it and look at the color of the rice. If you notice a change in color or smell, then your brown rice may have gone bad. Reference: what happens if you eat expired rice.
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