Rice is comfort food for many of us!
Some of us love to have it any time of the day. Cooking rice at home also raises the possibility of leftovers. Not many of us complain, as rice tastes good even after a day it’s cooked, unlike some other foods.
However not all is hunky dory with leftover rice, as you’ll soon find out!
Dried, uncooked rice contains bacterial spores, which are immature forms of disease-causing pathogen, Bacillus cereus. When rice is cooked and maintained at room temperature for a period of time it provides the optimum milieu , in the form of water and nutrients, for the spores to germinate and multiply into active forms of the bacteria which produce toxins, as a by-product of growth. Some of these toxins are heat- stable, which means, they survive even after being boiled or cooked and come out more potent and vigorous after the rice is cooled. These toxins cause vomiting and diarrhea, which are common symptoms of food poisoning.
It is, therefore, important to refrigerate rice without wasting time, once you’ve finished eating. You might know that reheated leftovers can lead to a potent case of food poisoning, but you may not be aware that it is the amount of time you leave freshly cooked food at room temperature, before refrigerating it, that actually causes the food poisoning. Contrary to popular belief, reheating isn’t the actual culprit! Please take note and make sure to store your food in the appropriate manner.
Remember, the longer cooked rice is left at room temperature, greater are the chances for the heat-stable toxins to survive.
Tips to follow include:
- Once the rice is cooked, serve it hot.
- Do not cook large amount of rice and leave it at room temperature for a whole day. Some restaurants make a habit of it, as they take the rice they need from a large batch left at room temperature and reheat what is required
- Cool leftover rice for about an hour- not more – and quickly store it in the fridge.
- Make sure you reheat the rice for use within a day of cooking /storing
- While reheating, make sure the rice is heated to “steaming hot”, to make it safe for consumption.
- Make sure you do not reheat any food more than once.
- Be vigilant when dining out. If not sure, make enquiries about the food you’re ordering
It’s good to eat healthy, exercise caution and play by the rules to avoid side effects! After all, eating must be easy on your stomach and not upset it!
Now that you know what you should do and what you shouldn’t, what are you waiting for?
Go – Rice and shine!