Can cooked rice turn into maggots Rice: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Cooked rice is one of the staples of the human diet, being regularly eaten by more than half of the world’s population. However, despite its widespread consumption, many people don’t know what goes on inside their body when they consume it, nor do they understand how it can be turned into something that we would rather not eat! You may not know these facts about cooked rice!
The good – Rice is a staple food all over the world
It’s cheap to grow; it doesn’t need a lot of water; it stores well. As an edible grain (actually a kind of grass), rice is also one of humanity’s oldest crops—and not just humans enjoy eating it! Rice is fed to all kinds of livestock, from chicken to pigs. In fact, more than one-fifth of all animal protein consumed by humans comes from animals that have been fed rice.
And what about human nutrition? The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 75 percent of rural families in developing countries rely on rice as their main source of calories. In 2014, world production was over 489 million tons. That’s roughly 11⁄2 pounds per person per day. All this means rice is an essential food for a very large percentage of people on Earth.
Yet there are problems with rice that range from inconvenient to deadly. For example, most varieties can’t be grown where temperatures fall below 20°C (68°F), so farmers must contend with changing weather patterns or try more expensive options like irrigation systems or genetically modified seeds.
The bad – Old rice can grow bacteria
Although cooked rice may not seem appetizing to you, cooked rice is ideal breeding ground for bacteria. As a food that has been sitting out in your kitchen for days, weeks or even months at a time without going bad, it’s more likely than other foods to harbor harmful bacteria. In fact, if left at room temperature for two hours—and especially if left uncovered—uncooked rice can also grow dangerous bacteria like salmonella.
The best way to prevent both kinds of bacterial growth is to keep your rice refrigerated after cooking it. And don’t forget about it! Before cooking rice purchased from a store, check the expiration date on the label.
If you have stored uncooked rice for an extended period of time (i.e., more than 6 months), discard it because its nutrient content starts to break down during this period. However, when buying from a bulk bin, be sure to take note of any signs of insect infestation as that’s another indication that your grain has turned into maggots.
The ugly – Maggots in your rice
People often wonder if it’s possible for a cooked dish to turn into maggots. As long as food is sealed properly and refrigerated immediately after cooking, that won’t happen. However, if you see maggots in your rice but can’t find any other indication of spoiled food in your home or nearby, you should contact a pest control professional to assess whether flies are present.
If so, they’ll need to treat your home with insecticides because flies lay eggs that eventually turn into maggots. Brown rice has a lot of health benefits over white rice, according to some studies.
But that isn’t always true. While there are differences between the two types of rice, when it comes to weight management, you’re more likely to lose weight by decreasing portion size rather than switching from one type of rice to another. The bad – Rice allergies:
The second thing many people think about when they think about rice is allergies caused by some forms of this grain product.
Signs of old or bad rice
Properly storing your rice can help prevent it from spoiling. If you’re using a brown or white bag of rice to make a meal, transfer leftovers into airtight containers as soon as possible. Rice exposed to air can become stale and lose its flavor.
Leftover grains that have been refrigerated or frozen will last much longer than those left in their original packaging; just be sure to take them out of their airtight containers at least 20 minutes before cooking so they have time to come back up to room temperature. Check packages for expiration dates, too!
One other sign of old rice is if it has begun to sprout. That means bacteria has already taken hold and could eventually lead to maggots if not dealt with quickly.
How to store your rice properly
One of biggest reasons people store rice incorrectly is that they aren’t sure how to do it. The reality is that proper storage isn’t hard—you just need to remember three things. First, always keep your rice in a tightly sealed container so it doesn’t dry out; using a bag or canister makes sure you don’t end up with bugs.
Second, always keep your rice in a cool, dark place because light and heat will accelerate spoilage. Third (and I know I said there were only two), check on your rice regularly to make sure it’s not starting to mold or go bad; if it looks bad even before you open it, throw it away immediately and start over with new rice.
Why am I giving you this advice when I haven’t even discussed maggots? Maggots are another potential problem for stored rice, but here’s the thing: if you follow these three steps and cook your rice correctly from the beginning, then maggots won’t be an issue!
How to cook your rice properly
When it comes to properly cooking rice in order to reduce potential health risks (and even get rid of those pesky maggots), there are a few things you need to consider. Most importantly, don’t cook your rice longer than necessary. Overcooked rice is likely to have lost much of its nutrients and become starchy; it’s also more susceptible to infestation from weevils and other pests.
Also, make sure you rinse your uncooked rice before you begin cooking—we can all agree that washing uncooked foods goes without saying. You want to do this because while raw rice is coated with a naturally occurring substance called saponin, when heated the saponin reacts with protein in the grains and creates what some people refer to as an off-flavor. The process of rinsing away excess starch can help eliminate this problem.
Next up, try using low heat while cooking your rice so that it cooks slowly but evenly over time.