Does Black Rice Go Bad? How Long Can You Keep Black Rice?

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Does Black Rice Go Bad

Does black rice go bad? In the interest of food safety and economy, we will explore prepared and uncooked black rice, if they go bad, how to tell when they do and how long you can expect black rice to stay usable after you buy it.

Black rice is an ancient grain that has grown in popularity over the last few years. Cherished in Asia for eons it has not been widely used in the west until recently. This means many are unfamiliar with it and limited information is available.

Let’s get started!

black rice grains

Can Black Rice Go Bad?

Like any starch, black rice, also called forbidden rice or emperor’s rice, can go bad once it is cooked. The high moisture content of the grains and the readily available food source they present are ideal for microbial growth. If left in a warm humid environment, cooked black rice can go bad in as little as a few hours. Refrigerated it can last for 2-3 days and still be safe to reheat and serve.

black rice steamed

How to Tell if Black Rice is Bad?

To tell if black rice is bad is fairly simple. The first sign most people notice is a sickly sour aroma when its container is opened. Another sure black rice has passed its prime is that the grains themselves will become rather mushy and have an oily or slimy feeling. 

If you fail to notice the above, one taste should be all it takes to tell your forbidden rice has gone bad. It can be difficult to describe but recycled beer vomit would come close. It is a forbidding flavor.

black rice vacuum sealed

Can Uncooked Black Rice Go Bad?

Yes, uncooked black rice can go bad. If exposed to moisture it can easily mold or surrender to other forms of fungal growth. It can also become contaminated by insects. 

Properly sealed emperor’s rice will last approximately 3 months without any ill effects. This time frame can be doubled with refrigeration and freezing can extend the storage life of raw black rice to over a year. 

Regardless of how long you have had your forbidden rice, if you notice any change in color, texture, or smell you should discard the black rice immediately. 

Most black rice is sold un-milled or semi-milled, a large portion of the black color is due to the bran still being attached to the grains, the oils in this outer layer can also go rancid. A noticeable change in scent and slick feeling grains are signs that this has taken place. 

Never gamble on eating bad food. When in doubt, throw it out.

black rice in a bowl

How Long Can You Keep Uncooked Black Rice?

While it is considered shelf-stable food, black rice left in a pantry, cabinet, or similar area should be used within 3 months. If kept in airtight containers and refrigerated its shelf life can be extended to 6-12 months. When frozen it will stay fresh for a year to a year and a half. Freezing can have some effect on taste though. 

To store uncooked black rice for extended periods it is best to place it in vacuum-sealed containers. Stored in this manner in a cool dry place uncooked black rice can be stored for years. 

rice in mason jars

Typical Black Rice Expiration Date from Purchase

The typical black rice expiration date from the time of purchase depends greatly on where the rice is from and how it is packaged. Black rice that has been vacuumed sealed by the processing company may not expire for several years if left unopened. 

Black rice bought in bulk containers designed to keep it moisture-free may be labeled suggesting a year or more. Commonly packed emperor’s rice in un-resealable packaging could have as short a lifespan as a month from the time of purchase and many packages of black rice, especially those imported from Asia, will have no markings at all.

Of greater concern is properly storing the rice after it has been opened.