This Is How You Should Be Reheating Leftover Rice

There's no denying that staple foods are an integral part of our diet. You know, those leading crops around the world like potatoes, wheat, maize, cassava, soybeans, and rice (via National Geographic). With rice specifically, about half of the world's population depends on it as their staple food. This versatile grain is usually cooked by boiling it, but rice can also be ground into flour or made into noodles or sake, a Japanese alcoholic beverage (per Britannica). Rice is used in many traditional and regional dishes around the world, and unfortunately, just like most food items, it's also facing the growing problem of wastage. 

For example, Recycle Track Systems reports that 40 million tons of food are wasted yearly in the U.S., which is the equivalent of each person throwing 650 apples in the garbage annually. As for rice wastage, Quartz revealed that "rice makes up over half of wasted cereals in Japan, China, and South Korea." Besides the obvious concern that rice wastage can lead to food shortage worldwide, wasted rice also emits greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in a huge carbon footprint that contributes to climate change. The good news is that, if properly stored, leftover rice can be reheated and enjoyed again. This can go a long in significantly reducing food waste everywhere. 

There are multiple way to reheat your rice

Rice is one of the most popular grains globally, and if you're a fan, you've probably enjoyed some traditional rice dishes around the world. India has biryani with basmati rice; Spain boasts paella made with short-grain rice such as bomba; Japan loves its different types of sushi; and Italy is beloved for its creamy risottos made with rice varieties such as arborio, carnaroli, or vialone nano (via Food And Road). And if you make lots of rice dishes, there will undoubtedly be leftover rice. The Pioneer Woman reports that there are a few ways in which you can reheat your leftover rice and add some moisture back to it in the process. 

If you're in a hurry, use your microwave and heat leftover rice with a small amount of water, so that it can regain some of its moisture. Make sure to cover the plate or dish with wet paper towels. You can also steam the rice in a saucepan while covering the pan with a lid. Alternatively, if you have time to spare; simply pop the rice in an oven-safe dish, cover the top, and bake the rice for about 20 minutes. 

Just be careful not to leave leftover rice out at room temperature for too long to prevent the growth of Bacillus cereus bacteria, which can cause food poisoning, per National Health Services. To ensure optimal flavor and safety, keep your leftover rice in the fridge for no more than a day before it's reheated.