Here's Why You Can Add Vinegar To Your Steamed Rice

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Rice can go bad. This is a natural thing and it happens. Many of us who are accustomed to eating rice with every meal know that, when the day is over, any leftover rice needs to be properly stored. This means it needs to be stored cooled completely, transferred to a dry container, and covered. 

These precautions help prevent food poisoning from cooked rice. 

If you have rice from your leftover baked sushi, you may notice that it lasts longer than your usual rice. That's because this rice has been treated differently from rice that's just cooked in water. It's commonly seasoned with a vinegar solution. This is a combination of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. This is mixed in with freshly steamed Japanese rice and then left to be absorbed by the still hot and steaming rice. Some of this vinegar evaporates along with the steam and results in rice that's just a little tangy but still tastes delicious. 


The vinegar in the rice does a few things: 

  1. 1 The vinegar seasons the rice. 
  2. 2 The vinegar prevents the rice kernels from sticking together. 
  3. 3 Vinegar added to rice (and other starches) allegedly reduces the glycemic index of the rice. 

You already know sushi rice is delicious but the other reason it's added is that it stops sticky rice like the Japanese rice from being too sticky. This is helpful when making sushi. This is also helpful if you like your rice a little drier than and separate instead of wet and sticky.

Adding vinegar may be the secret to perfectly fluffy steamed rice

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The last reason is for those who are concerned with their sugar intake. In the study, the rice was served or prepared with other ingredients. This included vinegar, dairy, and yogurt. These three ingredients were shown to be successful in lowering the glycemic index or the scale that measures how carbohydrates like starch from rice make a person's blood sugar levels rise. This is good news for those who are watching their sugar intake. 

If you're a fan of sushi rice, you can use this same method of preparing rice when you prepare your everyday rice, too. If you want to try this out but fear that your rice will taste sour every time, you can add as little as 1 teaspoon vinegar to the water of your rice before cooking. 

A word of caution: Adding vinegar is not meant to mask the aroma and taste of the leftover rice. You should still note other signs of spoilage and not to ignore these to avoid food poisoning. Here are signs leftover rice has spoiled:

  • • Rice smells funky and sour. 
  • • Rice is mushy after thawing.
  • • Rice has developed mold.
  • • Rice has bugs and other signs of insects.
  • • Rice is super sticky or slimy. 



Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

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