Whenever you make too much food it can be a bit of a dilemma to choose between storing it for leftovers or discarding it entirely. Most of the time it is a lot better to store the food as long as you can and use it again. Of course, this stops a lot of waste. Yet if you are new to storing different foods, it can be a bit difficult to know how long to keep everything to make sure it stays fresh. Storing rice noodles is no exception.
What Are Rice Noodles?
Rice noodles are a very popular ingredient used in Asian cuisine. They are typically used in stir-fries, salads, and ramen dishes.
They are very similar to pasta noodles used in Italian cuisine. But the obvious difference is that they use rice flour as their main ingredient. Other ingredients can be added such as tapioca or corn starch. These help change the transparency or increase the gelatinous and chewy texture of the rice noodles.
They can be found easily in most stores, specifically in shops that specialize in Asian food. Rice noodles come fresh, frozen, or dried. They can also vary in shape, thickness, and texture depending on what type or brand you are buying.
What are Rice Noodles used for?
The most common dishes that rice noodles are used for are stir-fry meals. Stir-fry dishes can be from a lot of different cuisines yet Thai stir-fries most commonly use rice noodles.
Rice noodles can also be used noodle soup dishes in Asia. The noodles are combined with a rich and flavorful broth with a selection of meats and/or vegetables. The dish can also be topped with a boiled egg and other additives such as scallions.
These noodle soups are heavily regionalized and change from place to place. Generally of them follow the same concept of noodles, broth, and meat or vegetables.
How To Store Rice Noodles
Depending on what type of rice noodles you have, the storage methods may differ quite a bit. Not only will the storage methods differ, but the shelf life of your rice noodles will also vary depending on if they are fresh, dried, frozen, or cooked.
Storing Frozen Rice Noodles
If you buy rice noodles already frozen from a store then it is best to keep them frozen until you need to use them. This is as simple as placing them in your freezer once you get home.
How long do frozen Rice Noodles last?
On the packaging of the noodles, there will be an indicator as to how long you should keep them frozen. This will vary depending on how long they have already been frozen, but the benchmark is about 2 months before they should be used up.
Storing Cooked Rice Noodles
If you are storing some leftover rice noodles that have been previously cooked then you will want to store them in an airtight container or a plastic bag, preferably Ziploc.
Before placing the rice noodles in your container, make sure they are dry and cool beforehand. This is important as warm noodles will cause condensation and this extra moisture will make your noodles soggy. While waiting for them to cool it is essential that they are not left at room temperature for more than 2 hours as this will be a prime time for harmful bacteria to multiply.
When storing cooked rice noodles in the fridge you may notice that they tend to stick together. In the long run, this will be an issue as they are difficult to separate. So it is best to take some preventative action to stop this.
You can wash your rice noodles with cold water to remove their starch coating. Afterwards, toss them around in oil. You can use any oil you choose as some will give the noodles a bit of flavor. Once they are evenly coated in the oil, you can drain any excess and store them. To be extra thorough you can either store portions of rice noodles in different containers or layer them with plastic wrap in the same container.
How long do cooked Rice Noodles last?
If placed in the fridge following the above directions, your rice noodles will remain fresh for 3-4 days. This is plenty of time to plan another meal around them and use them up. But if not, they can alternatively be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Storing Fresh Rice Noodles
If you have fresh, uncooked rice noodles that you want to store then it is as simple as placing them in an airtight container in the fridge. This is simple but might result in them sticking to each other. To prevent this you can layer them with plastic wrap in portions so that when you cook them, they are less tangled.
How long do fresh Rice Noodles Last?
In the fridge, the fresh rice noodles will last for 4 days easily. If you plan on eating them the next day then you do not need to bother with an airtight container but anything over a day is worth it as this will stop them from losing their texture. After being stored, they can be cooked as normal and will remain safe to eat.
Storing Dried Rice Noodles
Dried rice noodles will typically come in airtight plastic packaging. Inside this will be several portions of your noodles in a woven-disk shape. This entire packaging can be stored in a pantry or cupboard for 6-12 months easily. Once the packaging is opened, the noodles might start to lose their texture. It is best to store them in an airtight container and place them back in the cupboard or pantry.
How long do dried Rice Noodles last?
As they have been dried and coated with a preservative, dried rice noodles can last anywhere from 6 months to an entire year. This is great if you want to have them in stock just in case you eventually want to use them. They can be placed in your pantry and forgotten about until they are needed.
Can you freeze Rice Noodles?
While you can buy frozen rice noodles from the store, you may wonder if you can freeze your cooked or raw rice noodles. The answer is, yes.
It is essential to dry them off before doing so. Portioning them will help a lot to stop them from getting tangled. Once the rice noodles are at room temperature you can place them in the freezer. They will be fresh for up to 2 months.
It is best to take extra care with fresh, uncooked rice noodles as they will be more likely to stick to each other. You can get a portion of them, twirl them into a disk shape, and flash freeze these on a baking sheet before placing them in an airtight container.
How to Thaw Frozen Rice Noodles
Thawing rice noodles is very easy but takes a bit of forward-thinking. The best way to thaw them is to leave your rice noodles in the fridge overnight as this will slowly and naturally thaw them. It is inadvisable to use a microwave for this.
Once naturally thawed in the fridge, your rice noodles will be ready to use in any way you want to. It is also not recommended that you refreeze them. After being used, you can safely store them in the fridge for an extra 3 days but after this, they are best to be discarded.
Best Way To Store Rice Noodles
If you are wanting to store your rice noodles for a couple of days then placing them in the fridge is going to be your best option. Nothing beats fresh rice noodles. It is going to be optimal to eat them while fresh. But a close second is storing them in the fridge until you can eat them the following day. The texture and flavor will be slightly worsened but not by too much.
For anything long-term, you will want to freeze them. This will keep them fresh for up to 2 months. They can easily be thawed in the fridge overnight before the day of consumption.
FAQs on Storing Rice Noodles
The date on noodles is going to be a recommended ‘use by’ date to show how long ago they were made and how fresh they are. Eating them past this date will not cause food poisoning or anything similar and will only result in maybe a slightly less fresh serving of rice noodles. They will still be fine to eat but may have a worse texture than normal.
Uncooked rice noodles will last for 3-4 days in the fridge before they should be eaten. They will have a worsened texture and a more subtle flavor than if you were to eat them on the first day, but that is to be expected when storing food.
The best way to tell if they are bad is to smell them. If there is any odor that is not meant to be there, then you will know they are in need of discarding. If their physical appearance is also off then it is recommended to throw them away.