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How to freeze Japanese white rice for your bento lunch

How to freeze Japanese white rice for your bento lunch

Rice or ’onigiri’ is a staple in most Japanese bento meals. Whether you include rice in your daily lunches or not, you many not want to cook up fresh rice on a daily basis. Mom’s in Japan freeze pre-proportioned packets of rice to use on busy mornings. Rice actually freezes very well when you wrap portions while they are still warm. It main seems counterintuitive to do this, but the warm steam from freshly cooked rice actually helps retain the necessary moisture inside for when it’s time to re-heat. Once wrapped, let it rest on the kitchen counter until cool - then pop into the freezer.

When it’s time to re-heat your portion of frozen rice in the morning, place in the microwave with a little sprinkle of water on top to help re-moisten the rice. Be sure to cool it down again before closing up your bento box. Warm rice leads to condensation inside a closed box, and this can lead to spoilage. A trick is to start by pre-heating your rice, packing it in your bento box and letting it cool while you prep other ingredients. You can also place the warmed rice in the fridge to help cool it faster. If possible, include an ice pack in your lunch bag to help keep all the ingredients cool until lunchtime.

Hope this helps speed up your lunch making process!

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