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I must admit that I am a big fan of California Rolls. They bring back sweet memories of childhood when my parents and I enjoyed the tradition of eating sushi every week at our favorite restaurant. Even today, when I stop by that place to buy California Rolls, I prefer buying an extra that I can keep in the fridge and eat later.
But, I often wonder – How long do California rolls last in the fridge? I looked up for the answer and found that California sushi rolls can last for 24 hours in the fridge. However, if the roll has raw fish, it must be eaten within 24 hours. The ones containing cooked crab meat or fish can be kept for 2 days but the quality will decrease as the rice loses moisture and hardens.
Why California Roll Lasts Longer Than Traditional Sushi
Traditional sushi rolls contain raw fish and they must be eaten fresh (preferably within 24 hours) to enjoy the succulent taste. Raw fish starts deteriorating if you keep it outside without refrigeration for 30 minutes so it must be stored in the fridge immediately to prevent bacterial contamination.
Although some raw fish varieties can last in the fridge for 2-3 days, the quality will not be the same. Sushi experts recommend traditional sushi to be eaten within 24 hours when refrigerated because raw fish get spoiled quickly.
California rolls are the westernized version of traditional sushi containing cooked seafood instead of raw fish. This not only changes the taste but also increases the shelf life of the sushi rolls. While traditional sushi can spoil quickly due to bacterial growth, California roll containing cooked crab meat can last for a day or two in the fridge.
So, California rolls made with cooked crab meat as fillings can be eaten beyond 24 hours and even after 2 days when stored properly. Make sure you use vacuum-sealed bags to store California rolls in the fridge.
However, please bear in mind that the quality of sushi rice will decrease significantly depending on how long the roll had been sitting on the shelves. The quality of fish will also vary depending on the type of fish and how fresh the fish was at the time of making sushi (see my reviews sushi making kits).
How To Tell If The California Roll Is Bad, Rotten, Or Spoiled?
By following food safety techniques, you can prevent several types of foodborne illnesses. As a rule of the thumb, you must consume California rolls within 24 hours. If it is stored in a vacuum sealed bag inside a fridge, it may last for a day or two.
However, you can’t say how long the roll had been sitting in the store, so if the crab meat gives out a stinky smell or the rice feels too hard, the shelf life has probably expired. There are many health risks associated with eating rotten or spoiled foods so always trust your sense of smell and taste to tell if the roll is good enough to eat.
What Is The Right Way To Store California Rolls To Extend Shelf Life?
Pack the California rolls tightly together and wrap in a plastic cover to make them vacuum-sealed. You may then transfer them into an airtight container and store inside the refrigerator. The idea is to avoid contact with air to prevent any bacterial growth. With proper storage, these rolls can last for a day or two.
When preparing California rolls at home, you must use the freshest sea food (something you normally don’t find in the store bought stuff). Cooked crabmeat lasts longer than raw fish so you have an extra benefit with the California rolls.
What Are The 5 Ingredients That Go Inside California Roll
The most important thing that seafood Roll unique and different from traditional sushi rolls and nigiri sushi is that it does not contain any raw fish. This type of sushi roll can be easily prepared at home.
You need these 5 ingredients that lend California Roll a delicious taste.
CrabMeat (Real or Imitation): Tender and luscious cooked crab meat adds a distinct flavor to the roll. However, if you are allergic to crab meat, you may use imitation crab that is used as a popular substitute in several restaurants across the US.
Cucumbers: You may use Japanese or Persian cucumbers if they are available because they have fewer seeds in the middle section. Scrape out the seeds and then use the Julienne cutting technique to get long slices.
Avocado: Perfectly ripe avocados cut into small cubes impart that amazing zesty taste to your sushi roll. You may use other vegetable/ fruit variations such as bell peppers, green onions, mangoes, sweet potato, frozen banana and so on.
Mayonnaise: To get an authentic taste, look for Japanese mayo in the grocery store or buy from Amazon. If you don’t find Japanese mayonnaise, you may use American mayonnaise as a substitute. However, this is optional and you can leave out the mayo if you don’t like the taste.
Sesame Seeds: Adding toasted white sesame seeds can add a crunchy taste to the roll. You just need to toast the seeds in a frying pan for a few minutes until they start emitting flavor. You may also add the seeds to your crab meat mixture or use it to decorate your sushi rice.
How To Make California Rolls At Home
California Rolls may not be your traditional sushi roll, but they have most of the traditional ingredients you expect to find in sushi. If raw fish is not your thing or you are trying sushi for the first time in your life, these are the milder versions that taste great!
Ingredients for California rolls:
- Bamboo sushi mat to roll the sushi
- 8 nori sheets
- 2 cups sushi rice, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- 1 small cucumber, de-seeded and julienned cut (same length as nori sheets)
- 1 medium ripe avocado, julienned cut into 0.5 cm thick slices
- 3 ounces crabmeat, julienned(you may also use imitation crab meat)
- Soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger slices (optional)
You can have a look at my recommended Ingredient here
Take a large saucepan and mix water and rice. Let it stand for 30 minutes, put on a gas stove, and bring it to boil. Now reduce the heat, cover the sauce pan, and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes until the rice becomes tender. Remove from the stove and keep it covered for 10 minutes more.
Take another bowl and mix together vinegar, sugar, and salt until all solids properly dissolve in rice vinegar.
Transfer rice from saucepan to a shallow bowl and drizzle the vinegar mixture over it. Use a wooden paddle to stir rice and cool it. Now cover rice with a moist cloth and let it sit in room temperature. Remember not to refrigerate.
Place the bamboo sushi mat on a flat surface in a way that the mat rolls away from you. Line it with plastic wrap. Now, put 3-4 cups of rice over it and use a moistened spoon to press the rice into an 8-inch square. Top the rice layer with one nori seaweed sheet.
Add the filling of cucumber, avocado, and crab meat leaving out 1 or a ½ inch from the top and bottom edges. Now start rolling the bamboo mat with the rice layer over the filling. Compress the mixture and remove the plastic wrap as you roll
Sprinkle the toasted black sesame seeds on a plate (see my favorite sets). When the roll sushi is ready, roll it once again on the plate containing sesame seeds to add a crunchy texture to the outer surface of the roll.
Repeat the above steps with the remaining ingredients to make California rolls. Cut each roll into eight pieces and serve with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger slices.
Dragon Rolls are also my favorite non-traditional sushi. You guys must have a try this recipe since I have spent so many time to write and do research for this article.
Related Questions On California Rolls
What Is California Roll Called In Japanese
California Roll belongs to the sushi family and it is called ‘makizushi’ in Japanese. This kind of sushi contains real or imitation crab meat, cucumber, and avocado. This is an inside-out roll, named so due to the opposite style of wrapping which makes it different from the traditional sushi.
In a California roll, sushi rice forms the outer layer and nori or seaweed sheet goes inside. Toasted sesame seeds may be sprinkled on top of the roll to give it a crunchy texture. It may also be garnished with masago fish roes or tobiko for a more attractive presentation.
Related Article: Uramaki (Inside-Out Rolls)
How California Roll Got Its Name
When California rolls were introduced in the US in 1954, the Americans got their first ever sushi. It was a gateway to experience the exotic world of sushi. However, the western people did not appreciate raw fish or seaweed nori so this was replaced with cooked crab meat and different varieties of vegetables.
When it comes to how California roll got its name, people usually have a difference in opinions. Some believe that a sushi chef who owned a small Japanese restaurant in Los Angeles coined the name. Others credit a Canadian sushi chef named Hidekazu Tojo for popularizing this style of sushi in North America.
History has it that Tojo tried different variations of sushi to woo the western customers and the style with sushi rice outside and cooked crabmeat inside did the trick. At that time, his restaurant had many customers from Southern California so he named this type of sushi California Roll.
Why Is Imitation Crab Used In Making California Rolls?
If you are allergic to fish, you will be happy to know that California Rolls are completely safe for you as most of them served at restaurants contain no crab meat at all. They use imitation crab in the place of real crab meat and it tastes similar. You can also experiment with imitation crab when making California rolls at home.
If the term ‘imitation’ makes you panic then breathe easy. It is absolutely safe for consumption and tastes a lot like real crab meat. So, what is imitation crab? This is the red and white crabstick that is known as surimi in Japanese.
Surimi is made from pollock fish and various other ingredients like sugar, egg whites, and crab flavoring. This type of imitation crab has been used in Japan for centuries to make a variety of dishes. So, do not be fooled by that pink outer shell thinking it to be real crab meat. It is not!
Most of the store-bought California rolls contain imitation crab meat made of fish parts, sugar and carbs. On a positive note, the imitation crab helps in preserving the sea life by putting a control on over-fishing of crabs.
However, let’s not forget that imitation crab contains starch so it is not gluten-free. If you are not allergic to fish, I would suggest that you use real crab meat when making California rolls at home. The real thing contains double the potassium and protein content than its imitator.
5 Differences Between Japanese Sushi And California Rolls
#1. Style of rolling
The traditional sushi roll has sushi rice and vegetable fillings wrapped in a nori or seaweed sheet. To appeal the western consumers, the California rolls are flipped inside out to give you sushi rice on the outside and nori inside.
#2. Simple vs Complex
Japanese sushi is simpler with just one type of fish and some vegetables inside. The California rolls are packed with different varieties of fish and veggies. You can find California Rolls made with tuna, salmon, snapper, and yellow tail.
#3. Type of sushi rice used
Authentic sushi rolls use sticky sushi rice that is seasoned with vinegar, sugar, and salt. They use small white grained Japanese rice that is prepared at a specific temperature for sushi. In the western countries, white rice is often substituted with brown rice to attract the health-conscious consumers.
#4. Size of sushi slices
Japanese sushi is small in size and one plate usually consists of six one-bite type of pieces. The California rolls on the other hand have large pieces and each roll can be cut into eight big slices.
#5. The flavor
The traditional sushi has a more balanced flavor and you can tell the flavor of vinegar in sushi rice from the taste of fresh fish. Even though the California rolls feel great to eat, you cannot distinguish the flavors that much.
RELATED ARTICLE: Why is a California Roll Not Sushi?
The Final Words
Clearly, the California Rolls are a westernized take of the traditional sushi rolls made in Japan. They not only act as the gateway for the world to discover sushi but also give beginners a milder version to get a get of the thing.
What I like best about California Rolls is that they contain cooked crab meat instead of raw fish which means they can last a little more than traditional sushi. I can easily store it in the fridge and eat the next morning to relish the same great taste.
However, please rely on your senses and do not eat the roll if it smells or tastes bad. You may not know how long it had been sitting on the store shelf. If you have made them fresh at home, they store-bought for at least 2 days in the fridge when stored properly.
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