How Long Does Sushi Last? (Detailed Explanation)

How Long Does Sushi Last? (Detailed Explanation)

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If you love sushi and enjoy making the delicacy at home, chances are you will have some leftovers. Will it last until tomorrow? Will it be good enough to eat after two days? I know many people out there find themselves in a dilemma so I will try to explain here.

How Long Does Sushi Last? If the sushi contains raw fish, it can last for 24 hours if refrigerated. If the fish stays out in room temperature for more than 4 hours, it should be cooked or tossed out. Sushi containing cooked meat and vegetables can last for a day or two, but the quality decreases rapidly.

For example, California rolls (click to see recipe) use cooked crabmeat, Philadelphia rolls use smoked salmon, and tempura shrimp rolls use deep-fried shrimp. You can still enjoy the leftovers beyond the 24 hours limit, up to 2 days, however, the sushi rice will lose moisture and harden with every passing day.

I advise people to eat sushi immediately to avoid the dilemma later on. Besides the sushi rice losing its texture and becoming tasteless, the Nori (if used) also grows soggy. So, the overall taste of sushi deteriorates considerably.


Why Is There An Expiration Date For Sushi

Whether you buy sushi rolls from a supermarket or you make them at home, there will always be an expiration date associated with it. No matter how much you love that spicy tuna roll you bought last night and forgot to eat, you need to follow food safety practices to prevent foodborne illnesses.

If you bought the sushi roll from a grocery store, you don’t know how long it had been sitting out on the shelves. Even if you refrigerate the sushi, always use your senses to tell if the fish has gone bad. If it smells like fish, chances are it had been sitting out on the shelves for a long time hence you should toss it away.

When you prepare sushi at home using the properly vinegared rice and sushi-grade fish, you are more in control of how long your food can last. If you refrigerate immediately, you can eat the sushi the next day without any health risks.

How To Tell If The Sushi Is Spoiled Or Rotten

Things You Should Know About Eating Sushi

Sushi experts reveal that spoilage can be of two types. The physical decomposition pertains to discoloration of fish, loss of texture, bad taste, and odor.  The second type of spoilage is more alarming and is related to the presence of pathogens that cause foodborne illness.

Although people immediately think about the quality of raw fish when talking about the shelf life of sushi, this is the second essential ingredient. The first and most important ingredient is the rice and cooked rice left at room temperature for more than 8 hours becomes a breeding ground for bacteria called Bacillus cereus.

As a result, sushi rice is prepared by dressing it with vinegar. The acidic nature of vinegar lowers the pH level to 4.2, which does not allow the bacteria to germinate. After 24 hours, the vinegar rice may still not be infected but the physical deterioration sets in. The rice will lose moisture, turn pale and start stinking.

Raw fish will have a putrid smell when rotten, and the outer skin may turn slimy. If the sushi contains vegetables or fruits instead of fish, they may turn acidic, get discolored, and smell bad if kept outside without refrigeration for more than 24 hours.

Tips To Make Your Sushi Last Longer

As a sushi fan and expert, I would urge everyone to order and make only as much sushi you can consume in one sitting. As this Japanese delicacy has a short shelf life, anything extra is subject to various factors when it comes to deciding its suitability for consumption after some time.   

Here are a few tips that can help you stay economical and make sushi last longer:

Save only what is ‘savable’

Yes, and by that, I mean what is fresh. It goes without saying that sushi is always made from the freshest ingredients – freshly vinegared sushi rice, green vegetables, fresh fruits, and sushi-grade fish. Avoid storing anything that you think is already on the verge of deterioration.

Save only what you think is fresh and can retain their taste and texture for the next 24 hours. When in doubt, just toss it out. Storing something that you don’t plan to eat within 24 hours is not a good idea.

Plastic wrap to avoid exposure to air and outside smell

To make your sushi last longer, you must pack them tightly and wrap in a plastic sheet to ensure it is not exposed to air before placing it into an airtight container. Then store it inside the refrigerator. It is essential to save food properly, or it may come in contact with other food smells inside the fridge.

Stick to the 24-hours rule

Freshly-prepared sushi can be successfully stored for 24 hours in the refrigerator without risking your health. Saving leftover sushi beyond this time limit compromises with the quality of sushi. So, how does the store sushi has 2-3 days shelf life?

Well, the rice used in these rolls is overly saturated using the sushi vinegar dressing.  This prevents the rice from drying out. Corn syrup and extra preservatives may also be added at times to increase the shelf life of sushi rice. 

Within 30 minutes

If you are out of town and have leftover sushi with you, make sure you can reach home and refrigerate it within 30 minutes. If you are not headed straight for home, you must have second thoughts about taking sushi with you, particularly if it has raw fish.

Alternatively, if you have a sushi dinner at home, pack the leftovers and refrigerate it as soon as you can. It is better to use only as much raw fish as you can consume in one sitting and store the rest in the refrigerator. If you need more, take a few slices but avoid keeping them all at the table.

Use a damp cloth to prevent drying out

To prevent sushi rice from drying out, take two lint-free kitchen towels and wet them with cool water. Squeeze out extra water and lay one towel flat on the table. Put the sushi pieces to be saved on the towel and cover with another towel.

Now wrap the towel-covered sushi using plastic sheet and store inside the refrigerator. This technique helps in retaining the moisture in sushi rice, but it doesn’t help the texture of nori. It works best for nigiri and inside-out sushi rolls.

What’s The Right Way To Store Raw Fish

Ideally, I would say it is better to consume all the sushi-grade raw fish you bought from the trusted fishmonger on the same day. However, things may not always go as planned, and life comes in the way. So, whether you plan to make sushi later or use a small portion of the fish and store the rest, it is essential to do it the right way.

Make sure you don’t keep it inside the freezer. Instead, store it inside a sealed bag and put on ice inside the fridge.  The fish should not directly come in contact with the ice.

If you are using shellfish, put inside a bowl and cover with paper towel. Now, keep this inside the refrigerator. Seafood like clams and oysters should be covered with a damp paper towel to allow it to drain inside the fridge.

Related article: How To Choose Salmon For Sushi?

30-mInutes Microwave Hack To Spring Sushi To Life

There are few things in life more disappointing than pulling out a row of limp and cold store-bought sushi when you are dying with hunger. The stiff rice and somewhat-off fish can make you feel miserable. But, wait! There’s a quick hack to revive your nigiri or sushi rolls.

Just microwave at 500 Watts for about 30 seconds and watch as the heat waves bring the sushi pieces back to life. Stiff and frozen rice becomes tender and moist again. Raw slices of fish and vegetables cook with the rice in the microwave to give you a perked –up sushi roll. 

Related Questions

How long does sushi last after you take it out of the fridge?

If the sushi contains raw fish, it can last for about 4 hours in room temperature. After 4 hours, you must discard the fish even if it does not smell foul. The sushi rice may also start deteriorating after 4 hours. If your sushi contains cooked meat or vegetables instead of raw food, they will also lose texture after some time.

Can I freeze leftover sushi?

While you can freeze sushi, I will suggest that you don’t because freezing and thawing results in a change of flavor and texture. Furthermore, thawing takes some time, and this creates a risk of bacterial contamination. Thus, refrigerating is the only safe option. You can have more detailed information in this article.

What temperature is right for refrigeration?

To keep your sushi fresh for longer, you must adjust the temperature of the refrigerator a little above freezing. Remember to wrap the sushi in a cling film and store inside a sealed bag or airtight container.

What to do if the sushi has gone bad

Use your senses to tell if the sushi has gone bad. If it leaves a stinking odor, discard the sushi right away. If the rice looks too mushy when kept at room temperature or rock solid when stored inside a fridge, you must think twice before consuming it.

Similarly, if the seafood stinks or has a slimy texture, discard it immediately. If the sushi has crossed the 24-hours limit in the fridge, it’s better to toss the food away even if it looks edible.

Related Article: Do You Reheat Sushi?:


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