How to Safely Store Leftover Sushi
How to Safely Store Leftover Sushi

Sushi, if you don’t know is a traditional Japanese dish made with rice saturated with vinegar, along with some sugar or salt. The rice is wrapped into a roll and is also accompanied by a variety of ingredients, such as seafood, which can sometimes be raw or cooked, and vegetables.

Sushi is best consumed within minutes of being made, and cannot be stored long term. This is because it is not freezer friendly, so we would advise that you take your time in deciding how much sushi you should make or purchase so as to minimize leftovers.

But if you’ve accidentally made or bought too much Sushi, don’t despair, your sushi won’t be wasted if it is stored properly. However, storing Sushi requires some preparation as well as thought since it is one of those dishes that can’t be thrown into a refrigerator or freezer and forgotten.

This article will guide you on storing the leftover sushi well so it lasts for the next day and won’t be wasted.

How Long Does Sushi Lasts in the Refrigerator

Generally the time that sushi lasts in the refrigerator is dependent on the ingredients used, and on the temperature. Some spoil faster, others more slowly.

So as a rule of thumb for maximum freshness and quality sushi is best enjoyed within 24 hours from when it is made to being placed in the refrigerator.

How to Store Leftover Store Bought Sushi

Once you have opened the packaged store bought sushi, you must repack the sushi by wrapping every individual sushi in plastic wrap tightly together before placing into an airtight container in the refrigerator. Check the sell-by date and Don’t eat sushi after that point in time. Period!

Most prepackaged grocery store sushi has a 2-3 day shelf life. This is because rice for these rolls are over saturated with sushi rice dressing to compensate for the drying out of the rice. Also extra preservatives and corn syrup are often also added to the rice.

Tip

If you are buying store bought packaged sushi it is required by the FDA to be refrigerated. If it’s not in the refrigerated section of your supermarket, don’t buy it.   

How to Store Homemade Sushi Overnight or for 24 hours

Fresh homemade sushi can be stored for 24 hours in the refrigerator.

To do this however, you must:

  • First wrap each individual sushi roll with clear film or plastic wrap tightly
  • And then place them in a clean, dry container with an airtight lid in the refrigerator immediately.

While some people might want to store their sushi for a period longer than 24 hours in the refrigerator, we don’t advise that since the quality of sushi deteriorates after this period since:

  • The rice in the sushi begins to dry out in the refrigerator making it stiff and hard after just a few hours.
  • Traditional Sushi with raw fish is usually only good for 24 hours in the refrigerator too because the raw fish mixes with other ingredients in the sushi making it soggy as well as more susceptible to spoilage.  
  • Nori usually found in some sushi becomes tough and chewy in the refrigerator

If the seafood is cooked, it can be eaten for a day or two beyond the 24 hours, but the quality decreases quickly with each day mostly due to the rice losing moisture and becoming hard.

How to Store Home-Made Sushi for a few hours

If you have made fresh homemade sushi but not planning on eating it right away it needs to be placed in the refrigerator to prevent the growth of bacteria. Your sushi should only be left out for a minimum of 4 hours at room temperature where it will be exposed to varying temperatures or air.

Store your sushi for a couple of hours by placing the sushi directly in the refrigerator at temperatures between 13 degrees Celsius (55F) and 18 degrees Celsius (64F). Or by keeping it in a chilled display cabinet if you have one. There is no need to wrap the sushi individually.

If your sushi is left for period longer than 4 hours bacteria will begin to form on the rice. If rice is left at room temperature for eight hours or more a bacteria called Bacillus cereus will grow in it, which can make you sick.

Sushi, however is supposed to be eaten at room temperature when you are ready to eat your sushi take it out of the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature half an hour before using.

Additional Tips to Making and Storing Homemade Sushi

If you’ve made homemade sushi and would like to store the leftovers overnight at it’s best quality. You must make sure that your sushi has been prepared properly so that it will maintain good quality and remain fresh in the refrigerator. To do this you must:

  • Buy the freshest ingredients
  • Have the right tools
  • Use clean utensils and work surface
  • Work in the right environment and temperature
  • Know the correct steps
  • Proper storage practices

How to Know if your Sushi Has Gone Bad

If your sushi tastes or smells strange you should definitely discard it. Or if you see any signs of mold discard it without thinking.

Sushi with raw fish should be especially scrutinized, The raw fish should not have a fishy smell and should be firm to the touch.

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