People generally have the same expectations about rice since rice can be white, brown, red, or black. When cooked, the rice should be soft, fluffy, and chewy or slightly sweet and nutty.
However, if you recently prepared rice or you’re reheating leftover rice and noticed the rice has turned blue, you’ll be wondering why your rice is blue. I looked into it, and here’s what I found!
Why Is My Rice Blue?
Rice often turns blue when rice is contaminated by fungi. Additionally, contaminated rice can take on other colors like green or purple. However, there are also rice variants that naturally have blue or purple pigments in them and are safe to eat. Moreover, rice can absorb the color of food that turns purple, such as garlic that reacts to lime juice.
In case you’re interested to learn more about the reasons rice turns blue and what you can do about it, keep reading!
What Happens When Rice Turns Blue?
When rice turns blue, the rice has likely become a breeding ground for strands of bacteria that are attracted to starchy food.
Typically, the bluing or purpling of the rice starts at the bottom of the container and spreads to the rest of the rice.
Additionally, the rice may still smell and taste fine after the rice has gone blue, and some people believe that the bacteria that caused the discoloration is safe to consume.
However, it’s generally not advised to eat the rice after the rice turns blue because the rice is considered spoiled.
Why Is My Sticky Rice Blue?
White sticky rice that develops a blue or purple pigment after the rice has been cooked is considered spoiled or contaminated with fungi.
Nevertheless, there are also sticky rice variants that naturally have purple pigments that appear blue sometimes and such is the case with black sticky rice that comes from Thailand.
Why Is My Coconut Rice Blue?
Coconut rice is normally used in Asian desserts. In most recipes, coconut rice is dyed blue using dried butterfly pea flowers, which have a naturally vibrant blue color.
However, if you don’t intentionally dye your coconut rice blue or expose the coconut rice to ingredients that have blue pigments, you should consider the coconut rice contaminated.
Why Are Some Of My Rice Blue?
When rice breeds bacteria and fungi, the discoloration doesn’t happen to all of the rice at once. Often, the contamination starts in a small section and spreads slowly to the rest of the rice.
As such, you’ll notice that only some of the rice is blue. However, if you leave the rice be, you’ll see that the rest of the rice will slowly turn blue as well.
Why Does Cooked Rice Turn Blue?
Cooked rice spoils faster than uncooked rice and cooked rice is more prone to contamination when not stored properly.
If the cooked white rice begins to turn blue when you haven’t mixed any blue food with the rice, it’s a sure sign that the rice is beginning to spoil.
Moreover, if you’re cooking black rice and the rice turns a light shade of purple that looks almost blue afterward, know that this is normal and the rice is safe to eat.
Why Does Brown Rice Turn Blue?
Brown rice can also be discolored and turn blue when the rice has been contaminated with bacteria or fungi.
However, if you’re cooking brown rice with food that turns blue due to a chemical reaction, brown rice is still safe to eat.
One good example is garlic mixed with anything acidic, which turns blue during the cooking process and may affect the color of your brown rice.
What Happens If You Eat Blue Rice?
Rice that turned blue due to contamination isn’t safe to eat. In small amounts, spoiled rice might not have any serious effects.
However, eating large amounts of contaminated rice can result in serious health hazards.
Furthermore, rice that turns blue due to blue-pigmented food like butterfly pea flowers or garlic that reacts to acid is completely safe to consume.
Can You Cook Expired Rice?
Rice that has surpassed the indicated expiration date but is not showing signs of spoilage or contamination may still be safe to cook.
However, if the rice grains have turned blue, developed an oily texture, or give off a rancid smell, the rice should be immediately thrown away.
How Long Can You Use Rice After Expiration Date?
How long you can use rice after the expiration date has passed depends largely on the type of rice you’re using and how you store the rice.
Generally, rice can have an indefinite shelf life, but the rice is only at its best before the indicated expiration date.
If the rice hasn’t turned blue or shown any signs of spoilage or contamination, the rice might still be good enough to use.
Nonetheless, any signs of spoilage like discoloration, molds, bugs, and dampness are sure signs that the rice is no longer safe to cook and consume.
Can You Eat Blue Rice?
Rice that turns blue due to contamination should not be eaten. Even if you get rid of the discolored rice, the rest of the rice that was exposed to contamination is still not safe to eat.
However, if the rice naturally has blue pigments or is intentionally dyed blue, you shouldn’t worry about any health hazard that comes with consuming blue rice.
Is There Natural Blue Rice?
There is rice that has purple pigments and appears blue after the rice is cooked, but there are no naturally-occurring rice grains that are purely blue.
Nevertheless, there is blue rice that is naturally colored using dried butterfly pea flowers and this type of rice is still considered natural blue rice.
Take a look at our other articles to learn why your rice is pink, why your rice is standing up, and where rice grows.
There are several reasons why rice turns blue. First, the rice could be spoiled and is breeding bacteria and fungi.
Moreover, the rice may also turn blue because the rice could have been mixed with food that has blue pigments.
Lastly, blue rice may naturally occur when white rice is dyed with the petals of a butterfly pea flower and this is a common way to dye rice to make desserts in Thailand.