Hidden Downside Of Rice Cookers

Rice cookers are convenient and easy to use, but like any electrical appliance, they are not faultless. One of their many downsides is that the bottom layer of rice can burn. According to Nutricraft, stirring the rice a couple of times during the cooking process can prevent burning. However, most rice cooker user manuals, see general rules via Rice Cookers, say not to open the lid because any steam that escapes will dry out the rice.

Did you know that rice cookers use nonstick technologies for the inner pot? While this might sound like a good thing, it has its own flaws. If the nonstick coating suffers scratches, the pot will not only become stickier but also flake into the food. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explains that these scratches can release toxic compounds like perfluorooctanoic acid if the pot is exposed to high heat when used again. To prevent scratching the nonstick coating, it's best to use the rice paddle that's included in the rice cooker box or a wooden spoon.

Use the warming setting

We all know that it's convenient to unplug your rice cooker and leave the cooked rice in the pot after it's ready. However, this may not be a good idea because of Bacillus cereus, a bacteria often found in uncooked rice. It is typically destroyed by the heat, making it safe to consume, but spores from this bacteria, in some cases, can withstand high temperatures. This could be a problem if you leave the rice to sit at room temperature for an extended period. The Fork Bite explains that this action could allow the Bacillus cereus spores to germinate.

If a person ingests rice contaminated by this bacteria, they will experience gastrointestinal infection symptoms like vomiting. This is why it's crucial to verify if your rice cooker switches to warming mode automatically after cooking. You may have to do it manually in some cases. To sum up, if your rice cooker pot has scratches, replace it immediately; leaving your food on warming could slow or prevent bacterial growth, if there's any, and save you a trip to the bathroom or emergency room.