Sushi is one of the most famous Japanese traditional fast foods enjoyed everywhere. The essential ingredients are fish, raw or slightly cooked vegetables, and vinegar rice with any fillings.
However, these ingredients make it quite tricky for sushi to stay for long. It breeds bacteria if not well preserved. Therefore, it is crucial to know how long sushi can last, whether appropriately stored or not.
How Long Does Sushi Last?
How long your food lasts depends on how well it is preserved. Sushi can last for more than 24 hours, but the preservation method is essential. Also, how long sushi lasts is dependent on the main ingredient used in the sushi.
It is best to eat sushi at once due to its raw ingredients, such as fish and sometimes meat. However, store the leftovers correctly to avoid food poisoning.
Naturally, whether sushi is made with raw or cooked fish, it would last two hours when stored at room temperature.
On the other hand, sushi made with raw ingredients would last for only 1 to 2 days when stored in a refrigerator, while sushi made with cooked ingredients would last from 3 to 4 days when stored in a fridge.
What Determines How Long Sushi Last?
The filling used to make the sushi determines how long it lasts. If your sushi contains raw fish, it must be consumed within 24 hours.
The same goes for sashimi, which is fish with no rice. On the contrary, if your sushi has cooked only vegetables, it can last longer, for at most two days, as cooking prevents the vegetables from becoming soggy and wilting.
Also, not only vegetables determine how long sushi lasts. Other ingredients, such as soy sauce, have antibacterial qualities and may reduce the chances of your sushi going bad sooner.
In addition, the way your sushi is preserved determines how long it lasts. The best way to preserve sushi for more than 24 hours is to refrigerate it.
If not, it can only be preserved for at most 2 hours at room temperature. In cases where you want to eat the sushi later in the day, keep it in a tight container and cover it with a neat towel. If not, refrigerate it.
Furthermore, raw sushi cannot last as long as cooked sushi. Your raw fish sushi can only last for 24 hours even after being preserved accordingly. If kept longer, it starts to smell bad and taste terrible, which can cause food poisoning.
On the other hand, cooked sushi can last up to 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator if well preserved. However, if it emits an unpleasant smell, it should:t be consumed. The best option is to eat your sushi within 24 hours.
When Can’t Sushi Be Eaten?
Sushi is better eaten fresh, but if you’ve decided to keep it till the next day, you must make sure it is still safe to eat.
A change in smell
Unlike many people think, fresh sushi shouldn’t smell like fish. If you smell something fishy in your sushi, don’t eat it. Some restaurants tend to freeze rotten fish at a lower temperature to stop it from emitting a pungent smell.
If you notice that the sushi you ordered is unusually cold, wait a bit so that it thaws a little. If rotten fish was used to make the sushi, you’d notice the fishy smell. Good sushi should smell like watermelon and cucumber, not fish.
If your sushi was made with a Nori sheet and you aren’t sure if it is bad, the Nori sheet could serve as an indicator. Usually, Nori sheets should be crisp to the touch, so avoid eating sushi that isn’t crispy.
If your sushi has mushy Nori, it simply means the sushi has been made since, and the Nori has absorbed the moisture from the rice.
Change in Appearance
This refers to the fish. If you notice that the fish has begun to lose its natural color, it might be a tell-tale sign that the fish is stale. Usually, fresh fish should have a bright and shiny appearance and be translucent.
This quality of fresh fish is what makes sushi attractive and edible. If you find that the fish in your sushi has a dull color with some milky residue, and appears unattractive, don’t eat it.
Apart from the smell and the appearance of the fish, you can also figure out the state of your sushi by touching it.
Use a finger to press gently on the fish. The fish should be firm and flexible. But if it has an indentation after being touched, the sushi isn’t good.
Can You Eat Sushi The Next Day?
Yes, you can eat sushi the next day, but you have to preserve it right, so it doesn’t go bad. Below are some ways you can make your sushi taste good if you plan on eating it the next day.
You can heat your sushi for about 30 minutes in your microwave. Though it might not be as good as freshly-made sushi, it will still be tasty and healthy to eat.
While heating your sushi, reduce the temperature of the microwave, and don’t overheat your fish to prevent it from turning cooked.
This also allows your rice to be moist instead of turning dry. Additional fillings like your avocados, carrots, and other veggies shouldn’t be microwaved.
Microwaving your carrots might taste excellent, but other veggies like avocados and lettuce might not taste so good when heated.
Use Rice Vinegar
If you prefer not to have your sushi microwaved, you can apply rice vinegar and lemon juice to it. Besides rice vinegar being a seasoning for sushi, it also helps preserve it and keep it fresh for as long as possible, usually about three days.
Use Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is an excellent preservative for your sushi. Soak a paper towel in the sauce and use it to wrap your sushi neatly, after which you can refrigerate it till the next day. This method will preserve the taste of your sushi and keep your rice moist.
Bake Your Sushi
Another way to make sushi that has stayed more than 24 hours taste good is to bake it in the oven for about eight minutes at 352° Fahrenheit. You can also deep fry your sushi to turn it crispy.
Separate Sushi and Sauce
If you are very keen on storing your sushi for later, you definitely shouldn’t keep it with the sauce. Storing the sushi with the sauce could make it soggy since the rice and nori sheets absorb the sauce’s moisture, leaving it ruined.
2 Ways To Preserve Sushi Till The Next Day
Consume sushi of all kinds within 24 hours; however, if you still have leftover sushi that you’d like to keep for more than 24 hours, the taste will likely become compromised. Below are ways you can keep your sushi till the next day in good condition:
Refrigerate your sushi
If you still love to save your sushi for later, then preserve it by refrigerating it.
Let the sushi stay at room temperature for 30 minutes after it’s prepared to cool before refrigerating it to prevent bacteria contamination. Note that you can’t keep sushi at room temperature for more than 24 hours.
Seal Your Sushi
keep your sushi wrapped in a plastic bag to prevent it from getting contaminated by bacteria. After, place it in a sealed container to stop air from flowing into the sushi before refrigerating it.
Raw sushi can be preserved without a refrigerator for only two hours if kept at room temperature. However, it is advisable to consume it within 24 hours if cooked.
Ensure you adjust the fridge to a food-friendly temperature. Due to the ingredients such as vegetables and rice, keep it slightly below freezing, 41°Fahrenheit. This is because the rice can become harder and the seaweed paper limp.
Tip: If you want to eat sushi at a restaurant, don’t buy from any restaurant during the weekend and probably on Mondays. This is because fishers hardly ever fish on Fridays to Sundays, and so sushi restaurants have no supply of fresh fish during those days.
A good sushi restaurant wouldn’t be open during the weekends, except they have an everyday collection of fresh fish (which you have to confirm).
Although sushi can taste good if preserved correctly after 24 hours, it is better to consume it fresh after being made.
Being a fast food that is quite difficult to preserve, it is best to cook or order the amount of sushi you can consume at once instead of contemplating various ways to preserve your sushi.
However, if there have to be leftovers till the next day, ensure you preserve them correctly.
Hiroshi Nakamura, a Tokyo-born sushi chef turned US-based writer and critic, is the voice behind ichisushi.com, blending traditional sushi wisdom with modern insights.