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What’s the Prognosis on My Leftover Sushi?

Two things determine whether that hand roll is still edible — bravery and what it’s made of

You went to an all-you-can-eat sushi spot last night and packed your pockets before leaving. Now, you’re hungry for a sushi breakfast. But is it safe to eat raw seafood from the night before?

While sushi consisting of raw fish is always best enjoyed ASAP, sushi chef Marisa Baggett, author of Sushi Secrets, says it can be refrigerated successfully for one day. If your sushi is made up of cooked fish or vegetables, however, it can last for up to a week in the refrigerator. If you leave it on the counter, however, it only stays good for up to two hours. Any longer than that, and you’re looking at a nasty case of food poisoning.

But even if your sushi is technically safe to eat after spending a night in the fridge, Baggett warns that the rice will likely be hardened and stale. Fortunately for your dreams of a decent breakfast, there are a couple ways to bring refrigerated sushi back to life.

One involves frying your sushi. If you happen to have tempura mix (or feel like making your own) and a deep fryer, you can simply coat your sushi and chuck it in there until golden. “Battered and deep fried is a good way to reconstitute the rice, since refrigeration alters the texture,” Baggett reiterates. “Another tip is to place damp paper towels over the sushi before wrapping and storing. This slows down the hardening of the rice.”

Otherwise, you can pull the various components of your sushi apart and make sushi fried rice in an oiled frying pan. It might be an unorthodox approach, but hey, you’re eating leftover sushi for breakfast.

The other option is to microwave your sushi for 30 seconds. The thought of microwaved sushi might make you squirm, but a short zap can help moisten the rice and tenderize the fish (30 seconds shouldn’t be long enough to cook the fish, but you could leave it in for a few minutes if you want cooked sushi). In other words, it should bring the texture of your sushi back to what it was like before spending an evening in the cold.

Otherwise, you can just eat your leftover sushi as is, cold and all. Have a nice breakfast!