If you made a large batch of mochi and want to store leftover balls overnight, you can do so by placing them in an airtight container or a zip lock bag and storing them into the freezer. You can store mochi not only overnight but up to a couple of days without spoiling the Japanese rice cake.
Still puzzled on how and what needs to be done? Continue reading this post and we’ll walk you through in storing mochi to keep its chewy texture.
WHAT IS MOCHI?
Mochi is a cute round Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice (some used glutinous rice flour), mochigome, and other ingredients like sugar, water, and milk.
Steam the rice and pound into paste to make into a mochi dough. Then form into the preferred shape.
This traditional Japanese dessert is usually prepared during a ceremony called mochitsuki. It is also a traditional food during New Year in Japan, and is usually sold during that season.
Mochi rice cakes are also essential ingredients in various Japanese foods such as soups, hot pot dishes, and desserts.
Dessert mochi also comes in different flavors. There are stuffed mochi (most mochis have strawberry filling and azuki beans, but red bean paste inside mochi is the most traditional filling), coated mochi, butter mochi, ice cream filled mochi, and plain mochi.
And when mochi rice cakes are being left out, the texture will change from being squishy to firm and very dry mochi. That is why mochi rice cakes must be served freshly cooked, or you’ll end up eating hard rice dough.
So what are you going to do if you have left over mochi? Would you right away place them in a plastic bag or airtight container and store them in the fridge?
Well, this is partly correct. But you need to know that there are different ways to store spare mochi depending on its kind, whether it is a fresh mochi or store-bought mochi.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF MOCHI?
As mentioned, mochi comes in different flavors and varieties. Europeans actually thought that mochis are simple white rice balls with sweet filling inside and/or covered with a sugary soy sauce. But mochi is actually more than just a simple white rice cake.
So before we show you the step by step process on how to store mochi, let’s first get to know some mochi varieties.
1. MIZU SHINGEN
This type of mochi is large and has a jelly-like texture. The round transparent ball is made from agar powder and is commonly flavored with nutty soybean powder and sugary syrup.
2. HISHI MOCHI
This kind of mochi symbolizes fertility and health, and is usually sold during Japan’s women’s day celebration. The mochi balls are three-layered (pink, green, and white) rhombus-shaped.
Dango is some kind of rice ball often sold in a set of threes, skewered with a stick, and usually glazed with sweet soy sauce.
4. WARABI MOCHI
Warabi is made from a jelly-like bracken scratch with semi-translucent consistency. To best enjoy the warabi mochi balls, serve them with soybean powder and glaze with black sugary syrup.
Yatsuhashi is a traditional mochi from Kyoto which is green in color and with a triangular shape. Similar to hishi mochi, yatsuhashi also has a layered texture and is typically stuffed with cinnamon.
6. SAKURA MOCHI
This pink and round rice cake is usually served during the sakura blossom period. It is commonly filled with red bean paste, served and wrapped in a salted sakura leaf. This type of mochi is super sweet because of the red bean and the leaf wrapper can also be eaten.
7. DAIFUKU MOCHI
Daifuku mochi is big in size and has a round shape. It is usually filled with sweet red bean paste, but modern recipes commonly use strawberry fillings. The sweet filling covers the white rice of the dough.
Other types of mochis which are available in most cafes are green tea powder, chocolate, and red bean paste.
So how long does mochi last?
Homemade mochi can last on the counter up to 2 days, 2 weeks in the fridge, and up to 1 month in the freezer. Meanwhile, commercially-made mochi can last 2 to 4 days on the counter, a week in the fridge (after opening), and up to 2 weeks in the freezer.
Basically, freezing mochi is a good option over just storing mochi in the fridge.
HOW TO STORE HOMEMADE MOCHI AND/OR STORE-BOUGHT MOCHI
It is recommended to eat fresh homemade mochi right after it has been cooked. The fresh mochi’s soft and chewy texture can quickly change to dry and hard when left out.
In fact, mochi can mold quickly at room temperature and in a humid environment.
Fresh mochi pieces also tend to dry quickly when stored in the fridge. Therefore, it is best to store leftover mochi in the freezer.
Here are the steps on how to store fresh mochi to keep them from being dried and molded:
- Divide the mochi out into individual-sized pieces.
- Coat the mochi portions in corn or potato starch to keep them from sticking together on to the container, and to maintain its soft texture.
- Wrap each piece with a plastic wrap to keep the mochi from drying out.
- Place the wrapped or partially-frozen mochi into a large freezer-safe Ziploc bag or airtight container.
- Place the container in the freezer. You can also label it if desired.
You can keep the mochi pieces in the freezer for up to two weeks.
NOTE: If wrapping the leftover mochi in plastic isn’t your thing, utilizing a zip lock bag is the next good option over an airtight container. As you can see, you have the chance of squeezing all the air out which you can’t do in a container.
Remember as well that mochi don’t have any plastic layer protection so it is ideal to lessen the air contact as much as possible.
You can use a food saver vacuum machine or a straw to suck all the air out.
STORE MOCHI ICE CREAM
The process of storing the mochi ice cream is pretty much the same as freezing the cooked mochi or leftover mochi.
Since the nature of the ice cream is to be frozen, then your only option is to freeze the mochi ice cream balls. And similar to storing the cooked mochi in the freezer, you need to coat each mochi piece in cornstarch or cover them with a plastic wrap to keep them from sticking together.
Place the balls on a baking tray and freeze for a few hours. Once all the balls are already frozen, transfer them to a ziplock bag or a large airtight container.
Make sure to squeeze all the air out. You can store the homemade mochi ice cream in the freezer for about two weeks. While store bought ice-cream balls may last longer as they contain added preservatives.
Whenever you wish to eat the frozen mochi ice cream, allow it to come to room temperature, then your ice-cream balls are already ready to be eaten.
DEFROST FRESH MOCHI
After storing the mochi overnight (or after a few days), you can defrost mochi pieces by taking them out from the freezer. Then place the balls in the fridge.
After reaching the fridge temperature, take them out from the refrigerator and let them come up to room temperature. Once the texture becomes soft again, you can cook the mochi balls.
Meanwhile, hard mochi can also be cooked right away even without defrosting. But there is a tendency that the glutinous chewy texture will disappear even after warming the mochi balls at room temperature.
If you don’t want this to happen, then you can opt for the second suggestion.
STEAM FROZEN FRESH MOCHI
Gently steaming the frozen mochi will help return its soft texture without compromising its glutinous chewy texture.
To do so, place the fresh mochi on the plate over a bowl filled with boiling water.
Steam mochi for a few minutes or until the texture has already softened. You can enjoy boiled mochi in a soup.
If you are unable to steam your fresh mochi for any reason, you can microwave the mochi pieces instead. Check out the next option.
MICROWAVE FROZEN FRESH MOCHI
After removing the fresh mochi from the freezer, wet the balls and put them on the microwave-safe plate. Doing so will keep the mochi from sticking and at the same time help in the softening process.
Here’s what you exactly need to do:
Set the microwave for about 30 seconds. Check the fresh mochi balls texture and see if it has already softened. If so, the mochi balls are ready to be consumed. Otherwise, put the mochi back in the microwave and give it another 30 seconds.
Make sure to check the mochi from time to time to avoid them from melting or exploding.
For homemade mochi ice cream or ice-cream filled mochi and coated mochi balls, it is better to steam them since microwaving will obviously melt the ice cream balls.
There are 3 different ways to reheat mochi. Whether it’s a frozen mochi or store bought dried mochi, these techniques are definitely applicable for them.
1. BAKING MOCHI IN THE OVEN
This option will definitely make mochi to become edible again after living it out for at least an hour, leaving you a hard texture on your mochi.
To do so, preheat rhe oven to 375 degrees. Then place the mochi inside the oven on a parchment-lined tray. Bake mochi for at least 5 minutes. Once the mochi puffs up and becomes crusty, taste the mochi and see if it’s already soft and chewy again.
Perfectly baked mochi should have a golden brown color on the outside. If you see these hints, then basically your done baking the mochi and it is now ready to be served. You can wrap baked mochi in nori and serve with a dipping soy sauce.
2. FRYING THE MOCHI
To fry the mochi, heat the pan on a medium flame, and place the mochi in the pan when it’s already hot. Fry the mochi for a few minutes until the bottom becomes brown and puffy.
Flip the mochi to cook the other side. To add flavor to your fried mochi, glaze the balls with butter.
3. BOILING THE MOCHI
In a saucepan with cold water, place the mochi rice cakes. Then heat the mochi and wait until the water boils. When it does, stir the mochi gently to keep the balls from sticking to the pan. Lower the heat and let mochi simmer for about 5 minutes. Watch closely as the mochi becomes soft as over boiling mochi may melt the entire ball. Once done, you can enjoy your boiled mochi in a soup.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Dryness, hardness, and mold are the signs that the mochi is already bad and are no longer edible. If you see these signs on your mochi, make sure not to eat them to avoid food poisoning.
You can place the unopened store packaged mochi in your kitchen cabinet at room temperature. Or you can also store them in the freezer for up to 12 months.
For the opened package, the mochi can last about a week when stored in the fridge and up to 14 days in the freezer.
You can defrost frozen mochi by heating it with a microwave oven, steaming, baking, and frying.