How to Store Rice
How to Store Rice
Rice is an important staple for meals all around the globe. It’s affordable, nutritious, and versatile. The human race has consumed this hallmark agricultural product in various forms for the past 10,000 years. Knowing how to store rice properly can increase its longevity and make it a valuable part of your survival foods diet.
How to Store Uncooked Rice
Rice is grown in typically undesirable soil, clay. During the growing season, the rice plants are submerged in 2-3 inches of water. However, after it’s harvested and processed, uncooked rice needs to be stored similarly to other uncooked starches: in a cool, dry place. While coolness and dryness are the consistent goals in storing rice, keeping heat and moisture away can be accomplished in a few different ways.
Storing Uncooked Rice in the Pantry or Cupboards
Pantries are often ideal spaces for storing things like uncooked rice. Since they are often on the house’s main floor, they typically rest in a room temperature setting and often remain dry due to this placement or the way they are made. They are closed off with doors, providing darkness and preventing harsh sunlight from damaging food. This also keeps the temperature down in the pantry, giving you the ideal “cool, dry place” that is often recommended for food storage.
However, not every home has a pantry. Cupboards and cabinets provide a similar atmosphere and often serve adequately for dryness and coolness purposes. With rice, keeping it dry is important.
While heat doesn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with moisture, it often does. Humid spaces are warm and wet, so these are places to avoid storing rice. Even if your home does not suffer from humidity problems, keeping rice away from areas like above the stove is a beneficial storage method for dryness.
Rice comes in several different packaging options. Some rice comes in a cardboard box, whereas others may come in a plastic bag that is either resealable or requires a bag clip to close.
Cardboard has little defense against heat and moisture, so its usability for rice becomes somewhat arbitrary unless the cardboard box itself is stored in a prime location.
Plastic bags, while less eco-friendly, do better in terms of protecting rice from invading moisture. Some bags come with a resealable closure, which is far more effective in keeping out air and moisture than a bag that requires a bag clip to keep closed.
A very effective way to store rice is an airlock container. Airlock containers do what their name states: they lock air out. The absence of air preserves the rice’s freshness and the elimination of water prevents bacteria from growing.
Storing Uncooked Rice in the Freezer
The best way to store uncooked rice for ultimate longevity is in the freezer. In the freezer, uncooked rice can last up to 30 years. It’s little wonder why rice is such a well-regarded food; its shelf life is incredible. It’s still best to utilize a container, especially an air-tight one, to guarantee extended freshness and viability.
Storing Different Kinds of Uncooked Rice
It’s important to note that not all rice is created equal in terms of longevity. White rice, wild rice, jasmine rice, and other similar types of rice have staying power similar to what was denoted above. The exception to these rules is brown rice. Where uncooked white rice has a shelf life of up to five years, uncooked brown rice only lasts six months at most on the shelf. In the freezer, it can last up to 18 months, which is about a twentieth of how long white rice lasts.
How to Store Cooked Rice
Once the rice has been cooked, it requires different storage methods as it is now much more perishable than it was when it was uncooked. If you have cooked the rice with other things like meat or eggs, how long it can be preserved may change.
Leaving cooked rice out at room temperature allows it a small life expectancy of only two hours. As with many cooked foods, it’s not considered safe to leave it out for much longer. This could lead to bacteria growth, and the same goes for rice. It’s best to store the rice somewhere cold soon after cooking.
Storing Cooked Rice in the Refrigerator
In the refrigerator, similar rules apply to storing cooked rice and uncooked rice. The goal with both is to maintain an atmosphere within which it is difficult for bacteria to grow. Bacteria generally prefer warm and moist circumstances. While cooked rice now possesses a much greater amount of moisture than its previous uncooked state, a refrigerator’s cold circumstances extend the cooked rice’s life significantly
Keeping the rice in a covered bowl with plastic wrap gives it some degree of protection, but this doesn’t quite garner the same kind of longevity as a dish that has a cover or a plastic container with a snap-on lid.
Like uncooked rice, cooked rice does very well in an air-tight container. It slows the growth of bacteria considerably and keeps the rice fresh.
Storing Cooked Rice in the Freezer
While cooked rice doesn’t boast the same life expectancy in the freezer as uncooked rice, cooked rice can still last up to 6 months in the freezer. And, as in any other storage location, it’s best to store the rice in something as air-tight as possible.
Putting the cooked rice in a sealable plastic bag, removing as much air as possible, and then sealing it tightly is a good storage method. However, like uncooked rice, storing it in a true air-tight container is ideal.
Storing Different Kinds of Cooked Rice
Brown rice lasts a shorter amount of time than white rice, wild rice, or any rice similar to jasmine or basmati. It lasts a couple of days less in the refrigerator and lasts only up to 2 months in the freezer.
Other than brown rice, rice has a very long life. If uncooked, rice lasts years as long as it is kept cool and dry. Keeping all rice, cooked, uncooked, white, or brown, in air-tight spaces away from bacteria, is a key point in maintaining its freshness and preserving for future uses.