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How to Store White Rice Long-Term
More than half of the world’s population uses white rice as the foundation for most dishes, and there are good reasons for this. It’s affordable, high in calories, easily stored, and can accommodate many flavors and seasonings, making it a delicious food ingredient. For these reasons, it has become a popular prepper food to stock for long-term food storage.
Fortunately, white rice has one of the longest natural shelf life of any food. When stored properly, it can be kept in an airtight container with oxygen absorbers for 30 years. However, in order to ensure you properly store rice long term, it is important to make sure you follow the correct steps.
Methods for Long-Term Rice Storage
Here are a few methods to store white rice long-term using mason jars, mylar bags, and 5-gallon buckets.
5 Gallon Buckets and Mylar Bags
You can put the rice directly into the bucket and seal it tightly. However, if you plan to store rice for up to 30 years, you must include it within mylar bags and add oxygen absorbers.
- Pour rice into the mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. The mylar bag sizes 20″ x30″ and 18″ x28″ both fit 5-gallon buckets.
- Gently place the bags into the buckets.
- Seal the bags.
- Seal the buckets.
- Store the buckets.
Related Article: How to Store Food in 5-Gallon Buckets
You can use either mason jars, mylar bags, or 5-gallon buckets when storing rice. However, their effectivity will also depend on the following:
- The food-grade container must have a high-quality airtight lid.
- If you can, always use oxygen absorbers for extra protection.
- Store white rice in a dark, dry, and cool place.
Mylar bags are also suitable for storing white rice because they have at least three layers of protection. They’re made of food-grade plastic and aluminum, which don’t react when in contact with chemicals.
These protective barriers prevent the rice from moisture, mold, insects, and other harmful substances. You can also put an oxygen absorber inside the mylar bags for them to be more effective and to be able to store white rice longer.
However, one of the main downsides of using mylar bags is that they are not effective against rodents. Rodents are known to bite through mylar bags, ruining the stored food in the process. If you store food in mylar bags, make sure to put them in a place out of reach from rodents.
Related Article: How to Store Food in Mylar Bags: A Guide for Beginners
Mason jars are glass containers primarily used for storing and preserving food, including white rice. The screw cap has effective sealing capabilities, making it a useful tool for protection against moisture and oxygen.
In addition, since the container is made from glass, no harmful chemicals will leak into the food.
These jars are effective containers for storing white rice. However, it’s ultimately up to you to make sure they’re working as effectively as they should by following these instructions:
1. Clean the Jars
Newly bought mason jars only need to be cleaned minimally. But if you’ve used them for pickling or as sauce containers, you need to make sure no stains and smells are left to avoid contamination.
2. Pour the Rice
Once the jar is clean, you are ready to pour the rice into the container. You should fill the rice 90% to the top of the container so you have space to add an oxygen absorber.
3. Use Oxygen Absorber
Oxygen is what hastens the deterioration process of white rice. It allows insects and molds to grow inside the container.
By using oxygen absorbers to help “absorb” what little oxygen is still left inside the sealed container, it will kill the insects and reduce the risk of mold growth. Oxygen absorbers are also essential in prolonging the shelf life of white rice.
How much oxygen absorber you need will depend on the volume of your jar. As an estimation, you can use 100 ccs of oxygen absorber for a 32-ounce jar.
Here is a table of oxygen absorbers per container size for easy reference:
|CCs Needed||Size of Container|
|100 cc||32 oz Mason Jar|
|300 cc||1 Gallon Container|
|1500 cc||5 gallon Bucket|
Note: mason jars are glass and transparent. You have to store them in a sturdy place where they won’t fall and break and where the sunlight wouldn’t reach them.
Related Article: Long-Term Food Storage in Mason Jars
What is the Shelf Life of White Rice?
Uncooked rice can be stored in a 5-gallon bucket and last up to 30 years. Its taste might not be as fresh as it originally was, but it would still be safe to eat as long as it was properly stored. In its original packaging, it can stay edible for up to 5 years if stored in a freezer.
|Storage Method (w/ Oxygen Absorbers||Shelf Life of White Rice|
|5-Gallon Bucket||30+ years|
|Mylar Bag||10-15 years|
|Mason Jar||5 years|
Of course, if you cook rice that has been stored for years, and it smells or tastes weird, it’s safer not to consume it anymore. Spoiled rice tastes bad and can cause food poisoning if consumed in high quantities.
How to tell if Uncooked White Rice has Spoiled?
Similar to other dried grains, uncooked rice shares many of the same signs when the food has spoiled. Fortunately, this is easy to identify and prevent. The main culprits for spoiling rice are heat, moisture, oxygen exposure, and direct light. If you can prevent exposure to these environmental aggressors, your white rice can last up to 30 years in the proper food storage containers. You will be able to tell if the uncooked white rice has spoiled by relying on your sense of sight, smell, and touch. Simply pay attention to:
- Discoloration, pests, and mold growth: Spoiled white rice will have spotty black dots or clear signs of mold. Additionally, you may find pests in the rice. This is usually caused by exposure to oxygen or moistness.
- Off-Odor: A sour or moldy smell will emit from spoiled rice, which is a clear and obvious indicator the rice has gone bad.
- Damp texture: If you notice the rice is wet, it is an early sign of potential mold growth. From initial glances, it is hard to determine how much the mold has progressed, so it is better to dispose of it than risk getting sick.
The main reason rice goes bad is because of damaged packaging. Before consuming the rice, make sure there are no holes or cracks in your container that may expose the rice to heat, air, moisture, or light.
Suppose you notice any of these signs of spoilage; it’s better to dispose of it or repurpose the rice for some other use than to expose your family to it. Consuming spoiled rice can lead to serious food poisoning and other health complications (source).
Where to Store Uncooked White Rice?
Depending on where white rice is stored will help affect its shelf life. White rice should be stored at room temperature or freezer; there is no added benefit of storing it in a fridge. If you are using an airtight container, the rice can be kept at room temperature for up to 30 years. However, if you keep the rice in its original packaging, it can be stored in a pantry or in a freezer for extra protection against pests, heat, and light. In the pantry, white rice in its original packaging lasts five years. When kept in the freezer, white rice has a shelf life of up to 30 years.
|Storage Method||Shelf Life of Uncooked White Rice|
|Pantry (5-Gallon Bucket with Oxygen Absorbers)||30+ years|
Alternative uses for Spoiled Rice
Spoiled rice can be repurposed and used for cleaning, absorbing liquids, and DIY projects. Some ideas include:
- Make an at-home ice pack or heating pad
- Clean a coffee grinder
- DIY bean bags
- DIY musical shaker
- DIY sock puppets
- Prevent metal items from rusting
- Separating clumped salt
How to Cook White Rice Outdoors?
It’s easy to cook white rice, especially nowadays with the amazing technology called rice cooker. But, say you’re out camping, how do you cook rice?
Here are a few simple techniques on how to cook rice:
- Wash the rice with fresh water. Change the water if it becomes too cloudy. Repeat until the water becomes clear or clean.
- The amount of water for cooking should only be as much as the rice. There’s an Asian way of measuring this:
- Add water to the pot.
- Flatten the rice.
- Dip a finger till it touches the bottom of the pot.
- Measure the height of the rice.
- Pull out your finger and place it on the surface of the rice.
- The height of the rice should also be the height of the water.
- Keeping the fire on low heat will prevent the rice from burning.
- Once it boils, open the lid of the pot a little.
- Once the water simmers down, and the rice is only moist, close the lid again.
- Check every minute until the moisture dries up and the rice is cooked.
People Also Ask
Some common questions we often hear about white rice are:
Yes, for long-term rice storage, oxygen absorbers are an essential tool. Removing oxygen from a mylar bag, mason jar, or 5-gallon bucket will kill any insects remaining in the container and significantly extend the shelf life of rice. You can store rice without an oxygen absorber, but you risk insects eggs hatching in your dry rice.
Related Article: Oxygen Absorbers vs. Silica Gel Packets
You may have never noticed, but oftentimes rice contains weevil or moth eggs, which can hatch if left unattended. Once adults, they can hatch and lay more eggs in your pantry. Fortunately, by taking steps to properly store rice with oxygen absorbers, you can kill the insect eggs before they hatch, preventing an insect infestation.
White rice can be stored in long-term storage for up to 30 years. The reason for the long shelf life is that during the polishing process, the bran layer and the fatty germ are removed. The bran and germ are high in natural oils, which cause grains to go rancid much sooner than low-oil foods. If moisture levels exceed 10%, then grains are likely to become rancid or moldy.
Contrary to popular belief that rice is tasteless, it can actually be very tasty when cooked properly, especially when combined with other ingredients. Aside from that, it’s also quite nourishing. Its high vitamin and mineral content makes it a food that can be used to keep a healthy diet. Additionally, it has a long shelf life when kept in proper storage. That implies that, in the event of an emergency, you wouldn’t have to worry about food or even just fiber consumption.
There are tens of thousands of different rice types, each with its own texture, flavor, shelf life, and size of the grain. Some of the more popular and common kinds of rice are white rice, brown rice, sticky rice, sushi rice, jasmine rice, basmati rice, wild rice, black rice, and purple rice. White rice is by far the most popular and widely consumed type of rice.
Related Article: How to store Brown rice for long-term storage?
Rice is one of the best food items for long-term storage. We’ve given you some tips on how to store white rice long-term, so whether you stockpile rice for emergencies or not, you should be well equipped with the information to extend the shelf life of rice.
As long as you protect the rice from heat, light, and oxygen, as well as store it in an airtight container, rice can be stored for up to 30 years.
Related Article: 6 Best Grains for Long Term Food Storage
Related Article: 11 Supplies You Need for DIY Food Storage
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If you are looking to buy cookware, you probably came down to ceramic cookware vs stainless steel cookware. Learn to see which is better for you.