8 Great Tips on How to Store Rice Long Term – Easy Ideas to Follow
Rice is a staple in a lot of people’s diets, and some varieties of rice will keep a long time even in the packaging it comes in. It is a good choice for long-term storage and emergency preparedness because rice is a good source of complex carbohydrates, is cheap to stock up on, and, when given the right storage conditions, can be kept for up to 30 years.
But whether you’re looking to put some rice away in the storm cellar or you want to stock up while it’s on sale, there are ways that you can store rice even longer than in the store packaging. Below are eight tips to help you store rice long-term and to ensure that it is still edible and safe when you go to use it.
The 8 Tips to Store Rice Long Term
1. Choose the Right Rice
First and foremost, you need to choose the right type of rice for long-term storage. Brown rice still has the husks on and contains natural oils. No matter how well you store it, it will only keep for a maximum of 18 months.
Long grain white rice can be kept for up to 30 years in an airtight container with an oxygen absorber. It is still possible to store brown rice in such a way as to extend its storage life, but in most cases, you shouldn’t expect it to keep for longer than about six months.
2. Kill Bug Eggs
Rice, like flour, has bug eggs in it when you buy it. It’s gross to think about, but it’s why weevils can be a problem in the pantry and why you can sometimes find them in your packs of rice.
Before storing rice for any length of time, you will want to ensure that you have gotten rid of the bugs. The easiest way to do this is to freeze the rice for a few days before you store it. Freeze your rice for 3 days before taking any further steps.
3. Add Bay Leaves
Even if you get rid of existing bug eggs, if your storage method is compromised, bugs can get in and lay their eggs again. And if you didn’t do a good job of killing them all off in the first place, there may be some eggs left in the rice. Add a couple of bay leaves to your rice to fix this!
4. Freeze It
You can leave the rice in the freezer after the three-day period, and it will keep for longer. However, it will only keep as long as the freezer has power, and a big bag of rice can take up a lot of freezer space.
If you are going to freeze the rice, you need to prevent it from freezer burn, which occurs when the rice is exposed to the conditions inside the freezer. Use mylar bags or other genuinely airtight containers to help prevent this problem.
5. Store in an Airtight Container
Food tubs and some other household containers that you think are airtight are not genuinely airtight. Ensure that you buy hermetically sealed containers or use mylar bags.
Mylar bags are readily available, and they aren’t too expensive. Mylar bags have multiple layers of plastic and contain oxygen absorbers, which, as the name suggests, absorb some or all of the oxygen in the container. When it comes to long-term food storage, oxygen is not your friend, and it is this that will cause food to go bad or to go off.
6. Store in Mason Jars
With a few additional steps, adding rice to mason jars is a good way of keeping it for a long period of time. Mason jars tend to be made of clear glass, which means that they need to be covered to prevent oxidation from sunlight. They are also not airtight, so you will need to add an oxygen absorber to each jar.
Once the rice and oxygen absorber are in the jar, use a food saver to essentially vacuum pack the food in the jar. However, they do have the benefit that they contain a relatively small amount in each jar so you can remove enough for a meal without exposing your entire rice supply to air.
7. Vacuum Seal the Rice
A food saver is used for sous vide cooking, and it is also used to aid in the long-term storage of food items because it seals food in protective wrapping and removes all the air from inside the packaging. You can use one with mason jars or with mylar bags, with the bags also preventing sunlight from getting in and ruining your rice supply.
8. Use an Oxygen Absorber
Oxygen absorbers are small sachets that contain a mixture of iron filings, clay, and salt. These elements combine to remove some or all of the oxygen from a small, confined space. They can be used in mylar bags or in mason jars and they will remove most of the oxygen.
You typically only need a single oxygen absorber in each of these types of storage items. Oxygen absorbers are inexpensive and readily available, and you can buy them in bulk to enjoy savings and ensure you always have some on hand.
Rice is a great option for long-term food storage because it is cheap and readily available. It is also a good source of complex carbohydrates and can be prepared using just water. It is commonly found in storm shelters and bomb shelters, and because it can be bought for cheap when purchased in bulk, it is also found in large quantities in a lot of peoples’ pantries and storerooms.
Even with store packaging, long grain white rice can keep for up to 5 years, but if you store it in an airtight container, with an oxygen absorber, it can keep for up to 30 years. Brown rice cannot be stored this long and may only keep for between 6 months and a year, even in ideal conditions, because it still contains the husks of the rice.
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