If you want to boost food security, consider storing grains at home. This guide will teach you how to store rice long term at home.
We like to keep a large pantry at home so that we have security in the event of job loss, natural disaster, or even as a hedge against inflation. learning to store grains for long term storage has been a game changer. Rice is such a versatile grain that can be used in a variety of recipes. It is eaten by much of the world as a diet staple.
Rice is a very versatile product and comes in various kinds for several types of diets. Whether it’s white rice, brown rice, basmati rice, or even the cooked variety, storing rice will affect its consistency and shelf-life over time. How to store rice depends on whether it’s cooked or still raw. The best way to keep uncooked rice is in an airtight container, stored in a cool and dry area. This article will focus on storing uncooked rice.
Knowing how to store rice for the long term is a must in the kitchen. In many households, it’s used in different dishes and cooked multiple ways aside from just the base of a flavorful meal. You can even use it for a rice cake or a good sushi roll for appetizers in other cultures.
Properly storing rice will lengthen its shelf-life, allowing for no rice to go to waste. It’s also one of the best foods you can consume during emergencies.
Apart from its versatility, rice also has tons of nutrients and is proven to be RICH IN FIBER, ideal for lowering cholesterol and lessening the risk for heart disease. Keeping them in your pantry for months-long can help you prepare healthier meal options to add to your diet.
Storing rice long term can be tricky due to bugs, pests, or storage environment. It is important to take a few steps to ensure that your rice storage does not go to waste.
Can dry rice go bad?
Just like most foods, even dry rice can get moldy over time. This makes it not edible! Insects and rodents can still access rice if you store them incorrectly. It is best to invest in good quality airtight containers to keep moisture and pests out.
Exposure to heat is also something to watch out for. This causes the rice to sweat, making it more prone to bug infestation.
Can you store rice in the freezer?
Absolutely! This is one of the many reasons we think a freezer is essential on the homestead! The freezer is an excellent place to store rice since it can last up to 18 months in a cold and dry environment. The recommended temperature for rice storage is 40°F or lower, which works well for households who don’t cook rice daily. We prefer to use the freezer to prepare the rice for the shelf. We freeze all rice for at least 72 hours before packing it away in mylar bags for the shelf. This kills off any preexisting bug eggs that were in the rice before we purchased it. Then, after freezing, we pack the rice into mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.
To freeze rice:
- Get a Clean Zipper Freezer Bag-We use the gallon size freezer bags. If you have extra freezer space, this is an excellent tip to try.
- Remove All Air Before Sealing-The next step is to eliminate moisture from the freezer bag by removing all the trapped air inside. Pour in the dry uncooked rice and evenly press on them to distribute it throughout the bag.
- Step 3-Store the Bag in the Freezer-Once you’ve secured the rice evenly, you can proceed with storing it lying down or standing up at the side of your freezer. You can also keep it at the very back of all the meats and fish to avoid mixing it with daily ingredients used for meal prep.
How to keep bugs out of rice storage?
Freezing the rice before storage is one way to kill off any pre-existing bug eggs before long term storage. We highly recommend this. If you want to take extra precaution another step to take is to put dried chili peppers through its layers. Placing them on the shelves where you keep the rice is another way to force the bugs to stay out.
According to Oregon State University, the heat that emanates from hot peppers is an effective biochemical pesticide. Capsaicin acts as a deterrent for many insects, pests, and mites both indoors and outdoors. This naturally occurring substance in peppers can irritate tissue and impact the bugs’ nervous system, eventually damaging their cells’ membrane before death.
This is a natural way to deter bugs from staying in your pantry for too long.
How to store rice long term
Storing rice long-term isn’t complicated, but it does require the need to create the right conditions for longevity. Consider the temperature and do not settle for areas in your kitchen that go below 40°F.
Some kitchens might be small or have low ceilings, bringing in more heat into the kitchen, which is why you can also keep rice up to 70°F. This approach may require you to purchase oxygen absorbers to help create a layer of protection for your rice and prevent them from deteriorating over time.
What are the different methods for storing rice long term?
Long term can mean something different to everyone. Somone reading this article might have the goal of storing rice for 2 years while other’s want to store rice for upward of 25 years. There are different storage methods to achieve your desired results.
Here are the different methods to store rice long term:
- Air-Tight Containers- 4 years (white rice), 6-8 months (brown rice). The main reason to store rice in air-tight containers rather than the packaging it came in, is to prevent insect infestations. If insects hatch inside the container, they won’t be able to escape and infest the rest of your pantry. You should still take steps to kill any insect eggs though, such as by freezing the rice first.
- Freezer- Indefinitely (white rice), 2 years (brown rice)-White rice will last indefinitely in the freezer. Regardless, putting grains in the freezer isn’t the best solution for long-term storage. If a power outage occurs, condensation will quickly build up in the freezer and the rice will absorb this quickly, resulting in spoilage. Plus, it is not the most sustainable option since the freezer needs power to operate.
- Vacuum Sealing-Shelf Life-4+ years (white rice), up to 2 years (brown rice). Vacuum sealing is not the best storage method for white rice. The main issue is that vacuum-sealer bags are not air-tight; they will eventually allow air and moisture through. Since white rice can already last a long time in basic storage containers, you aren’t really gaining anything by vacuum-sealing. Brown rice though, vacuum sealing does help. Since brown rice is more prone to damage from oxygenation, removing air by vacuum sealing does help extend shelf life. Thought this is still not our favorite storage method for rice. Keep in mind, that rice is very pointy and can stab through vacuum sealer bags.’
- Containers with Oxygen Absorbers-Shelf Life: 5+ years (white rice), 1+ year (brown rice). This is one of the simplest ways to store rice. Just use containers such as jars or food-grade buckets. If you take the extra step of adding the proper amount of oxygen absorber to the container, the food will be protected from spoilage due to oxidation and last much longer. Without oxygen, insect eggs won’t be able to hatch. Unfortunately, the seal on buckets, plastic containers and recycled jars isn’t the best. They will eventually start to leak air. You’ll also need to add new oxygen absorbers each time you open the container.
- Mylar Bags with Oxygen Absorbers-Shelf Life: 30+ years (white rice), 2-5 years (brown rice). Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers is by far the best long-term storage method for dry staples like rice. This is the method we use most! Put the rice in the Mylar bags with oxygen absorber packets and then seal the bags closed. Because Mylar is impermeable and metallic, the rice will be protected against damage from oxidation, light and insects. Brown rice will still eventually go bad because of its high oil content but white rice can last over 30 years like this.
How to store rice in mylar bags
A somewhat underrated way to store dry rice is keeping them in mylar bags. This is our favorite way to store rice and other grains long term. Mylar bags are made from metalized polyester, which plays a role in blocking more oxygen. This helps keep the rice fresh longer! Here’s how to use them:
- Get a Mylar Bag–Mylar bags come in different sizes, thicknesses, and colors. Check how much rice you plan to store before buying them in one size or assorted sizes. Also, ensure you get the thicker variants to avoid holes and punctures. Holes or punctures will make the mylar bags practically useless. Mylar bags come with both a zipper and without. We prefer the mylar bags that come with a zipper.
- Pour the Rice into the Bag-Pour rice into the Mylar bags, leave one inch to the seal, and then zip the bags accordingly. Ensure you only preserve white or jasmine rice, as brown rice is not ideal for Mylar bag storage.
- Add Oxygen Packets if Necessary–Oxygen packets are optional to add into Mylar bags, but they are needed for more extended upkeep and better oxygen absorption. Seal the bags properly, then keep them in a dry and cool place in your pantry or cabinet.
What kind of rice should I store?
There are many types of rice you can store, but some variants require a more delicate approach. White rice, basmati, and jasmine rice are excellent for long-term storage up to 5 years in airtight containers at room temperature. While brown rice is better kept in the freezer for 6 to 12 months.
Storing white rice is relatively straightforward since it is low in moisture, preventing mold growth and bacteria formation. Rice storage containers work great for preserving white rice over long periods.
Keeping brown rice in a proper container requires a little more mindfulness. Since brown rice is a whole-grain alternative, it has higher natural oil content than other rice variants. Oxygen, heat and light are problematic for whole-grain rice; they will make the healthy oils in the rice start to go rancid fairly quickly. This is why brown rice has a much shorter shelf life than white rice. Even white rice can go bad though, especially in high temperatures.
Storing brown rice for more extended periods is possible, but once the oil from the rice starts to seep into the rest of the grains, the rice can go rancid. This situation usually occurs due to improper sealing or careless storage.
How long does rice last?
White rice will generally last for 4-5 years stored in the pantry, even after the “best by” date.
Brown rice will generally last at around 6 months past its best-by date. However, if you don’t take precautions, your rice storage could easily become infested by insects.
Proper storage methods will prevent infestations and allow rice to last 25+ years.
Should I store rice long term?
Yes. Rice is an excellent food item to keep in your food storage pantry. We like to keep a long-term food storage pantry for many other types of foods as well. Along with wheat berries, rice is the star of the show! There is a reason that survivalists, homesteaders, preppers, and home cooks keep this powerhouse of a grain handy. Knowing the proper methods to prevent spoilage is a skill that will serve your household more towards your long-term food storage goals, it can even help you become more self-sufficient!
Can you store Rice Long-Term?
Yes, rice can be stored long-term. If packed away properly with mylar bags, rice can last for more than 25 years!