How To Preserve Rice for Long Term Storage
It’s always best to prepare for anything life may throw your way, from natural disasters to financial crisis.
Food is one of the basic human needs for survival, so stocking up on foods that can be stored for long periods of time could save your life, or at the very least come in handy on a rainy day.
You will never regret setting food aside, and rice is a great food item for long-term storage.
Why Store Rice?
You can and should store several foods, but rice is an excellent choice to start. It is inexpensive, can be purchased in large quantities, and can be stored for very long periods of time.
Rice makes a great base for meals, but also has nutrients and calories if eaten alone. You don’t need to add a ton of salt or other preservatives to rice to make it last in storage, making it a much healthier option than many canned or dried foods.
Rice is also super easy to cook, since it requires no additional ingredients other than water and heat to prepare. It fluffs up to twice its size when cooked, making it efficient both for storage and for survival meals, and is filling without being loaded with fat, sodium, or cholesterol.
What are the Risks of Storing Rice?
Insects and rodents are a concern with any food storage, and because rice is a grain that comes from fields, the biggest long-term storage concern is pests. Rice requires some ventilation to keep it from spoiling (unlike most foods, which should be stored in airtight containers).
Allowing for ventilation, if not done properly, can also allow bugs and pests in. When rice gets hot it sweats, and pests are drawn to warm and moist conditions to build nests and lay eggs. While pests are a concern, using proper storage techniques will help minimize this risk.
What Type of Rice Should I Store?
You can store any kind of rice, but not all types of rice are created equal in terms of storability.
Instant rice cannot be stored as long as regular rice. Most instant rice comes marked with an expiration date, which is typically less than two years.
Brown rice is known for its health benefits compared to white rice, but white rice takes longer to go bad. When stored properly, white rice can last for up to 30 years.
How to Store Rice for Best Long-term Results
There are a few things to consider when preparing your rice for long-term storage.
Be sure that your container is clean and dry, as you don’t want your rice to absorb any smells, liquid, or residue. It is very important to use proper containers for storing any food item, and different types of foods require different storage containers.
Your best option is to use a food-grade plastic container (if you are worried about the chemicals in plastic seeping into your food, there are plenty of options that are certified BPA-free).
It is also best to purchase a container that is designed specifically for rice storage, because again, unlike most food storage, the seal of your lid should not be totally airtight. Rice needs oxygen to last, so if you can’t find the right container, invest in a lot of the next item.
You know those tiny packets that look like sugar packets only smaller that you find in some food packages, or even handbags and other leather goods? These are oxygen absorbers, and they contain minerals like iron or Vitamin C that quickly absorb any oxygen.
It is important to note that not all oxygen absorbers are the same. Some are designed for dry goods and others are for moist goods. Be sure when you are purchasing that you choose oxygen absorbers designed for rice, or dry goods.
It is best to store rice at or just below 40° Fahrenheit. At this temperature rice can last the longest, for a maximum time of 25-30 years.
It is possible to store rice at 70° Fahrenheit, but this requires enough oxygen absorbers to keep the rice from sweating, which allows the rice to spoil or creates a welcome environment for pests.
Rice stored in a temperature of 70° won’t last as long as rice stored in a temperature of 40°; rice stored in a 70° temperature can only last up to 10 years.
Now you know the basics of everything you need to store rice for several decades.