How to Store Rice

Rice is a staple in many parts of the world and people buy it in bulk. So, it is important to know how to store it and how to tell if it has gone bad.

Now, there are many different types of rice. The major differences are between dry rice and cooked rice. The other important factor to note is the difference between white rice and brown rice.

Most of the other factors that make one type of rice different from the other won’t apply when it comes to storage and checking if they are still usable.

In this piece, we will look at how to store them, whether freezing them is an idea to entertain and if yes, how to do it effectively so that you can extend their shelf life. Let’s get started.

Is Freezing Rice an Option? And Is It a Good One?

Yes, it is, actually. While most kinds of rice have a good shelf life, it is important to know how you can store them in their various states of existence, such as cooked and/or uncooked. Freezing rice is a great way to extend its shelf life.

In fact, it is a great option, especially if you are dealing with brown rice. This is because its shelf life is much less than that of white rice and the grain of the brown rice also has more natural oils in it. Here’s how you do it.

Uncooked Rice

  • Step 1: Put the rice kernels in a freezer bag and label it.
  • Step 2: Manually remove as much air in the bag as you can by pressing the bag against the counter.
  • Step 3: Adjust the rice in the bag so that it is flat.
  • Step 4: Remove it when you want to cook it without defrosting it.

Cooked Rice

You can do the same with cooked rice too and use it for skillet dishes, side dishes, stuffed peppers and more. But you must freeze the rice separately without the other ingredients. Here’s how to do it.

  • Step 1: Let the rice cool after cooking it and place it in a freezer bag and label it.
  • Step 2: Remove the maximum amount of air you can from the bag.
  • Step 3: Adjust the bag to make sure the rice is flat.
  • Step 4: Defrost the rice before you use it for your dish.

What’s the Average Lifespan of Rice?

How long rice lasts depends on the variant. Uncooked or dry rice is different from the other types. The same is true for white rice and brown rice too. The second factor is more important- ensuring that the rice at hand is still good for consumption.

Brown rice is likely to go bad faster than white rice for two reasons. Firstly, it is not polished or milled and secondly, it contains more fat or oil content. But when they are dry, both white and brown rice are referred to as shelf-stable. This means you can store them at room temperature and use them for a good amount of time.

Related: Food Storing Guide: Storage Times For The Refrigerator And Freezer

What is a good amount of time?

If you are dealing with an unopened and hence uncontaminated bag of white rice, you can keep it in the pantry indefinitely. This includes different types of rice like basmati, jasmine, long grain, etc.

Things change once you open the bag. In that case, you should keep it in an airtight box in a cool and dry place so that the external elements of nature don’t wreak havoc on the grains. By doing so, you can still keep the rice good for cooking and consumption for an indefinite amount of time.

If you live in a humid place or have a bug or pest problem, you might want to consider keeping the uncooked rice in the fridge. There’s always the option of freezing it too. And now you know how to do it as well.

Even if that doesn’t hold true because of storage problems, you can rest assured that white rice will be okay for almost a couple of years.

Unlike white rice, brown rice falls under the category of whole grains because it still has germ and bran in it. It means that the bag of brown rice at hand still has its natural oils, which make it vulnerable to getting spoiled. To avoid that, you might want to store it in a cool place in an airtight container. Even so, it won’t last as long as white rice.

Compared to white rice, the time period that brown rice can stay good comes down to three to six months from the time it is manufactured. That’s why it is a good idea to check the dates on the label.

Of course, you can store them in the refrigerator in the usual way or freeze them as mentioned above and increase their lifespan.

Now, these rules change when you are dealing with cooked rice. Their shelf life is pretty much the same once you have cooked them because the quality, texture and flavor are already defined.

So, you can expect cooked rice to be good for three to four days. Some brands say it is good for almost a week, but it is wise to consume them before that.

If you freeze cooked rice, you can expect to extend its shelf life to about eight months.

Related: 8 Foods with Longest Shelf Life that Last for the Long Term

How Do You Know If the Rice Has Already Gone Bad?

If you are dealing with dry rice, there are a few ways to tell if it has gone bad. Dry rice, as mentioned earlier, is considered to be a shelf-stable food item.

So, like other shelf-stable items, it comes with an expiration date. You will find this information on the label under the tag “best by” or “use by”. It is important to make sure that you consume it before that date.

And to make the best of this lifespan, you want to ensure that the packaging is intact before you buy the product. But if that doesn’t seem enough, here are some obvious signs to look for.

Check the packaging for any signs of spoilage. This includes bugs, holes, dampness or the presence of water. These things encourage the growth of mold, which will spoil the rice.

If you are dealing with brown rice, you must also see if it is discolored or seems oily or smells funny. If not, keep it in a cool and dry spot in the house like your pantry. Once you open it, store the rice is in an airtight container to keep it away from elements of nature like moisture and also pests and bugs.

If you are dealing with cooked rice, it is quite easy to tell if it has gone bad. You can smell it and see if there is any funny odor. Cooked rice that is fresh has almost no odor. So, any kind of unpleasant smell is a dead giveaway.

If you are handling certain grains like basmati, they will come with an organically lovely smell. But even so, it doesn’t happen with cooked rice. So, this logic still holds. When cooked rice expires, it has an unpleasant smell.

Then you must look at the texture of the rice. Fresh rice is usually fluffy and airy. But cooked rice that has gone bad will have a slimy texture to it. And finally, you must see if there are any black, green or blue spots on the surface of the rice. This is quite easy to spot whether you are dealing with white or brown rice.

If your cooked rice has any of these symptoms, it is best to get rid of it.

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