Food is a necessity and a basic need for humans. During a catastrophe or time of failing economy, rice might be the most affordable and efficient food to have on hand. In times of food shortage, rice can easily be stored for long periods compared to fruits, vegetables, and meat.
Why Rice Is the Perfect Food to Store
Mostly popular as a partner for main dishes in Asia, rice is easy to cook and also nutritious as well as energy-giving. It is a far healthier choice than canned goods and junk food.
- Twice its volume when cooked
- Easy to cook
- Free of cholesterol, sodium, and fat
- Free of allergens
Pests and Bug Concerns
Rice is a grain food which comes from the field. If there is one thing to worry about when storing rice for a long period of time, it’s pests. For either short-term or long-term storage, rice should be given some air to breathe. Unlike other types of food, rice needs some form of ventilation in order to prevent spoilage. On the contrary, if not ironically, tightly sealed containers make it even more possible for pests to manifest or their eggs to hatch and multiply. The hot condition is mostly to be blamed for this. Rice will normally “sweat” when put under heat and unwanted bugs thrive in moist conditions.
Instant rice or cereals are not as ideal or equivalently reliable as white rice. If anything, they are best for short-term storage only since most have expiration dates of 2 years maximum. Brown rice is said to be healthier than white rice but does not last as long. It can be stored for many years, but white rice, stored under perfect conditions, will keep for up to about 30 years maximum. The ideal temperature to store rice in is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or slightly below it.
Rice will keep for up to 25 to 30 years this way. It is also possible to store rice under a steady 70 degree Fahrenheit temperature but an oxygen absorber is required. This will provide the storage to last up to ten years. Rice will keep from becoming moist under these ideal temperatures, preventing the presence of pests and mold.
Containers for Rice
There are food grade plastic containers available at specialty stores in which rice can be stored effectively. However, the lids must not be completely air-tight, in order for the rice to have enough oxygen. Again, if there is no available container specifically made for rice, have a generous supply of oxygen absorbers. There are different types of oxygen absorbers, some are meant for dry food while others are specifically made for moisture foods. Make sure to check the purpose of the oxygen absorbers before purchasing. Here are some good options for storing your rice long term.
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Oxygen absorbers are small packets which are commonly found in packaged food. They prolong the shelf life of food by preventing the oil contents to become rancid and eliminating the possibility of fungi to manifest. They contain Vitamin C or iron particles that react when there is available oxygen. The contents of the absorber will trap any available oxygen, no matter how small the amount, and react by emitting some heat. This is why it is possible to store rice at 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Clean and Sanitize
Cleaning and sanitizing the containers for the rice is important. Although rice is not typically sensitive to any type of container, plastic, glass or steel cans, it is best to keep it stored cleanly. Stored rice will absorb as much oxygen as it can, especially if sealed tightly with an absorber. Unclean containers might not be advisable because the rice will absorb some of its dirt and smell over time. Even if the rice keeps in perfect condition, when cooked, it will not have the same quality or flavor like it is supposed to.