How to Store Rice for Long Term Survival Prepping

Peter Stec
May 17, 2019

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
  • Hunger-satiating
  • Inexpensive
  • 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.

Storage Life

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.

Absorbent Industries 10 Gallon Side Seal Gusset Moisture Barrier Bag Food Storage Mylar, Set of 10, 10 Piece
Absorbent Industries 10 Gallon Side Seal Gusset Moisture Barrier Mylar Food Storage Bag

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Oxygen Absorbers

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.


About The Author
Hey Knife Up gang! I'm Pete, and I'm just another man like you in a small rural town who loves the outdoors as much as the other million internet users that cruise sites like every day. The difference is that I like to share what I know and research what I don't totally know so that YOU can have all the info you need to feel confident and prepared for all things outdoors-related! And, for those who care, I have 42 years of wilderness canoeing and bushcraft experience in Northern Ontario and spend most of my Summers covered in mosquitos and fish slime, but hey, it's a lifestyle choice, eh?

15 comments on “How to Store Rice for Long Term Survival Prepping”

  1. Please clarify If I put white rice in a sanitized 1/2 gallon Canning jar with Oxygen absorber and vacuum seal it will keep in my 65 degree pantry safely? for x number of years as I rotate thru the pantry?

    1. Theoretically, YES. Obviously there’s no guarantee if you run into issues like a full-fledged tiny insect invasion or prolonged natural disaster like a flood whose waters cover your pantry.
      Thanks for the question,

    2. I froze 25lbs of rice for a week. I then emptied the bags of rice into large glass containers with oxygen absorbers in them.
      I noticed that they started to sweat. I checked one that was half full and the rice seemed to be dry, however, I’m not sure if this is the correct way. Should I empty them out and dry with heat to be sure? Appreciate any advice. Thank you.

  2. I have read to put the dry food in the freezer for a length of time before putting in steralised containers.The food must be brought to room temperature before putting in jars.Is this correct?

  3. What do you think about storing rice for 1 MT as a bulk *brown, white and red rice ? In a large quantity what is the best temperature ? how can I reduce my moisture ? in Belgium we have a very humid weather.

    1. Question, after freezing uncooked rice for 7 days I put rice into glass containers with lids. The glass is beginning to sweat ( after 10 minutes from temp change) will rice be good long term?

  4. What about storing rice in factory packages inside a food storage bin? And why can’t you vacuum seal it and then store it in a sealed container?

  5. ok fiberglass woven mesh a foot wide 800 long 2 pieces, take your 170 litre black screw lid blue drum, and get a one inch hole saw and make 3 rows of 12 holes top to bottom on opposing sides then inside put silicone between holes and put on mesh strips, also six holes in lid same story, fully trolley moveable or barrel roll on edge allows rice to breathe no sweating

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