There are over 4000 varieties of rice!
Rice is the most consumed food in the world. In fact, there are over 4000 varieties from 22 countries. You are certain to find a few that are right for your storage needs. Rice plays an important part in your long term food storage plan. All rice is not created equal though, they have a different storage life depending on the type you choose. Follow along as we discuss the types of rice to have in your food storage.
How much do you need to store? If your food plan calls for enough food to last one year, a family of four should plan on having about 50 pounds of rice per person. My family has about one hundred pounds of rice stored in #10 cans and 5 gallon buckets. Learn more about grain storage requirements on the Grains, Beans & Seeds page.
All rice is categorized into three main classifications, which are dependent in the length of the grain.
- *Long grain rice is long and slender with a length that is four to five times its width
- *Medium grain rice has grains about twice as long as they are wide
- *Short grain rice is short and plump, it’s only slightly longer than it is wide
Brown rice is un-milled and retains the bran and germ. It takes longer to cook and because of the bran, it has a short shelf life of about 6 months. More on extending that later…
White rice or “polished” rice is the most common form of rice. The outer husk is removed, and the layers of bran are milled until the grain is white. White rice can last many years, because the bran and germ are not intact. It is the least expensive and with proper storage will last up to 30 years.
Common Rice Types you are most likely to find in the grocery store
- Long Grain Brown Rice – Long grain rice has a long, slender kernel, four to five times longer than its width. Cooked grains are separate, light, and fluffy. It is often used as a side dish.
- Medium Grain Brown Rice – Medium grain rice has a shorter, wider kernel (two to three times longer than its width) than long grain rice. Cooked grains are more moist and tender, and have a greater tendency to cling together than long grain.
- Short Grain Brown Rice – Short grain rice has a short, plump, almost round kernel. Cooked grains are soft and cling together.
- Sweet Brown Rice – Sweet rice is short and plump with a chalky white, opaque kernel. When cooked, sweet rice loses its shape and is very sticky.
- Brown Basmati Rice – India is well known for its fragrant Basmati rice, a very long grain aromatic rice grown in the foothills of India and Pakistan. It has a distinct aroma and the grains are separate and fluffy when cooked.
- Jasmin Rice – Originates from Thailand. It has a soft and slightly sticky texture when cooked.
- Wild Rice – is grown in North America, and is actually an aquatic grass. It’s often sold mixed with long-grain white rice.
Storing Brown and White Rice
The University of Nebraska, at Lincoln published the following statement on the storage of brown rice. “Because of the oil in its bran layer, brown rice has a shorter shelf life than white rice and maintains its quality for about six months. For longer storage, refrigerate or freeze brown rice”.
The USA Rice federation has the following statement on their website, “The bran layer contains a small amount of oil, and so brown rice has a shorter shelf-life than white rice. Store uncooked brown rice at room temperature up to 6 months, or refrigerate or freeze for longer shelf life”.
Brown rice is often labeled with a “best by” date of 12 months. You can try and extend the shelf life up to 18 months by using one of these methods:
- *Most effective: Use FoodSaver to vacuum seal it THEN
- *store it in plastic bags in the freezer OR
- *Store it in the refrigerator OR
- *Store brown rice in the coolest, darkest spot in the house
Whoever, to be safe, it is recommend that you should only buy a quantity of brown rice that you will use within six months.
How to tell is brown rice has gone bad from ehow
- Open the rice container and smell the contents. If it has a sour smell, like rancid oil, it is bad.
- Sift through the rice and look for visible mold, bugs, insect eggs or foreign matter. If you find these, the rice is bad.
- Feel the rice. If it is dusty or oily, it is past its prime and no longer good.
White rice storage is a snap. Just make sure you have food grade containers. Keep it in a moisture free area and try to keep an average temperature under 70 degrees. If you follow these simple steps, your white rice can last up to 30 years.
After opening your package of rice, you should use it within two years.
Types of Rice in Food Storage
What other rices have a long shelf life? When kept free of contaminates and moisture, these types of rice have an indefinite shelf life too.
- Wild Rice
- Arborio Rice
- Jasmine Rice
- Basmati rice
- Kalijiri Rice
- Texmati White Rice
In their article Rice in Food Storage, the University of Utah says “There are no known common allergies to rice. In the United States, vitamins and minerals: iron, niacin, thiamin, and folic acid are added.” Rice is high in starch and fiber. In addition, rice is low in sodium and a good source of protein.
The types of rice to have in your food storage? A little bit of every kind! Concentrate on the grains that will store for the longest time – even up to 30 years, but don’t forget to add brown rice too. Having rice in your food storage plan is an inexpensive way to eat healthy and stretch your grocery budget. What kind of rice are you storing?
photo credit: Rice Diversity. Part of the image collection of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).