As any gardener knows, proper food storage is a great way to enjoy the fruits of your labor all year long, even when fresh resources aren’t readily available. Food storage allows you to keep delicious and healthy food on hand for long periods.
Regarding storage, rice is one of the best foods to have in your pantry. It’s healthy, filling, and nutritious and can last for decades when you store it properly.
You’ve come to the right place if you don’t know the first thing about food storage. This article will tell you everything you need to know about how to store rice long term.
Do Certain Types of Rice Store Better Than Others?
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that there are several types of rice, and some of them store better than others. If you have limited shelf space and you’re learning how to store rice long term, you should choose white or wild rice.
White or wild rice has a much longer shelf life than other options such as brown, black, or purple. Other good options include jasmine, long grain, and basmati, which are subcategories of white rice.
How Long Can Rice Last?
Here’s a table showing how long different types of rice can last when you properly learn how to store rice long term.
|Type of Rice||Shelf Life||Life When Stored Properly|
|Any White Rice||Four to five years||Thirty+ years|
|Wild Rice||Ten years||Thirty+ years|
|Brown, Purple, or Black Rice||Three to six months||One to One and a half years|
As you can see, there’s a pretty decent disparity between white and wild rice and the rest. Therefore, learning how to store rice long term that’s white or wild is the best survival option.
Considerations When Learning How to Store Rice Long Term
If you want to learn how to store rice long term the way the pros do, there are a few obstacles to watch out for.
Maintaining a consistent temperature is crucial when it comes to how to store rice long term. Ideally, you should store your rice in a cool, dry area away from direct sunlight.
It should also be an area that maintains a consistent temperature, such as a cellar, basement, or secluded pantry. The optimal storing temperature for rice is between 40 and 70 degrees, but it’s important to maintain whatever temperature you start it at.
The biggest and most unexpected thing to watch out for when learning how to store rice long term is rice bugs. Rice bugs, also known as rice weevils, are nasty little bugs smaller than a single grain of rice.
Rice weevils are so small that it’s difficult to see them with the naked eye. They’re often present on rice when you buy it from the store or market.
The surprising thing about rice bugs is that they aren’t poisonous or bad for you. These nasty-looking little bugs are healthy and could add essential nutrients to your rice dish if you can stomach the sight of them.
However, most people aren’t taken by the idea of eating insects in their rice and want to get rid of them. If you store your rice with bugs on them, they will end up laying eggs which will hatch and lay more eggs, and you’ll likely end up throwing your rice away.
How to Kill Rice Bugs
If you don’t want rice bugs with your rice, you’ll have to kill them before putting the rice into storage. The best way to kill rice bugs is by cooking or freezing the rice before you put it into storage.
You can also store your rice in an oxygen-free container, which should kill the bugs within several weeks. Cooking will kill them in minutes, and freezing will kill bugs in two to three days.
Killing rice bugs is essential when learning how to store rice long term because the last thing you want to do is throw your rice away when you remove it from storage.
The third thing to watch out for is oxygen. While oxygen is necessary for life on earth to continue, it will damage your rice and reduce its storage time.
For that reason, it’s best to store your rice in vacuum-sealed containers.
Moisture is the final killer to watch out for when learning how to store rice long term. Moisture will cause your rice to mold and rot, which is a death sentence for your rice.
How to Store Rice Long Term: Five Proven Methods
Now that you know the issues to be aware of let’s learn how to store rice long term with five different methods.
1. Storing Rice in Mylar Bags
The first (and best) way to learn how to store rice long term is to store it in mylar bags and use oxygen absorbers. You can use the mylar bags by themselves or use them as inserts in other buckets and containers.
The best way to use mylar bags is on their own and adding oxygen absorbers to ensure no oxidation occurs. Here’s how it works.
- Pour the rice of your choice into whatever size mylar bag you prefer.
- Add oxygen absorbers to the bag. You can purchase them as part of a kit or separately.
- Use a clothes iron to seal the mylar bags with the rice and oxygen absorbers inside them.
Mylar has a protective coating and seal to ensure your rice stays safe from the elements. Brown rice can last for two to five years in mylar bags, and white or wild rice can last upwards of thirty years.
2. Storing Rice in Mason Jars
Your next option for learning how to store rice long term is to use mason jars. Mason jars won’t keep your rice from spoiling for quite as long, but they’re aesthetically pleasing, affordable, and easy to pack and stack.
Learning how to store rice long term in mason jars is fairly straightforward, and here’s how it works.
- Pour the rice into the mason jar.
- Add an oxygen absorber or vacuum seal the cap onto the jar.
- Add an extra layer of protection by screwing the jar ring onto the lid.
- If you use oxygen absorbers, it’s essential to make the lid as tight as possible.
If you store the rice properly, white rice can last for thirty years in mason jars, and brown rice will last one to three years.
3. Storing Rice in Buckets
The third method for learning how to store rice long term is by using five-gallon buckets. Five-gallon buckets are extremely popular because they allow you to store a ton of rice.
However, using a food-grade five-gallon bucket is important because other buckets have coatings that will damage your rice. It’s also important to add oxygen absorbers to the buckets to reduce the threat of oxidation.
The downside of storing rice in buckets is that their seal isn’t as tight as other options.
Additionally, you’ll have to add new oxygen absorbers to the bucket every time you open it for a scoop of rice. Another option with five-gallon buckets is to line the sides and top with a large mylar bag.
You should still add oxygen absorbers before sealing the top onto the bucket.
4. How to Store Rice in Your Freezer
If you have access to a freezer and ample space, learning how to store rice long term by freezing it is the way to go. Storing rice in your freezer will ensure that there aren’t any rice bugs or eggs on the rice when you remove it.
Freezer storage also allows you to keep the bag of rice in its original package if it’s unopened and airtight. The downside is that you’ll quickly run out of freezer space if you want to store large quantities of rice.
Another potential downside is if you experience a power outage or have a freezer with fluctuating temperatures. When temperatures fluctuate, condensation will form inside the freezer, and there’s a good chance it will damage your rice.
5. Using Vacuum Sealed Bags to Store Rice
The final method for learning how to store rice long term is to use vacuum-sealed bags or containers. Vacuum-sealing won’t ensure as long of a life span as freezing or using mylar bags, but it can give white rice a storage time of five years and brown rice a storage time of two years.
The reason vacuum-sealing isn’t the best option is that vacuum-sealed bags don’t remain airtight forever. Eventually, the seal will break, and oxygen will leak into your rice.
It’s also good to add oxygen absorbers to vacuum-sealed containers or bags of rice. Doing so will help protect the rice in case the seal gets broken.
Why Is Learning How to Store Rice Long Term Important?
Even if rice isn’t your favorite food in the world, learning how to store rice long term is extremely important, and here are some reasons.
- It’s very affordable, especially when you buy it in bulk.
- When properly stored, rice has a nearly indefinite expiration date.
- Rice is packed with calories and is very filling.
- It has many health benefits, including weight maintenance, a natural energy boost, boosting your immune system, and it contains iron, protein, and carbohydrates.
- Rice is very easy to digest and process.
- Rice helps control your blood sugar and is also healthy for your heart.
However, it’s important that when you remove rice from storage, you check it for mold, oxidation, and rice bugs. You must also take the time to cook and prepare it properly.
Wrapping Up How to Store Rice Long Term
As you can see, there are several options for learning how to store rice long term. However, investing in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers is the best option.
There are few potential risks with using mylar bags, and they will also afford the longest lifespan for stored rice.
If you’d like to learn more about food that can last a long time in storage, check out our post on 7 Kinds of Kidney Beans to Try.