The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends adults get at least half of their daily grain servings from whole grains. Brown rice is a tasty way to meet these guidelines. Unlike white rice, brown rice still has the bran and germ layer intact giving it a nutty flavor and rich texture. Because the bran layer contains oil, brown rice is more likely to go rancid than white rice. Storing your rice properly ensures it remains fresh and retains its flavor.
On the Shelf
If you only purchase a small quantity of brown rice at a time and plan to use it regularly, you can store the rice on your pantry shelf for up to six months. Keep the rice in its original package or store it in an airtight container. Your storage area should be out of bright light and kept at room temperature or cooler.
In the Refrigerator
If you have the space, your refrigerator is an excellent place to store brown rice and other whole grains. The cool temperatures and dark interior of your fridge prevent the oil in the bran layer from going rancid. You can store the rice in its original package or transfer it to an airtight container. Brown rice can keep for 12 to 16 months in the refrigerator.
In the Freezer
Buying brown rice in bulk can save you money, but many people have trouble eating all the rice before it goes bad. A freezer is the best way to keep from wasting your big bag of rice. To make using your rice more convenient, portion it out into freezer bags. In each bag place the amount you would normally cook for a meal. Once filled, squeeze as much air out of the bags as possible and lay them flat to save space. Kept in the freezer, brown rice can be stored for up to two years.
Storing Cooked Rice
You can keep leftover cooked brown rice in the refrigerator or freeze it for later. Place the rice in a storage dish and then cover it tightly. Eat the rice within five days, or store it in the freezer for up to six months. Because the cooked rice may be a bit dry after storing it, add a couple tablespoons of water or broth to each cup of rice you want to reheat.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture ChooseMyPlate.gov: What Foods Are in the Grains Group?
- Betty Crocker's New Cookbook; Jean E. Kozar (editor)
- Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images