Rice is a simple, filling accompaniment to almost any meal, and depending on the variety, can be a reliable source of vitamins and nutrients. When stored properly, rice can last for years, making it easy to buy in bulk and use as needed with little concern over spoilage. Different varieties of rice have different cooking and storage needs though, requiring cooks to do a little research.
When stored at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less in a sealed, airtight container, uncooked white rice can last up to 30 years, according to Utah State University. Lower temps help rice retain its taste and nutrients, but white rice can remain good for up to a decade if kept at up to 70 degrees F. However, if white rice is exposed to oxygen, as it will be when kept in a box, it's only good for 4 to 5 years
Though brown rice is healthier than white rice, it remains edible for a significantly shorter period of time when kept in a box or an airtight container. Thanks to a small amount of oil in the bran layer of brown rice, it can turn rancid and only lasts for 3 to 8 months when stored at room temperature. To keep brown rice fresh and tasty longer, the USA Rice Federation recommends keeping it in the fridge or freezer.
Other Types of Rice
Quick-cooking minute rice lasts for 4 to 5 years when stored in a pantry, though wild rice goes off in just 6 to 8 months. Once cooked, wild and white rice keeps in the fridge for 5 to 7 days, while brown rice stays good for 4 to 5 days. Cooked white, wild and brown rice remains edible when frozen for 6 to 8 months, though. If cooked rice goes bad, it becomes hard and may turn moldy.
To keep rice fresh and pest-free, store it in a sealable container, like a glass jar, and keep it in a cool, dry place. If you discover bugs such as mites in your rice, throw it away and inspect other foodstuffs for unwanted guests. Rinse rice before cooking to wash away starch, making it less sticky. Always cook rice in a pot with a tightly fitting lid to trap steam, and allow cooked rice to cool before placing it in the fridge.
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Hallie Engel is a food and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in several international publications. She served as a restaurant critic for "Time Out Abu Dhabi" and "Time Out Amsterdam" and has also written about food culture in the United Arab Emirates for "M Magazine." She holds a bachelor's degree in communications and film studies from University of Amsterdam.
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