Rice is a kitchen staple and many families would rather buy it in bulk. This is because rice goes well with almost anything. But sometimes, buying in bulk goes South when bugs invade the bag. How then can you store bulk rice properly to keep it fresh and safe from bugs?
There is the correct way to store bulk rice properly and enjoy a long supply of fresh rice. You can keep raw rice long-term and away from bugs if you keep it in the right containers and under the right storage conditions.
Ways to Store Bulk Rice
1. At Room Temperature
If you want to store bulk rice at room temperature, make sure the temperature of the place where you plan to keep them is between 40°F and 70°F. The best way to store bulk rice is to divide it into small portions.
Transfer the portions into containers or bags and seal afterward. If you are storing the rice in bags, you can gather all the bags into one airtight container.
In addition, make sure you don’t leave the container on the floor. Place it on a shelf instead. Also, check on the rice and its environment once a week. Check for leaks, condensation, and pests. If you notice any, quickly open the rice bags and check for signs of spoilage.
2. In Mylar Bags
Get large Mylar bags so you can use fewer bags to store bulk rice. You can also use smaller Mylar bags to store rice you’ll need sooner than later. You’ll need oxygen absorbers when storing bulk rice in Mylar bags.
For large quantities of rice, use 300-cc to 500-cc oxygen absorbers. For the smaller bags, 100-cc oxygen absorbers are enough.
Begin to fill the bags with rice, leaving about 6 inches headspace in each. Put at least one oxygen absorber in each bag (make sure you reach the -cc requirement). Seal the edges of the bags with a hot iron or a flat iron (for straightening hair).
Thereafter, neatly arrange the sealed bags into a food-grade bucket and store them in the pantry. Try to keep the temperature in the pantry around 70°F.
3. In Food Grade Containers
Food-grade containers and bags also make a perfect choice when you need to store rice in bulk. Food grade containers -buckets or bins- can take more quantities than the bags can. You can choose to use either.
If you want to preserve the rice for a very long time, use food-grade bags and vacuum-seal them. Vacuum-sealing will remove all the oxygen in the bag and seal it afterward.
Moreover, this method helps to save space because you can vacuum-seal many bags of rice and gather them all into one bucket or basket. Most importantly, whenever you need rice, always check for signs of spoilage.
4. In Glass Jars
If you’re using old jars, wash and dry them. Afterward, sanitize them upside down in a hot bath of water and white vinegar. Steam the jars for up to 20 minutes and dry them in the oven for another 20 minutes (still upside down).
Sanitize the lids in the oven as well and allow them to cool. Then, funnel the rice into the jars leaving about ¾ inch headspace. When you have filled all the jars, transfer them uncovered to the lowest rack in the oven.
Heat the rice at 225°F for 90 to 110 minutes to kill off pests and any contaminants. Carefully take out the hot jars using oven mittens.
Proceed to cover the hot jars tightly, protecting your hands with a towel. Make sure you secure them tightly. If you feel, they are not tight enough, you may vacuum-seal the jars as well.
5. In the Freezer
If you want to double the shelf life of rice but you need it often, you can choose to freeze it. Food-grade bags are the best picks for freezing bulk rice in the freezer.
Divide the rice into portions and transfer them into the bags. You may vacuum-seal the bags if you want it that way.
Then, make sure the freezer is at 0°F, and your freezer is in good working condition. Thereafter, neatly stack the bags onto the shelves in the freezer where it is coldest.
What Is the Shelf Life of Uncooked Rice?
If you choose to freeze the rice, you can expect either to last double its shelf life in the pantry.
Does Uncooked Rice Expire?
Bags of raw rice usually come with a printed date, which is either labeled as a best-by or best-before date. Whichever it is, the date only depicts how long the rice is at its best. It doesn’t mean you can’t eat the rice after then, especially if you stored it properly.
White rice is still consumable years after its printed date. Brown rice, on the other hand, will stay just a few months more. But before you go ahead to cook rice that is past its printed date, check for signs of spoilage. If you notice any, do not eat the rice.
How Do You Know Rice Has Gone Bad?
If uncooked rice has gone bad, some of the telltale signs are:
Leaks in the storage bag
The first thing to do is to examine the bag or storage container for holes. If you find any, then there might be a problem somewhere. Open the bag or container and check for the other signs of spoilage.
When bulk rice has stayed too long without storing it properly, it’ll get damp over time. Consequently, there’ll be mold growth, which is an obvious sign of spoilage. You should not be contemplating throwing away raw rice with mold in it.
Presence of bugs
If you can see more than two bugs in your rice, you should throw it away. If small bags of rice were stored together, check the others for bugs and salvage what you can as quickly as possible.
A rancid smell
Brown rice, in particular, gives off a rancid smell when it has gone bad. This is because of its high oil and fat content. If you open a container where you have stored rice, and the grains have a funny smell, throw it away.
What is the best rice to store?
The best type of rice to store is white rice, which is also known as polished rice. White rice could be long grain, short grain, or medium grain.
Some of the varieties include basmati rice, jasmine rice, arborio rice, waxy rice, Japanese premium rice, and toro rice among many others.
In addition, instant and wild rice also last long. You can store any of these rice for more than ten years if the conditions are right.
Can you freeze raw rice?
Yes, you can. Freezing uncooked rice can double its shelf life. Brown rice, for instance, naturally doesn’t have a long shelf life. But if you freeze it, you can keep it up to eighteen months.
Moreover, the freezer is the best place to keep your rice safe from bugs. In addition, when frozen rice thaws, the texture remains the same after cooking. You can be sure that you’re not losing any nutrients.
What is the best container to store bulk rice?
The best containers to store bulk rice are airtight containers. You can store rice long-term in glass jars, food-grade buckets with lids, PETE containers, #10 cans, and Mylar bags.
Can you vacuum-seal rice?
Yes, you can. If you plan to store rice for a very long period, vacuum-sealing is your best option. Vacuum-sealed white rice can last up to ten years or more in a pantry. Vacuum-sealed brown rice, on the other hand, will last only one year in the pantry.
Rice is one of those foodstuffs you’ll find in every house. If you’re trying to store rice in bulk, you should be looking to keep moisture, heat, and bugs out of the bag. These are the agents of spoilage that can ruin your plan of storing rice long term.
Once you have opened a bag of rice, store it properly according to its type. Remember that white rice and brown rice don’t have the same shelf life. Put the rice in the right containers. Follow the storage tips listed in the article and keep your rice fresh and safe from bugs.
Thanks for reading.
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