How to Store Rice for the Long Term?

Although you may buy a bag of rice from the supermarket and store it in the cupboard, rice is an excellent item to add to long-term food storage. We’ll review the best rice, how to store it long-term, and the solutions to some often-asked storage issues.

There are a few things to consider if you intend to keep rice in storage for an extended period. For starters, before adding the rice, ensure sure the plastic storage container is fully dry. This is due to the possibility of mold growing on the rice granules due to dampness.


What is Rice?

The seed of the grass Oryza sativa (Asian rice) or Oryza glaberrima (less commonly known) is what is known as rice (African rice). Although it can also apply to prehistoric or uncultivated Oryza variations, the phrase “wild rice” is most commonly used to describe wild and domesticated species of the genera Zizania and Porteresia. Domesticated rice is the most widely consumed cereal grain and the main food source for more than half of the world’s population, especially in Asia and Africa.

Rice is the most significant food crop regarding human nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one-fifth of the calories consumed globally due to large amounts of sugarcane and maize crops used for purposes other than human consumption. It ranks third in terms of global production among agricultural products after sugarcane and maize. There are many different types of rice, and regional culinary preferences change.

How to Store Rice for the Long Term?

For best storage quality, just like with other non-perishable items, you need to take into account four factors:

  • Temperature
  • Moisture
  • Oxygen
  • Pests

Keep rice away from heaters and stoves to prevent temperature fluctuations. Find a cool place to store the rice apart from heat sources. Good storage locations can include a basement, a root cellar, or even underneath a bed.

While rice can be stored for at least ten years at a steady 70°F (21 °C) temperature, the ideal storage temperature is below 40°F (5°C).

Keep the rice you store dry. Your rice is more likely to mold when it is moist.

There are many different types of rice, but not all have the same shelf life. White rice lasts longer than brown rice, for instance; some rice varieties can last longer than others. They are the finest choice for long-term storage as a result.

The wide varieties of rice have varying shelf lives, with white rice having a longer shelf life than the other varieties. White rice varieties, including Basmati, Arborio, Jasmine, and long-grain, can stay the longest when properly stored. White rice can be stored for up to five years in its original packaging and over thirty years in an oxygen-free container or freezer.

In contrast, brown and purple/black rice can be stored in the freezer or an oxygen-free container for up to 1.5 years. The shelf life of brown and black rice in retail packaging is six months.

How Much Rice Can I Store at a Time?

You can decide how much rice storage you require. FEMA advises keeping enough food in your home for all family members for at least 72 hours.

We advise a minimum of 7 days, but if you have the time and space, much more. A sufficient supply of food will be needed, particularly if a hurricane or other natural disaster strikes and you have a frequent issue like an unexpected job loss.

According to the USDA, a pound of uncooked rice contains 1633 calories. Five gallons, or 30 pounds, contain around 49,000 calories. A healthy adult needs between 2000 and 2500 calories; an active person needs more.

In other words, if you only ate rice, 49,000 calories would last you 24 days or fewer.

According to Utah State University, each person should consume 25 to 60 pounds of rice annually. They advise consuming 300 pounds of grains, such as wheat berries, oats, rice, barley, and flour, per year per person.

To save money, buy your storage rice in bulk, but sample it before buying a lot. Even though 200 pounds of rice last a very long time, you don’t want to be stuck with it, and your family won’t eat it.

What are the Drawbacks of Consuming Rice?

May Boost your Metabolic Syndrome Risk

A set of risk factors known as the metabolic syndrome may raise your risk of developing diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.

These risk elements consist of the following:

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • High fasting glycemia
  • High levels of triglycerides
  • An enormous waistline
  • Insufficient “excellent” HDL cholesterol

According to studies, Asian adults who frequently consume a lot of white rice have a higher chance of developing metabolic syndrome.

White rice consumption and diabetes have been linked in research, although the connection between white rice and heart disease is unknown.

Conversely, brown rice has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

For instance, people who eat whole grains may have a risk of heart disease up to 21% lower than adults who eat the least.

In addition, lignans, a plant ingredient, are found in brown rice. These compounds have been demonstrated to help reduce arterial stiffness, blood fat levels, and blood pressure.

Arsenic Levels Could be High

Some regions of the world produce rice that is tainted with arsenic.

Compared to most other food crops, the rice plant accumulates more arsenic. This becomes a concern when soil or water supplies are tainted with arsenic.

High consumption of arsenic is linked to a higher risk of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. It is also neurotoxic and might impair brain function.

Children should be concerned if they consume a diet high in rice. Experts advise parents not to give young children large amounts of rice or goods made from rice.

Arsenic levels vary among different varieties of rice. These include rice varieties from the Himalayan region and basmati and jasmine varieties.

Arsenic also tends to build up in bran. Consequently, brown rice has more arsenic in it than white rice.

Reference: Bioaccessibility analysis of toxic metals in consumed rice through an in vitro human digestion model – Comparison of calculated human health risk from raw, cooked, and digested rice

Evaluating the health risks of toxic metal exposure from eating food crops is crucial. Through an in vitro gastrointestinal digestion model, the current study sought to investigate the bioaccessibility of hazardous metals, such as arsenic, lead, and cadmium, in rice and evaluate the health risks associated with these metals in raw, cooked and digested rice. Utilizing inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy, the produced samples were used to determine the concentration of metals in total and bioaccessible forms. According to the findings, stomach phase bioaccessible hazardous metal levels were much higher than those in oral and small intestinal phases.

How to Prepare Brown Rice at Home?

To prepare brown rice:

  • Rinse your rice in lukewarm water to eliminate any residual starch or dust.
  • Twelve cups of water should be added to a pot for every cup of dried brown rice.
  • In a big pot, bring the water to a boil.
  • Turn the heat down to low and put a lid on the saucepan.
  • After about 20 minutes of simmering, turn the heat off.
  • Before serving, give the rice ten more minutes to settle and steam.

Another option is to use a rice cooker, which will automatically switch from cooking to warming mode once the rice is finished:

  • Use an equal proportion of water to rinse dry brown rice.
  • Allow the rice to rest on warming mode for 5 to 10 minutes after the cooker is finished cooking it to prevent sticky rice.

Brown rice can be the main ingredient or a nutritious side dish. Here are several methods to test it out:

  • Add it to a soup for some nutrient-rich carbohydrates.
  • Add vegetables, pork, tofu, and brown rice before serving.
  • Combine rice, beans, salsa, greens, and fried chicken in a rice bowl.
  • Bell peppers are stuffed by combining them with ground pork and seasonings.
  • Rice is combined with milk, sugar, and an egg to make rice pudding.

What is Rice Bugs?

Although you might not notice them, the rice you recently bought probably contains insect eggs. If the eggs are kept in the pantry for a long, they may hatch and develop into adult weevils or moths. A serious bug infestation might arise from adult weevils laying more eggs.
The good news is that rice weevils are harmless and can even add some nutrients to your food. Thus, consuming food contaminated by pests may not harm your health. However, because most people don’t like eating insects, they usually discard the insect-infested rice.

Is Brown Rice a Better Nutritional Choice than White Rice?

Calorie counts for white rice and brown rice are nearly comparable. White rice has 200 calories per cup compared to the 216 calories in one cup of brown rice.

Brown rice provides more fiber per serving than white rice. While white rice goes through more processing processes, brown rice goes through fewer and is, therefore, more nutrient-rich. White rice is stripped of its hull, bran, and germ. While merely removing the hull, Brown leaves behind the nutrient-rich bran and germ. Because of this, the brown variety still contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that the white variety does not.

In a nutshell, brown rice offers more nutrients despite having the same calories as white rice. If you know how to prepare it, brown rice is another excellent choice.


When you need to store rice long-term, you must ensure it’s stored in a container that blocks light and is sealed tightly. The most important feature of the container is the seal because oxygen absorbers won’t work properly without it. Common containers for rice storage include #10 cans and Mason jars. You can also use food-grade buckets or other containers specifically designed for food storage.

The best way to store rice long-term is to use a mylar bag or air-tight container. Mylar bags are the best option because they protect the grain from the elements while eliminating internal moisture. You can also use glass jars with a lid or a metal bucket. While these options are pricier than normal buckets, they can also prevent rodents from chewing the grains. While storing rice, you need to be mindful of the potential dangers of mold and other pests.