Food Storage: Rice

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 |  by  |  No Comments

Well, let’s add another grain to our knowledge bank. So far we’ve talked about wheat and oats… today let’s talk some rice. There’s not a whole lot to say about rice, so I’m going to try and cover it all in one day (so buckle up and hang on to your hats!) :)

{Types of Rice}

First, there are many, many different types of rice. White rice, brown rice, long grain, medium grain, short grain, Jasmine, Basmati… where do we even begin?!
Well, let me give you a *quick* rundown on some of the basics, and then if you want to know more about other types, you can check out some of the links at the end of this post. So let’s see…

‘White ┬áRice’ is just a generic categorization of rice based on color. It can still be separated into many other categories based on length (long, medium, short), taste, stickiness, etc. For a rice to be ‘white’ it has to be stripped of it’s germ and bran layers, and then it is usually polished as well. (Yes, this translates to ‘less nutrition’.) White rice has a very long shelf-life (30+ years when stored properly) and is therefore a good addition to your long-term grain supply.

‘Brown Rice’ is the same thing… a generic categorization based on the rice’s color. However, the fact that it is brown means that it has not had the germ and bran layers removed and is therefor substantially more nutritive that its white counterpart (although they have similar amounts of calories, carbs, and proteins). (Side note: A Harvard study showed that eating 2 servings of brown rice a week (instead of white) can lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, while eating 5 or more servings of white rice is associate with an increased risk.) One thing to note, however, is that brown rice will go rancid a lot faster than white rice, so it doesn’t make a very good grain for long term storage. But it still a good idea to keep it stocked on your pantry shelf.

‘Long Grain Rice’ is a category that refers to rice that is long and skinny. When cooked, these grains are separate, light and fluffy.

‘Medium Grain Rice’ refers to rice that is a little shorter and wider than long grain. When cooked, these grains are moist and tender, and have a tendency to stick together a bit.

‘Short Grain Rice’ is short and plump (almost round). When cooked, these grains are soft and stick together.

‘Jasmine and Basmati’ are both aromatic, long-grain rice (‘aromatic’ being its own category of rice as well) that have a smell similar to popcorn or roasted nuts. The main difference between the two is that Jasmine rice tends to be more clingy than Basmati.

{Health Benefits}

Rice has some good health benefits:

  • It provides fast and instant energy for the body because it is rich in carbohydrates
  • Cholesterol-free, sodium-free, fat-free, and low in calories
  • Rich in certain vitamins and minerals: niacin, vitamin D, calcium, fibre, iron, thiamine, and riboflavin (and brown rice is particularly rich in the B vitamin complex)
  • It is gluten-free and is therefore a great grain substitute for those with a gluten intolerance and cannot eat wheat.
  • Stabilizes blood pressure (and provides resistance to high blood pressure) due to low sodium
  • Helps regulate the digestive system due to its resistant starch (and helps provides resistance to dysentery)
  • Rice bran oil helps fight against certain heart diseases due to the high antioxidant levels
  • Brown rice is said to have a high level of neurotransmitter nutrients that can help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease to a considerable extent

All that being said, experts are trying to find ways to make rice more nutritionally beneficial (the nutritional benefits of rice are decently low compared to other grains such as wheat, oats, and quinoa), since it is the staple food of a large percentage of the world.

{Proper Storage}

To properly store rice for long term storage, place it in an airtight container with either an oxygen absorber or DE to prevent/kill bugs. Container suggestions include (but aren’t limited to): canning jars (with a good seal in the lid), mylar bags (that can be heat sealed with an impulse heat sealer), or food grade plastic buckets (with an airtight fitting lid with a good seal). Place the container in a cool, dark, dry location, preferably off a cement floor and away from rodents.

If, by chance, you happen to find bugs in your rice at some point or another, you may be happy (or unhappy??) to know that you do not need to throw your rice out. These bugs, while definitely unappetizing, are not harmful. You can get rid of them several ways and still cook/eat your rice without ill effects. Here’s an article with a couple good options for getting rid of those pesky invaders: Click HERE.

And that’s a wrap. Enjoy your rice! :)

Sources and Additional Information:
Organic Facts
Food Reference

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