Storing Rice

Rice – It is probably the most consumed food in the world.  Unfortunately, white rice is the only form that is viable for long-term storage.  If stored properly white rice will store almost indefinitely.  Tests by Brigham Young University show it to be edible and nutritious after 30 years of storage.
Rice is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, which means that it contains starch and fiber.  Complex carbohydrates are digested slowly, allowing the body to utilize the energy released over a longer period. Rice is also gluten free.

All eight of the essential amino acids are contained in white rice.  During the milling process, white rice looses approximately 10% of its protein, 70% of its minerals and 85% of its fat.  In addition, thiamin, niacin and iron are lost during this process.  Any rice sold as enriched has had thiamin, niacin and iron added after milling.

Brown rice is more nutritious, but due to its fat content should not be stored for any longer than 6 months, since it will turn rancid.

I prefer to store rice in #10 cans with oxygen absorbers.  This is a method I have used for quite a few years.  All of the cans I have opened have been bug free and the rice has been fine.  A good alternate method is to use food grade five-gallon buckets, Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers.

I see a lot of recommendations to put rice in the freezer for some period of time, prior to canning.  That is something I have never done and I have been storing rice since before oxygen absorbers were on the market.

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Rice is a good inexpensive product with lots of uses, I recommend that you store it.


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18 thoughts on “Storing Rice”

  1. For those on limited budgets or who lack the access or ability to purchase in bulk, try buying the smaller bags a little at a time and using a food saver vacuum sealer to preserve. I have used this method with great success. Its allowed me to put my limited funds to use instead of day dreaming about a bulk purchase “one day”.

    I buy $5 worth of beans and rice every time I go to walmart and over time I have built up a good stash.

  2. Matt in Oklahoma

    They put the rice in there to kill the bugs but I dont know any bugs that can live without oxygen so it’s not needed.
    I’ve eaten rice with meal worms in it while in the Green Machine because thats all we had. It didnt hurt anyone, just a mental thing.

  3. I buy the 2 lb bags and larger when I can. I use 1 and 2 liter soda bottles, cleaned then soaked in a water/bleach solution. A 1 liter bottle will hold 2 lbs of rice and a 2 liter 4 lbs. I usually put the rice in the freezer for a day or so before adding it to the bottles. I’ve also stored minute rice which I like because of the short cook time. I dont know if it lasts as long as the regular uncooked rice, but I’ve had some stored for a few years with no problems.

  4. Robert Collins

    I’ve had great success by storing rice in one quart canning jars (Mason/Ball) by vacuum sealing the lids using the “jar sealer” attachment on my vacuum sealer. It removes the oxygen and all moisture and no evidence of insects after 6 years of storage on some jars. They are resealable if need be and the jars can be reused almost indefinetely.

    1. You can, but it wont last as long as in #10 cans and will probably cost more. The bags are expensive. The cans including lids an oxygen absorbers cost a $1 each. Another option you might consider is mason jars and using your food saver. see

      1. Chamber vacuum bags are about 4 cents each. A chamber vac will place a hard vacuum on the bag with virtually no oxygen. I’m confused as to why you say cans with oxygen absorbers are less expensive and more effective. Seems the MOST effective method and lowest cost is to chamber vac. Thoughts? Thanks.

  5. Roberta oswalt

    I also am storing flour and meal in mason jars by vacuum sealing for I have read that they will keep for years for all the oxygen is out. I do have a few come unsealed so I do not put them in storage for about a week or so till I know all will stay sealed. Could be a some flour could have gotten on the lid and didn’t seal. when I reseal I have no problem. I am considering doing rice the same way. The bags are quite expensive and I already have the jars and you can reuse them even with oxygen absorbers as long as you have the tips. I do freeze the flour and corn meal for a week before I seal them to eliminate any bugs. I only paid $84 for mine at Wal Mart and have had no problem with it. I would say vacuum sealing is the way to go for long term food storage. Roberta

    1. I saw a video on storing flour using the Food Saver. I believe the poster put it in paper bags and folded them over before putting into the sealer bags. That helps keep the flour “dust” from clogging your vacuum sealer and helps get a better seal on the bag.

  6. I live in Sri Lanka. I would like to help the people here store their rice. It is very hot and humid here all year around. We do not have access to cans or bags. Most do not have refrigerators or freezers. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you

    1. Have you looked into dry canning? The storage jars are filled with the food product (rice, beans, etc.) then baked in an oven on a very low temperature (maybe 150 degrees). I think this would ensure a dry food and kill any bugs, etc. It works much like regular canning. The jars would also keep the rice dry during storage. Hope that helps.

  7. I store only parboiled rice. One cup of cooked parboiled rice provides 41 grams of total carbohydrates, about one-third of the recommended daily intake of 130 grams.

    The same portion has 1.4 grams of fiber, which supplies 4 percent of men’s and 6 percent of women’s daily fiber. Parboiled rice has double the fiber than you get from cooked white rice. It has a low glycemic score of 38, compared with a high 89 for white rice, notes Harvard Health Publications. A low glycemic score indicates that the carbohydrates in parboiled rice do not cause a large spike in blood sugar.

    Parboiled rice is rich in niacin, providing 4 milligrams, or 23 percent of the recommended daily intake in 1 cup of cooked rice. You’ll also get 19 percent of the daily intake of vitamin B-6. These values are about double the amount you get from non-enriched white rice. Your body needs B vitamins to metabolize food into energy, but they also fill other roles, such as helping make hormones and neurotransmitters. Vitamin B-6 removes the amino acid homocysteine from your bloodstream by turning it into other substances. This might help keep your heart healthy; high levels of homocysteine are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

    One cup of cooked parboiled rice supplies 2 to 3 percent of the recommended daily intake of calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. You’ll get a slightly bigger boost of zinc, with 1 cup containing 0.58 milligrams of zinc. That amount represents 5 percent of men’s and 7 percent of women’s daily needs. Zinc performs vital roles throughout your body, from forming the structure of proteins to regulating DNA. If you don’t get enough zinc, your immune system becomes impaired; it needs zinc to produce the cells that fight bacteria and infections.

    I buy for daily kitchen use as well as food storage Goya brand Golden Canilla Dorado, which is an extra long grain parboiled rice. 1/4 cup serving after cooking has 170 calories, 4 grams of protein and 37 grams of carbs. We like the flavor and texture.

  8. Can you store rice in 5 gallon buckets without Mylar bags? I’m thinking about freezing the rice, thawing the rice, then opening the bags into 5 gallon buckets and storing it like that. Thoughts?

    1. Yes, you can. The mylar provides another shield to protect from pests, light, and humidity, but many people store food directly in the buckets.

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