Storing Rice

by Pete
(New Zealand)

Rice. One billion Asians seem to survive. It keeps well in air tight containers. And you only need a few different flavors to make a tasty meal. Breakfast, lunch or dinner.


And it keeps indefinitely. The only issue is with white rice - there is little food value in white rice. Brown rice is more nutritional but does not store very long.

See: for reference.

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Unopened 25lb Bags of Rice
by: Anonymous

Is it ok to store rice in original unopened bag within a 5gal plastic paint container with air tight lid?


A tight lid is not the same thing as "air tight" which it should be if you are planning on long term storage. The only way to make it air tight is to seal the rice with O2 absorbers in Mylar bags. And, yes, you can even leave it in its original packaging if you want.

The main purpose of putting food into buckets is to keep bugs and rodents from damaging the food.

Having said that, if you plan on using the rice (rotating), there is no reason to do anything except put the bag into your bucket and dip into it as needed.

Brown Rice Storage
by: Rich

I'm seeing all posts say brown rice can only be stored up to 6 months? The store brand I'm buying has a sell by date of 1 one year? How can this differ?

Brown Rice Storage
by: Joan

Rich, it depends entirely on how it is stored. If brown rice is vacuum packed, it may last much longer than 6 months.

Brown Rice Storage
by: Anne

I just opened a #10 can of Brown Basmati Rice by Rainy Day Foods that I had bought to see how long it would last. The date on the can is 4/15/12. So its 3 1/2 years old. It was not rancid. It seemed super fresh. I was really happy with this because I want to store brown rice not white.


That's great to know. I do believe that if brown rice is packaged correctly it will last longer than previously thought.

White Rice Storage
by: CDK

If you intend to store White Rice for any extended amount of time. You should store it in a vacuum sealed container or better yet food saver vacuum bags. The bags prevent air and moisture your worst enemy from entering. A loose bag is a bad bag!

Food products contain tiny insect eggs which can and do hatch out in certain conditions and several methods to prevent this is freezing, vacuum sealing and constant refrigeration.

This is why you may get weevils and grain moths in your pantry! Your store bought foods are loaded with these microscopic bug eggs waiting to hatch! Right conditions and Bingo! You need to throw your food away!

I make a living controlling and advising home owner's on insect issues in their homes.

Brown rice storage
by: Marvin

Storing brown rice unsealed warm will go bad in a few months. The warmer, faster it goes bad. Hot(90F or more) bad in weeks. Been storing in freezer, longest about 2 years. The last of the rice in the bag is as good as the first.

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White Rice Storage

by Bert
(Stratford, OK)

How long can I store unopened 50 pound bags of rice, I bought at Sam's? I have put the bags in regular everyday stackable plastic storage containers.

If you dump all the rice into Mylar bags inside 5 gallon buckets, throw in the appropriate number of oxygen absorbers, white rice will last at least 30 years.

If your purpose is to use the rice a little at a time rather than storing long term, then the way you have stored them is fine. Rice is already dehydrated so will last a long time even if the bags are open for use.

Comments for White Rice Storage

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by: BJ

I recently stored white rice in gallon mylar bags with 300 cc oxygen absorber in each bag. I did the same for pinto beans. The following morning, the beans had shrunk down, but the rice still had air pockets. I live in a humid environment and it was raining when I packaged the goods. I did NOT use desiccants in either package. Should I open the bags and reseal the rice? Do I need to use desiccants? Is it possible the rice is okay as is?
This is my first time, so I want to do it correctly.

white is about the same
by: EMP

I keep hearing brown rice is better than white rice. but to say white rice has no nutrient value is just wrong. Google white rice vs brown rice and compare the two they are nearly equal, with white having some values better than brown. Its not all about the fiber.

The assumption is that because brown rice is the whole kernel (like whole wheat), that it is more nutritious than processed white rice. (No, it's not about the fiber.)

I say "assumption" because everyone seems to have an opinion about one or the other. White rice causes diabetes. White rice has too many carbs - bad! Brown rice - good!

I am not a nutritionist, nor am I an expert on which is the best type of rice for us. I don't know if the opinions or claims I have read are true or not.

Where I am coming from is strictly from a storage point of view. White rice stores longer because it is not the whole kernel like brown rice. Which means that brown rice has oil that can become rancid. Rancidity is bad what is bad for us - not the rice itself.

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Storing basmati brown and regular brown rice

by Jenny

I purchased multiple 6 gallon (vacuum sealed with o2 absorbers inside) buckets of brown rice and basmati brown rice several years ago. We are using it, but I have enough to last 6 years or more. I have read that brown rice may not store that long without going rancid.

I opened a bucket recently that was three years old, and the rice seems fine. Did I make a mistake in buying so much? I have them stored in my climate controlled basement which is usually around 55-65 degrees. I need to know if I should count on these buckets being viable when I need them.

Thanks so your website! Jenny W.


Thank you Jenny - I'm glad you like my site. Now as for the brown rice, many people say it can only be stored for 6 months. If in it's original container from the grocery store, I would agree. But you have purchased vacuum-sealed buckets and you store them in a cool environment, which is perfect. I've read that if properly sealed (like yours) brown rice should last a year; others say many years. Frankly, I think it will be fine for several years because of the way you store it.

That said, I would definitely begin using it now in your everyday cooking as a way of rotating it. If you do open a bucket to use, you might want to portion the rice into smaller containers (like quart jars or something suitable) and freeze them until they can be used.

Thank you for asking this question. I'm sure it will help others decide about buying and storing brown rice.


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What to do with brown rice?
by: Nick

I bought a 25 lb bag of organic short grain brown rice in either 2006 or 2007 without understanding any basics of long term food storage. It has never been opened and is still in its original triple layered paper "flour" sack. It was kept in a deep freezer which was not running for over four years, I guess, indoors. The air temperature indoors was kept usually no higher than 80 degrees.

I did not understand that rice could go bad until I noticed how even long term stored white rice will begin to exude a waxy oil over time when stored in a plastic bag.

I see that this site lists two times for brown rice; 6 months to one year and another date of 6 years which I am assuming is for brown rice that is stored in airtight packaging with oxygen absorbers. Is that correct?

Is my rice bad? Will I have to throw it away now or else risk consuming rancid rice bran oils that are carcinogenic and bad for the heart? I don't know what to do. I wish I would have known about these things ahead of time?

And now how about beans/ lentils? I have had some of those stored for about the same length of time mostly in plastic ziplock bags in a large plastic bin. Are those going to be rancid too?

What nutritionally healthy oil lasts the longest in terms of food storage? Are there any oils that last longer than two years?

What to do with brown rice...
by: Admin.

I'm sorry you bought so much brown rice not knowing that it can go rancid. I did the same thing years ago. I can't tell you if your rice is okay - you will just have to open it and check. You can tell by the smell.

Under the best of conditions, cool temps (below 70 degrees) and vacuum packed, brown rice only has a shelf life of about 6 months. (Thank you for pointing out that there were two different shelf life times on this website. I have corrected that.)

No matter the food product, if you want it to last years, it will need to be packaged in the best method to give it that shelf life. That means cool temperatures, very little light, almost no oxygen (less than 98% is ideal), and the proper storage containers. Dry food products with grocery store packaging don't meet the criteria for long term storage.

So for long term storage, foods should either be purchased freeze dried or dehydrated and vacuum packed, or repackaged in Mylar bags and food grade containers, or vacuum packed with your own FoodSaver or other vacuum sealer.

The shelf life of foods depends greatly on their dryness. Beans do not contain oil like brown rice, so your beans may be okay. Again, just open them, cook some up and see how they are. Generally, beans store much better than most foods. If they're okay, I would package them in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers however.

As for fats and oils, their shelf life is short, as you might expect, because they go rancid. The longest storing I have found is coconut oil (which is liquid in warm temps and kind of solid in cold temps). Here is more information about storing fats and oils.

Brown rice can be stored as long as white rice
by: Anonymous

Read my post to allay your fears of storing brown rice. Brown rice can be stored as long as white rice.


I read your article. You are talking about cooked brown rice (parboiled). That is entirely different than uncooked brown rice. In the article you referenced, it said, "Brown rice, because of the oil content in the attached bran, aleurone and germ, is susceptible to oxidation. As a result, brown rice has a shelf life of only six months. Keeping brown rice in a refrigerator or cooler will extend the shelf life."

This is exactly what I've read from experts and preppers everywhere, as well as my own experience. I've had brown rice (not parboiled) go rancid. Rancidity is poison, so do not store uncooked brown rice longer than 6 months unless refrigerated, frozen, or parboiled before packaged.

P.S. I do believe you are correct about the "empty calories" of white rice. I personally don't eat white rice, nor store it. I like more nutrition in my food than white rice provides.

Brown Rice Storage
by: Sue

I've had a 20# bag of Long Grain Brown Rice in my freezer for a year or less (it was packaged at the plant in 10/11). Can I extend the life of this rice by putting it in a Mylar bag with O2's and then refreezing it - OR - would a better bet be to cook it and then dehydrate it myself. Then, could I just put it in mylar or mason with O2's and be good to go? Like others, I bought this before I knew any better. Thanks.

Personally, I would just leave it in the freezer and use it up. That's the easiest thing to do.

As mentioned in a previous response, technically it could be cooked and then dehydrated. As for increasing the shelf life, I really can't say as I have not tried that. According to the article mentioned below, it would store well.

Brown Rice Storage
by: Anonymous

I have brown rice in 6-gallon buckets, purchased sealed from the factory with an oxygen absorber. After 10 years I opened a bucket last night just to see if it was rancid, and I believe it is because it smells like paint or paint thinner in comparison to just-purchased store-bought brown rice, which essentially has no smell. The bucket was stored in the basement on a carpeted floor in 55-65 degree temps.

So I think I might buy new, but in #10 cans already sealed. That's my experience.

Can wheat germ go rancid?
by: Dave

Can wheat germ also go rancid? I have several #10 cans of that in my basement. I noticed today that one can was starting to rust in several spots. I just tossed it, didn't even open it. It was 20 years old.


Yes, it can. However, sealed in #10 cans (with oxygen absorbers I assume) or vacuum packed will prolong its shelf life.

I don't know the exact shelf life of vacuum packed wheat germ, but foods with oils in them should usually only be stored for a year or two.

It would have been good to know the condition of the one you tossed. Rancid? Not too bad? Fresh smelling? "Inquiring minds want to know." (That's me.)

Rancid Wheat Germ??
by: Dave

So I opened another can of wheat germ, 20 years old, and it seem fine, didn't smell rancid.

I didn't want to mess with that other rusted can; I suspect the wheat germ would have smelled like the can, rusty.


That's great to know. Enjoy your 20 year old wheat germ. :)

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Storing Brown Rice and Oats

by nancy kingery
(colorado springs co USA)

Can you vacuum pack with oxygen absorbers, brown rice or oats?


Yes, you can, however, brown rice has a shelf life of only about 6 months to a year because of its oil content. It can go rancid.

Oats, on the other hand, have a shelf life of 25-30 years.

Just remember that all the shelf life of all foods depends mainly on the temperature at which it is stored.

You might like to read more comments about storing brown rice here:

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Storing Rice in Bags from the Grocery Store

How long does rice last in plastic sealed package that it came in from the store?


White rice could last 30 years since it is already dehydrated. The problem is weevils. All grains come with weevil eggs - you can't see them, but they're there. If you keep grains or flour just in your pantry for months, you will soon have weevils hatch from the eggs.

To prevent the eggs from hatching, put the rice in the bags right into the freezer for about 24 hours. That will kill the eggs.

Then decide how long you want to store the rice. Are you going to be using it in your daily/weekly menus? If so, just keep it in your pantry.

Are you planning to store it long term? Then dump it out of the bags into #10 cans or 5 gallon buckets with oxygen absorbers or vacuum pack it and it will last for 30+ years.

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by: Anonymous

I am so new to this...I bought the rice from the grocery has been in the freezer for about a week now...I ordered the oxygen absorbers...where do I get the #10 cans...or can I put it in canning jars and just hand tighten the lid?


The only place I know to get #10 cans is from an LDS canning facility - and then you need a special tool to seal them.

So, yes, you can store rice in canning jars with an O2 absorber and just tighten down the lid.

brown rice storage
by: anonymous

I put my brown rice in the freezer for a week or so, can I take it out now and put it in my mason jars and vacuum seal it? Will the moisture of being in the freezer be a problem? Also, should I put it back in the freezer after I vacuum seal it for longer storage or just use it within the 6 months? Thank you.


You could leave it in the freezer indefinitely without vacuum sealing it and use it over time, or vacuum seal it in canning jars and keep it in a cool place.

I'm not sure how much moisture it might collect from being in the freezer, but if you are unsure of the moisture content, just spread out the rice on a cookie sheet (or something similar) and leave for a few hours. Then vacuum seal it in canning jars.

weevils / ants
by: Susan

I have always put bay leaves in my pantry and in my canisters of flour, oats, rice and pasta as I was told it keeps weevils and millers moths out. That being said it does not prevent eggs already present from hatching.

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Botulism in Grains & Rice

I read that if the grains you store--wheat, rice, etc. do not have less then 5-10% moisture and then are stored long term with oxygen absorbers, there is a chance of botulism? Also, if true, then how would you know if the grains you buy have less then 10% moisture, especially if you are buying over the internet?

Because products like wheat, rice, and beans are already dry (dehydrated) products, there is little chance of botulism as long as moisture is not introduced into the product while you are packing it. It is the presence of oxygen that spoils dry-packed foods which is why oxygen absorbers are necessary.

How can we trust the products bought over the internet? Would these companies, most of whom have been in the business of selling dehydrated and freeze-dried foods for many years, still be in business if they sold products that have too much moisture that would breed botulism?

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