Rice in the pantry, rice in the bowl

My comments here are going to be quite similar to my comments on storing dried beans. In this missive I’ll complete the storage and basics of rice, key to the construction of Beans and Rice, one of the most healthy and complete meals that can be found.

As spoken prior “These have an incredible shelf life, and with a little care can become the Methuselah of your pantry. Just there, always ready, and just never dying.”

In storing rice one must guard against the triple threat of oxygen, humidity, and light. We will tackle these with a minimal amount of gear and fuss.

Note if some of these concepts and words seem the same to you, well they are. The same concepts that apply to beans, will apply to rice, will apply to pasta, will apply to dried fruit, will apply to … <INSERT NAME OF FOOD STUFF HERE>

You get the picture, so understand the concepts and be able to skim for the important data and do your own interpolation.

Portioning

Let’s get some basics out of the way:

  • The standard ratio for rice to water is 1 cup rice, 1 – 1.5 cups water
  • One cup of rice will yield 3 cups cooked rice
  • The standard serving is 1/3 cup

Based on my family eating habits I’ll estimate that 1 cup of rice (approx 1/4 lb or ~125 grams), is about right for a single cook.

When one is shopping, one can grab an extra bag of rice, (do check the date on the bag), and portion / pack them out and secure in the pantry

But wait, why can’t I just toss the bag on a shelf and be done? You can, and the shelf life will drop dramatically, 6 months vs up to 5 years. That is if vermin and insects do not feast on your larder before you do.

Storage

To deal with our triple threats I’ll use my vacuum sealer to seal 1 cup of rice in a bag, and I’ll thrown in an oxygen absorber as well as a desiccant packet as well. As each portion is rather small I’ll use the smallest of those I can find. (One can find all those things on Amazon).

The use of a desiccant and oxygen absorber is a bit over the top for many people, a more moderate method would be to omit those when vacuum sealing the bags. A large drop in shelf life, from 30 years to 10 years, but then again, in no way will I need to have 30 years of food in my pantry.

An even more moderate method would be to just store the 1 lb bags of rice in a sealed container, giving an expected life span of 1 to 2 years, but at the end of that the rice will be rather old and quite difficult to prepare. As a matter of culinary finickiness, I’ll vacuum seal, not for the extra life span, but for the taste and texture of my finished meal.

Once I have my packs done, I’ll label them with content, and date packed, then place them in a light proof container. Having vacuum sealed, (You are using thick, 5mm, bags), the storage space require will reduce by an amazing amount.

Types of rice, Cooking

We will assume that we are not using my most favorite utensil, (the instapot), and have rinsed and soaked the rice for a minimum of 15 minutes and up to 30. Rice is cooked when the texture firm but not chewy. (The desired texture is dependant on the recipe being prepared)

RiceGrainFlavorUse
ArborioMediumCreamyRisotto, Soup
BasmatiLongNuttyDhal, Curry, Bryanni
BrownLongNuttyPilaf, Stuffed Peppers, stir-fry
JasmineLongMildStuffing, Stir Fry, Pilaf
WhiteLongMildPilaf, Stuffed Peppers, stir-fry

Notes:

I have not addressed any cooking methods beyond the classic boil then simmer, not have I addressed any seasoning, flavoring or techniques, those are for specific recipes.

The overall goal of this post is to convey the concepts of portioning to a desired yield, long term storage methods, rice types and basic uses. This is NOT an all inclusive list, do the basic research on each type of rice and do experiment.

Cooking tips

  • Rinse the rice
  • Soak the rice
  • Remember 1:1
  • Bring the water to a boil
  • Add seasoning
  • Add rice
  • Simmer for 10-15 minutes for white
  • Simmer for 25-30 for brown
  • After cooking, leave the lid on and steam for 5 minutes
  • Steam out for 5 minutes
  • Fluff with a fork.

My various recipes for rice can be found here.

  Filed under: Basics, General, Pantry, Preservation

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