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Earlier this week, my friend who’s now based in Vietnam asked me once about storing uncooked rice. She says one of her new Vietnamese friends gifted her with a sack of rice. She wonders how to properly store it. She asked me if she can freeze uncooked rice.
I am not surprised that someone there gave her a sack of rice. Rice is a staple food in many countries, particularly in Asia. In fact, the average person in Asia eats rice 2-3 times a day. In Myanmar, for example, the average guy eats about 195 kilos of rice a year. That’s far from the 7 kilograms that the average American consumes annually.
So what if you’re one of those people who stock up on rice, you might have asked yourself if it is possible to freeze uncooked rice. Would there be any difference?
Can you freeze uncooked rice?
The short answer is yes--- it is highly recommended that you freeze uncooked rice.
While uncooked rice has an indefinite shelf life, the main challenge in keeping it fresh is to prevent contaminants like insects. Sure, you can store uncooked rice in a cool, dry place and it won’t get spoiled at all. But it’s not a guarantee that bugs will not contaminate it.
But by freezing uncooked rice, there’s no way that insects would be able to get into it. Freezing is also a surefire way to prevent the rice from getting contaminated by dust and other similar impurities.
In fact, almost all rice varieties will be safe for consumption for an indefinite period when stored in the freezer. The only exception is brown rice. No thanks to its high oil content, brown rice will only last up to 18 months when it is kept in the freezer.
How to freeze uncooked rice?
So how can you freeze uncooked rice?
Using a scooper or a large spoon, take out the amount of rice that you feel you won’t be able to use or cook in the short term. Transfer the rice to a freezer-safe container and then tightly seal it. Then place the container in the freezer.
If you are planning to freeze brown rice, it would be ideal to label the container. But if it is white rice that you are to freeze, there’s no need to do so as it can stay fresh indefinitely when stored in the freezer.
How long does cooked rice last?
Since we are talking of rice, why don’t we discuss cook rice and its storage, right? Cooked rice obviously has a shorter shelf life than uncooked rice. All varieties, including white, brown, basmati, jasmine and wild, would only last 4 to 6 days when stored in the fridge.
Freezing cooked rice, on the other hand, can extend the shelf life to six months.
You would know that cooked rice has turned rancid when it has a bad smell or appearance. I usually trust my sense of smell in determining if the rice has been spoiled. It has an off smell that would really turn you off!
To extend the shelf life of cooked rice, I suggest that you cover it when it is refrigerated. You should not leave it on the counter especially when it is humid. Bacteria grow very rapidly especially during the summer months or in temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit and above.
The simplest way to reheat cooked rice is to microwave it. Before putting it in the oven, add two tablespoons of water for every cup of cooked rice. Then microwave it on high power. If you are to reheat frozen cooked rice, you would need about 2-3 minutes of heating on high power to get the job done.
You can also reheat cooked rice on a stovetop. Again, add two tablespoons of water for every cup of cooked rice. Cover the pot and heat the rice for about 5 minutes.
What to do with uncooked rice?
Of course, you can always cook the rice that you stored in the fridge. If you always end up with watery rice, this guide will help you in fixing it.
I am also sharing this simple baked broccoli chicken and rice recipe that you can try when you’re just tired of eating cooked rice. This recipe would take you less than an hour to cook. It makes six servings.
- Four large, skinless chicken breasts
- A can of condensed cream of chicken soup
- Three-fourths cup of uncooked white rice
- One-third cup of bread crumbs
- Two cups of chopped broccoli
- One and one-thirds cup of water
- Half teaspoon of onion powder
- Salt and pepper
- Half cup of shredded mozzarella cheese (Speaking of which, learn how to properly store this kind of cheese by reading this post)
Step by step guide
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a 9x13” baking dish, stir the water, soup, rice, onion powder, and broccoli.
- Put the chicken and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the breadcrumbs then cover with foil.
- Bake for 45 minutes. Top with cheese then cover again with foil.
- Place the baking dish on the countertop for about 5 minutes so that the cheese will melt.
- Serve immediately.
Sure, uncooked rice has an indefinite shelf life but freezing it is perhaps the best way to store it as bugs won’t be able to get to it. Freezing can also ensure that the rice won’t be contaminated by dust. Place uncooked rice in an airtight container, seal it and then place the container in the middle of the freezer.
Do you also know people who like to eat rice? If so, share this article with them. I am sure they will appreciate the gesture.