Just how long does rice really last before it becomes stale? You see, when you are making sure that all the food in your cabinets and pantries are still in good condition, there are probably some types of food that you look over. For instance, you probably do not think a lot about rice, flour, sugar, or salt. After all, these aren’t foods that go bad quickly. There are even some people who think that these foods can’t go bad at all. While these foods can all last a long time, they will eventually go bad.
For instance, take a look at rice. Rice will typically last about four to five years, but there are many variables that go with this. Depending on how you store the rice, where you store it, and the type of rice you are storing, the amount of time that your rice will last can vary drastically. With this being said, it might be a good idea to take this opportunity to learn just how long your rice can last, and what you can do to preserve its life.
How Long Can Rice Stay in Your Cabinet?
Depending on where you store the rice, the state of the rice, what type of rice it is, and how you store the rice, the amount of time it can last ranges from four days to 30 years. First, you should think about what type of rice you are storing. The most common rice types include white rice, brown rice, wild rice, and minute rice. Placed in your pantry, these types of rice last as long as the following:
- Brown rice lasts for about six to eight months past the printed date
- Wild rice lasts for about six to eight months past the printed date
- White rice lasts for about four to five years past the printed date
- Minute rice lasts for about four to five years past the printed date.
There is, however, something to be said about how you store the rice. For white rice, there is the option to store it in an oxygen-free container. If you purchase your rice in bulk, this is definitely an option to consider, as oxygen-free white rice can last for about 25 to 30 years past the printed date. If you want to make sure that you have enough rice to feed your family for decades to come, investing in a vacuum-sealable container and some white rice in bulk will be one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Things are completely different when you start storing your excess rice in the fridge and the freezer though.
How Long Can Rice Stay in the Fridge or Freezer?
Most people also know that putting food in the fridge or the freezer drastically changes how long that kind of food can last. While rice is, indeed, a grain, there are some types of rice where this holds true. For instance, you can store brown rice in the fridge and it will last about 8 to 12 months past the printed date compared to the six to eight months it’ll last in the pantry. You can also store the oxygen-free container of white rice in the freezer, where it will surely last for around 30 years or so.
With all this being said, things change drastically when you begin thinking about cooked rice. Cooked rice, as you know, is no longer hard and sturdy, but soft and malleable. This makes it so that your rice will not last nearly as long, no matter where you put it. Although, there is a major difference between the fridge and the freezer. The amount of time that cooked rice can last in the fridge and the freezer is in the following:
- Brown rice can last for four to five days in the fridge and six to eight months in the freezer
- White rice can last for five to seven days in the fridge and six to eight months in the freezer
- Wild rice can last for five to seven days in the fridge and six to eight months in the freezer
It should also go without saying that you should never store cooked rice in the pantry. Doing so can invite mold and bacteria into your food, and nobody wants this to happen to their rice dishes. However, because the quality of rice can decay so quickly once it has been cooked, you should make sure to only cook rice that you know is going to be eaten. While rice is inexpensive, it is never a good idea to waste food simply because you miscalculated how much rice would be eaten for dinner.
How Can You Tell If the Rice Has Gone Bad?
Of course, people can be forgetful at times. You might not know how long the container of rice has been sitting in your pantry, and it is never a good idea to risk eating rice that is well past its expiration date. Unfortunately, it can be hard to tell when uncooked rice has gone bad. The signs of rotten rice also vary depending on the type of rice you are dealing with. With dry rice, the main thing you will want to be on the lookout for is a small little bug called a rice weevil. These bugs are reddish-brown in appearance. If you see them, you should discard all of the rice in that container and thoroughly disinfect the container, neighboring containers, and surrounding shelves. Nobody wants bugs in their food.
With brown rice, it will be easier to tell whether or not it is spoiled. Brown rice will typically become oily to the touch and it will give off an awfully rancid odor. This is because there are fatty acids in brown rice, and as they oxidize (due to time or improper storage), the fatty acids will go bad and that will be evident in the little rice grains.
With cooked rice, it is much, much easier to tell if it has gone bad or not. First signs will be in the touch of the rice as it begins to harden. The nice texture of rice that millions of people love will be gone as the grain of rice returns to its pellet-like form. Eventually, it will also begin to grow mold. Mold is always going to be a telltale sign that your rice has gone bad and that you should just throw all of it out.
Facts About Rice
Sometimes, it is nice to know a thing or two about the food that you are eating. Rice is an incredibly common type of food that can be used as the base for one dish or the entirety of another. It has a versatility unlike any other kind of food, which is one of the reasons why it has become such a staple in some parts of the world. Different types of rice are going to have different features to them. For instance, white rice has an incredibly low moisture content. Because of this, it can keep almost indefinitely, as long as it is stored in a cool, dark place. This is one of the many reasons why it is such a popular food to eat.
Brown rice, on the other hand, is completely different. It is a whole natural grain with only the hull removed. Because of this, the fats that remain on the rest of the layers of the rice grain spoil much more easily, as they are not protected by that hard outer shell. Instead, most rice is milled and stripped of almost all of the layers and nutrients, giving it a chewier texture and a nuttier flavor. Enriched rice can have some of the nutrients chemically returned to it, but brown rice keeps almost all of the nutrients, giving it its unique flavor and appearance.