Because rice has little moisture, you can store it longer than many other grains. Its mild flavor and pleasing texture make it easy to use in a variety of dishes, such as soups, beans and rice, casseroles and stir-fries. Boxed rice is stamped with a "best by" date rather than an expiration date. As long as the product remains free of insects and has no unusual odors, such as mustiness or rancidity, you can use it past the date on the box.
White rice is processed to remove the oily bran and germ, which means that it will not go rancid and can be stored for at least four or five years past the date stamped on the package. The ideal storage temperature for all rice is 40 degrees Fahrenheit. But even at 70 degrees F, you can keep white rice past the package date. After opening a package of white rice, use it within two years. Examine all rice, especially an opened package, for insect activity.
Converted or parboiled rice is steam pressured in the hull and then dehydrated. The steam pressure causes the different parts of the grain to mix together. Thus, some nutrients from the bran and germ, which are later removed, get pushed into the center of the kernel. This process also results in fluffy, individual grains when rehydrated during cooking. Because it doesn't contain any oils, converted rice can be stored well past the date stamped on the box.
Instant rice has been partially or fully cooked and then dehydrated. Boxes of plain instant rice can be stored past the date stamped on the package; however, instant rice is often used in convenience products that may also contain seasonings or dehydrated vegetables and beans. Any type of rice that has been mixed with other ingredients can generally be stored for about six months. Because the ingredients in these mixes vary greatly, adhere to the "best by" date on the package.
Brown rice is a whole grain from which only the outer hull has been removed. It retains the oily germ and bran, which may become rancid during long-term storage. Buy brown rice from a supermarket with high product turnover. Once packaged, brown rice will remain palatable for about six months. Store it in a dry, cool and dark environment. Once you open a package, use it quickly. You can extend the shelf life to one year by storing brown rice in the freezer. If the rice has begun to turn rancid, you will notice an oily odor that is unpleasant and resembles the smell of paint or crayons when you open the box.
- EatByDate: How Long Does Rice Last
- The New Food Lover's Companion; Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst
- Utah State University Cooperative Extension: White Rice
- Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service: Cupboard: Approximate Storage Times
- USA Rice Federation: Storage
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