10 Surprising Uses for Rice
Rice is both delicious and beloved. Although it's used in the cuisines of nearly every culture on the map, rice is so much more than a nutritious, gluten-free carbohydrate source. Rice is a desiccant (drying agent) that wicks away moisture, a mineral-dense fertilizer, an exfoliant, a heat conductor and a deodorizer. Uncover the many non-culinary uses for this versatile and grand grain.
Save Your Smartphone
Among its many useful properties, rice is also a desiccant (drying agent) that can be used to wick away the moisture that has seeped into expensive electronic equipment like smartphones and smartwatches. Even if your phone is non-responsive after getting wet, this rice may resuscitate your water-logged phone. Instructions: Remove the battery and SIM card before thoroughly drying the phone. Submerge the phone in uncooked rice overnight before wiping clean and reinstalling the hardware.
Clean a Coffee Grinder
If your morning cup tastes funkier than usual, your expensive beans may not be the culprit. Coffee grinders absorb oils that, over time, will rot and spoil the flavor of its grind. Rice is an effective and budget-friendly method to clean and deodorize your coffee grinder. Plus, the rice will polish and sharpen those blades at the same time! Instructions: Wipe the grinder clean before filling halfway with rice and grinding until fine.
Water Your Plants
Rice water is replete with nutrients that not only benefit people, but plants as well. Rife with minerals like nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, rice water is a starchy, all-natural fertilizer that will soak the soil in nutrients and nourish both houseplants and flower beds. Instructions: Prepare a solution of rice water by covering 1 cup uncooked rice in a bowl with water and soaking for 30 minutes. Strain the water into a watering can or jar.
Most commercially-available fruit is picked before it's ripe, so that the fruit will last during transport to retail stores. It's often not fully ripened by the time it finds a home in your fruit bowl. Covering unripe fruit with rice will trap the ethylene gas emitted by the young fruit, allowing it to mature faster! Method: Cover fruit in a bowl with rice and let ripen for 30-90 minutes (unripe fruit could take up to a day of resting in rice to fully ripen).
Rice is an excellent heat conductor that not only transports warmth, but retains it as well. Since rice contains neither fat or oil, it does not rot and can be reused. Both of these properties make rice an ideal filling for a DIY heating pad or cooling pack. Let's call it a "rice pack." Instructions: Fill a sock or a reusable ice pack with rice, and heat it in the microwave for 45-60 seconds or until hot. Hack: Store the rice pack in the freezer and use the next day as a cold pack.
DIY Facial Cleanser
Rice water is an age-old beauty product used in many Asian cultures because it nourishes, cleanses and protects the skin. Brimming with vitamins B1, C and E, rice water will reinvigorate and moisturize your skin for a fraction of the cost of high-end facial serums. Plus, you can still cook the rice when you're done! Instructions: Rinse 1/2 cup uncooked rice before covering it with filtered water in a bowl. Let the rice sit for 15-30 minutes and strain the nutrient-rich rice water into a mason jar.
Clean Bottle Bottoms and Vases
Bottles and vases are often too long or oddly shaped to properly clean, even with a bottle brush. But harnessing the exfoliant properties of rice to clear away crud found in the bottom of glassware and ceramic-ware will save you time during cleanup. Method: Pour 1/4 cup into a bottle or vase along with soap and water before swishing vigorously to score and remove stubborn debris.
Take Away the Fishiness
This surprising hack comes from our Korean neighbors who use rice water to deodorize their go-to dish: salted mackerel. The rice water gently removes the gamey, too-fishy flavor and also perfectly tenderizes the flesh. Instructions: Place fish in a dish of rice water for 15-30 minutes. Prepare the rice water by covering 1/2 cup uncooked rice in a bowl with water and soaking for 30 minutes.
Sharpen Blender Blades
Your blender's blades will dull with use, and replacement parts are hard to find and usually have to be ordered. Instead of scouring the internet for manufacturer parts or replacing the entire blender itself, save time and money by using rice to buff those blunt blades. Instructions: Blend 1/2 cup uncooked rice until fine (approximately 1-2 minutes).
Keep Salt From Sticking
Not only do humid climates make people sweaty and sticky, they have the same miserable effect on our seasonings. Warm, moist air makes powders like salt and pepper clump together. Since rice is a drying agent, adding a few dashes of it to seasoning shakers soaks up the moisture! Method: Add 2-5 tsp rice to your salt and pepper shakers; actual amount varies according to the size of your shakers.