In many countries around the world, rice is part of a meal on a daily basis. The vast majority of the world’s population is eating rice on a regular basis. We can get approximately 50 percent of our calories from just eating rice—which is why it is an important diet staple and a great survival food at the same time.
In this post, we will cover everything you need to know about rice. In the latter part, we will focus on rice storage—including short to mid-term as well as long-term rice storage.
Types of Rice
There are four types of rice which you can choose from—brown, white, black/purple and wild rice. But the most common types that are largely consumed all over the world are brown and white rice. Both are just the same grain; however they are milled in a different way.
Brown rice is a whole grain which contains three parts of the grain kernel: the outer, the bran (fiber-filled layer) and the germ (nutrient-rich core). During its process, only the husk is removed while the bran and germ remain. It is a much healthier option than eating white rice due to the way it is processed.
White Rice, in contrast, is a refined grain in which the husk, bran and much of the germ have been removed. During its process, it strips away the fiber and some nutrients rice is rich in, including B vitamins, iron. You may stumble on white rice products with an “enriched” label on the back packaging. It only means that the lost nutrients in the process are added back. However, fiber is typically not included in those nutrients added back in.
Why is Rice Important?
Rice provides several health benefits in our body, but it varies depending on which type. Basically, their process determines the health benefits we can get from them. As we’ve mentioned above, brown rice has a more nutritional value than white rice. Nonetheless, all kinds of rice are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates which provides us with energy in daily life.
Here are the health benefits as to why it is an important diet staple, specifically brown rice:
Improves Heart Health
Since brown rice is a gluten-free, fibrous whole grain, it helps lower cholesterol levels as well as the risks of heart diseases and stroke. Due to fiber, brown rice will keep you feeling full. It can help in maintaining healthy weight.
Boosts Energy Levels
With all the nutrients you can obtain from brown rice, it will help you boost and maintain energy levels. Manganese in particular is the nutrient which helps break down carbohydrates and proteins. This action will result in generating energy in our body which lets us power through the day, survival situation or not.
Regulates Blood Sugar
Brown rice, with a glycemic index of 50, is absorbed slowly and will help regulate the blood sugar of people with diabetes or blood sugar issues. White rice on the other hand, with a glycemic index of 72, quickly delivers a blood sugar spike. If you have blood sugar issues or not, brown rice is a better choice because of its lower glycemic index.
Lowers Risks of Cancer
Brown rice has an excellent antioxidant agent in its phenolic compounds. It is a kind of antioxidant which occurs in some plants naturally. These compounds are in the bran and the germ of the grain kernel. These two significant parts are not removed in brown rice, unlike in white rice. In any case, these antioxidants may help lower the risks of cancer, preventing the free radicals from damaging parts of cells.
Promotes Good Digestion
Brown rice has a particularly high fiber content, so it supports the digestive system for regular bowel movement—improving bowel control. Brown rice contains vitamins and minerals which support the blood to transport oxygen to the cells, where it is needed for metabolism. Patients diagnosed with celiac disease should opt for brown rice due to being gluten-free.
Here are the several vitamins and minerals brown rice is rich of:
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
- Folate (folic acid)
Nutrient per Serving
Here are nutrients of a half-cup serving of brown rice can provide:
- Calories: 108
- Protein: 3 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: 22 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
That’s a lot of sustained energy for just a half-cup!
Why is Rice Good For Long Term Storage?
There are plenty of good reasons as to why you should store rice at home, including the benefits while bugging in during a SHTF situation.
Apart from its health benefits, rice is one of the most affordable dollar-per-calorie foods you can buy. Even if you order rice in bulk, it won’t hurt your wallet compared to a trip or two to the grocery store. You will be able to save up enough money from buying rice as part of your regular meals, which can be allotted for other expenses at home, such as prepping gear.
Due to the fiber levels rice contains along with its water content, cooked rice is extremely filling to our stomachs. Eating rice will help us feel stuff and relieve hunger for a while. White and brown rice do not contain the same nutrients—by means of fiber, protein and certain vitamins and minerals. As discussed, brown rice doesn’t spike your blood sugar like white rice does, either. This means that brown rice is much more filling than white rice. Even so, either is a great food to eat when hunger hits.
Rice, along with wheat, is the most essential food crop of all time. One of the best things about rice is that it is readily available almost anywhere. Furthermore, it is highly cultivated in many countries around the world (except Antarctica). Therefore you won’t have any trouble finding some rice in the market at all.
Easy Long-Term Storage
As everyone already knows, rice is an excellent food for long-term storage. It has a significantly long shelf life which makes it a perfect survival food. You just have to be mindful of the appropriate storage techniques for storing rice to keep up with its intended shelf life.
How Long Can You Store Rice?
Generally, white rice can last for 3 to 5 years, whereas brown rice can only keep up for 3 to 6 months. Brown rice has fats present within and for that reason, it will go rancid quickly.
There are myths that say that rice can last for 30 years or more. But it is only applicable if you store your rice in the freezer or oxygen-free containers. Brown rice on the other hand can prolong its shelf life for 12 to 18 months when stored in the freezer.
How Should You Store Rice?
Just store your rice in a cool, dry place away from moisture, heat and oxygen. This is a basic rule for any food storage. You should keep it away from these three elements as well as pests. Preventing your rice from getting exposed with any of these will definitely let it keep up to its intended shelf life or even so.
Furthermore, do not let it sit in its original packaging for a long time. We recommend that you transfer your rice in an airtight container, possibly a gamma seal container, so that oxygen will not be able to enter. You could also go for Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Secure them in a safe corner to avoid pests nibbling a hole into your Mylar bags. But if you’re planning for long-term rice storage, you simply store it in the freezer.
Lastly, make sure that your food storage solutions are food grade and BPA-free.
Final Thoughts on Long Term Rice Storage
Now that we’ve explored rice itself a bit, it’s obvious that you should go with brown rice for its nutritional content. With the application of proper storage techniques, rice will last to its intended shelf life and even longer. This is what makes rice a great survival food, considering its availability and affordability. Moreover, with the multiple health benefits rice provides, it is easy to understand why it is an important diet staple for so many people around the world. Make it a staple at your home, and for prepping.