- Use either mylar bags, mason jars, or food-grade buckets to store rice long-term.
- Properly stored rice can last upwards of 25 to 30+ years, with a potentially indefinite shelf-life.
- To maximize the shelf life of rice, keep it in a cool, dry, and dark location that is away from direct sunlight.
Rice is one of the most reliable things that a prepper can add to their food storage stockpile, but how do you store it long-term?
The best way to store rice long-term is to keep it in mylar bags, mason jars, or food-grade buckets. White rice (milled rice) kept in cool, dry, and dark storage conditions can last upwards of 25 to 30+ years and potentially have an indefinite shelf life.
After extensively researching food storage preparation, I have gathered enough information to determine the best ways to store rice long-term. In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at the most effective ways to maximize the shelf-life of rice to help you optimize your food storage stockpile.
Which Types of Rice Store Best?
Before you drive down to your local grocery store to buy a lifetime supply of rice, it’s important to understand that some types of rice are better for long-term food storage than others.
Rice that is low in natural oils and fats will store considerably longer, given that the chances of contamination are greatly reduced. These are the best types of rice for long-term storage.
White rice tends to be the go-to pick among preppers and survivalists, as it has the best shelf life and is much less likely to spoil over the years.
The great thing about white rice is that it’s available in a number of variations. You can choose to incorporate several different types of white rice into your stockpile, and the shelf-life will be reliable for years to come. I recommend buying the following types of white rice for long-term food storage:
- Basmati rice
- Jasmine rice
- Long-grain white rice
It can be very tempting to opt for brown rice when creating a food storage system. However, brown rice has notoriously been unreliable for long-term stockpiles given its high fat and oil content compared to white rice.
Even in ideal storage conditions, brown rice may only last 6 months to 5 years. If you want your stockpile to last as long as possible, I suggest prioritizing white rice over any other grain.
A solid alternative to white rice is wild rice. Although it’s not as readily available, wild rice is a popular choice among preppers given its low-fat content.
You can store wild rice for just as long as white rice in the right storage conditions, provided that the product is genuine and free of contaminants. Many preppers actually prefer to use wild rice since it has increased health benefits and nutrients compared to white rice.
How Long Can Rice Last in Long-Term Storage?
How long rice can last really depends on the type of rice that you buy, as well as how it’s stored. When it comes to long-term food storage, white rice (or milled rice) is generally the first choice among preppers, and for good reason.
If you store white rice in your pantry at room temperature, it should last at least 2 years before the quality starts to deteriorate. With that said, storing white uncooked rice in ideal storage conditions can drastically improve its shelf life.
By properly storing white rice, peppers can achieve a shelf-life of 25 to 30+ years, with some claiming that it will last forever. While an indefinite shelf-life cannot always be guaranteed, you can certainly secure the white rice in your stockpile for decades by implementing food storage techniques.
How to Store Rice Long-Term
Whether you are expecting an apocalypse, the next pandemic, or simply like the idea of being prepared, there has never been a more important time to create a food storage system at home.
Prepping is becoming a trendy practice, with more people setting up stockpiles than ever before. One of the first things that should be on your shopping list is white rice, given how reliable it is for long-term storage.
This has notoriously been a crowd-favorite food item among preppers, but you need to ensure that you store it correctly if you want it to last.
There are a number of different food storage techniques you can utilize to maximize the shelf-life of your white rice. You should ultimately consider how much white rice you want to store and how long you want it to last to determine which method suits you best.
- Mylar Bags
- Mason Jars
- Food Grade Buckets
Mylar Bags (25 to 30+ years)
Mylar bags have been a game-changer for storing food long-term, and they are the most reliable choice for maximizing the shelf-life of your white rice.
This is an easy-to-use product that can be used for a variety of different food items, so you can always buy a large set and create an entire system based on mylar bags, as many preppers do.
By using a mylar bag, you can safely store white rice for upwards of 25 to 30 years before it starts to go bad. With that said, white rice kept in a mylar bag can technically last indefinitely, provided the storage conditions stay ideal for the entire duration.
This is a cheap solution for storing your white rice and you can count on your mylar bag to repel certain environmental conditions such as light. However, you should still ensure the storage area that you choose is safe, given that mylar bags are not pest-proof.
- Size Variety
- Blocks Sunlight
- Vacuum Sealed
- Not pest-proof
- Not puncture-proof
Mason Jars (10 to 25+ years)
We’ve been using mason jars to store our food for over a century, and this method still holds up to this day.
Since they were first introduced in 1858, mason jars have proved to be incredibly effective for maximizing the shelf-life of food, which is why many preppers rely on them for storing white rice. Rice stored in a mason jar can last at least 10 to 25 years, depending on whether the jar has been vacuum sealed.
However, mason jars need to be in ideal conditions for them to be suitable for long-term storage. The jar, lid, and lip should either be brand new or 100% clean and sanitized if you want your rice to last over a decade.
An important factor to keep in mind with glass jars is that they can easily break. Unlike most modern food storage containers, mason jars are made out of glass, which means they cannot withstand even minor impact. If you decide to use mason jars to store your white rice, ensure that the location is stable and safe in the long term so that the glass jar does not get damaged.
- Widely Available
- Break Easily
- Does Not Block Sunlight
- Small Containers
Food Grade Buckets (10+ years)
Food-grade buckets are by no means the most reliable storage method for maximizing shelf-life, but they are undeniably very convenient. You can expect your white rice to last at least 10 years in a food-grade bucket kept in ideal storage conditions.
For many casual preppers, a decade of storage is plenty, especially if you are just storing emergency supplies. Food-grade buckets are safe, affordable, and easy to use, which is why they are quite standardized in stockpiles.
However, the biggest selling point of food-grade buckets is that you can store a large quantity of white rice in a single container. Whereas most mylar bags are never bigger than 1 gallon, you can find plenty of buckets for sale in 5-gallon sizes. This greatly improves how much rice you can store, making food-grade buckets the most convenient method on our list.
Make sure that any bucket you buy comes with a lid that fully seals to prevent oxygen and moisture from getting in, as it needs to be an airtight container for the rice to be stored properly.
- Large Quantity Food Storage
- Short Shelf Life
- Requires Sealed Lid
Tips for Storing Rice Long-Term
No food storage system is complete without rice, which is why so many preppers rely on this essential grain when creating their stockpiles. White rice is a dynamic food item with an exceptionally long shelf-life that can last for upwards of 30+ years if properly stored.
Using airtight containers that prevent contamination is one of the best ways to secure your stored rice. With that said, keep the following tips in mind to maximize the shelf-life of your white rice.
1. Avoid Moisture
Any kind of moisture is guaranteed to contaminate the long-term storage of your rice. This has been the primary reason why stockpiles go bad, and preppers take extensive measures to prevent moisture from making contact with their food.
Airtight containers are essential for this, as they will eliminate contamination from humidity and any moisture in the environment. However, you also want to choose a storage location that is less likely to be humid and will be away from potential spills and leaks.
2. Cool & Dark Storage Location
If you want your rice stored properly, you need to keep it in a cool and dark place. Long-term rice storage is best in areas such as basements and pantries, where temperatures stay cool and there is not a lot of sunlight.
After you select your preferred rice containers, place them in a location that you know will be stable for long-term rice storage.
3. Be Aware of Pests
Whether it’s rice bugs or rats, there are plenty of pests that can contaminate your rice. I highly recommend storing rice in a location where pests are less active and not as likely to access your stockpile.
Store rice in airtight containers that will not attract rodents and rice bugs so that you can count on your system for decades.
In addition, place your rice containers inside additional storage boxes to ensure that pests cannot get through. I suggest inspecting your stockpile regularly for any signs of pests such as droppings and bite marks.
4. Freeze Rice
Many people forget that they can freeze rice to maximize its shelf life. While this may not be the most conventional method for every household, it is hands down the best approach for storing rice with an indefinite shelf life.
Freeze rice after storing it in airtight containers, and make sure that no moisture makes content with the grains. This kind of rice storage is ideal for homeowners who have large freezers with plenty of freezer space.
5. Use Oxygen Absorbers
Long-term rice storage is best when the likelihood of oxygen contamination is eliminated. When storing rice in airtight containers, add an oxygen absorber inside to reduce the chances of air ruining your rice.
While vacuum sealing is great and will likely suffice, many preppers prefer to use oxygen absorbers on top of this for extra security. Oxygen absorbers are cheap, easy to use, and a great way to maximize the shelf-life of your bulk rice.
Buy Quality Rice
Buying basmati rice, long grain rice, and jasmine rice that is free from natural oils is a great way to prevent contamination. However, before you put any rice in an oxygen-free container, you want to ensure that it is suitable for long-term storage.
Your airtight container is only going to be effective if the bulk rice that you add inside is of decent quality. If you want to achieve long-term storage, you need to ensure that you are buying good rice that is free of contaminants. Examine the grains for rice bugs, dirt, and dust before its stored.
About THE AUTHOR
I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.Read More About Mark Walker