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Rice

Rice should be a mainstay in a food storage, it popular and has a long shelf life. Plan on about 60 pounds per adult per year.

Rice is a favorite food used around the world because of its versatility and long shelf life. It makes a great staple food to have in your cupboards because it can be used in so many different ways. Depending on what you're cooking it can either be used for a side dish, a main dish or even a dessert. So it only makes sense for every long term food storage to include rice.

An adult male needs approximately 300 pounds of grains to sustain life for a year. (Keep in mind this is just grains, this does not include proteins, fats, sugars, etc.) Of these 300 pounds of grains, almost 60 pounds should be rice. More than that should be stored if it's something you use frequently. Remember; don't store it if you don't eat it! You can always store other types of grain to make up the difference. But if you use it frequently for family meals, then store more of it and less of another type of grain.

There are so many types of rice that it can get confusing to try and figure out which type to store. Make sure not to include brown rice or wild rice for long term storage. Brown rice and wild rice will grow rancid and do not store as long as white rice. Therefore they should not be included in your long term food storage.

White rice is brown rice that has been processed to remove the husk, bran and germ. This is done mainly because rice processed in this manner (white rice) will now store significantly longer. Although it loses some of it's nutrients by being processed, you can regain some of them by buying rice that has been "enriched".

When it comes to white rice, there are basically three types. These types are long, medium and short.

Long grain rice is just like it sounds. The grain is longer than it is wide, usually about 3 times longer. It makes a really firm rice when cooked and isn't very sticky. Sometimes if you overcook it, it will be very dry. Long grain rice makes a really good side dish to your meals.

Medium grain rice is usually about 2-3 times longer than its width. When cooked it becomes very moist and slightly sticky. I like to use the medium grain rice for stir-fry's, because I think holds together just a little bit better.

Short grain rice is just about as wide as it is long. Once cooked, it is very sticky and has been called "sticky rice" for obvious reasons. You'll see this kind of rice used in sushi recipes.

Rice stores best in cool temperatures, below 40 F if possible. Since that's not always an option for most of us, the next best thing is to keep it below 75 F. Rice will last the longest when stored in food grade enamel lined #10 cans, or buckets with a Mylar lining that will keep it in an airtight environment. (Don't forget to use those oxygen absorbers too). Rice stored in this manner should last anywhere between 20-30 years.

No matter which type of rice you buy, whether it be long, medium or short they all have different tastes and textures. Once again, it comes down to figuring out which style and brand you prefer. I only recently discovered jasmine rice, which is long grain rice. It's different from the other brand I used to buy and now I can't imagine eating any other kind. I am going to try Basmati rice next though because I have heard it's similar to jasmine rice but has been aged longer; which gives it a different flavor and texture all together. I don't know that I will like it as much, but I suppose I could like it even more. The fun is in the trying.