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Rice for Long-Term Food Storage and Emergency Preparedness

Updated on November 17, 2015
PatriciaJoy profile image

PatriciaJoy has been interested in prepping and frugality for years. She's continued to learn and evolve her prepping style as needed.

Bowl full of rice
Bowl full of rice | Source

A Food Storage Staple

Rice is one of the main food storage staples for long-term emergency preparedness and to hedge against economic distress. It's eaten the world over by itself and in dishes of nearly every cuisine. It's inexpensive and nutritious. It can even be ground into rice flour which is used in Asian dishes and by those who are on a gluten-free diet.

Water, wheat, rice, beans, oats and canned goods are just a few of the foods to take into consideration when planning for long-term food storage. Many people store food for storm emergencies as well as in case of economic distress such as unemployment, under employment and possible food shortages.

No serious prepper wants to store only the proverbial rice and beans, but don't discount the value of rice as a beginning point. Learn more about the different types of rice available. Also given are tips on the best way to store it and cook with it.

Emergency Food Supply, Instant White Rice
Emergency Food Supply, Instant White Rice

It's more expensive to buy the rice packed in a bucket for you but also really convenient if you want to get a head start on prepping.


Shelf Life of Rice

According to the USA Emergency Supply website, brown and white rice have a very different shelf life. Brown rice has essential fatty acids which make it good for you but shortens the shelf life to about 6 months in regular storage and to about 1-2 years when stored with oxygen absorbers. White rice has had these fatty acids removed which gives a longer shelf life of 8-10 years when stored with oxygen removed. Along with bulk rice selections below, I provide shorter term options for storage.

Bulk White and Brown Rice

Many supermarkets and warehouse clubs like Sam's Club and Costco sell bulk white rice. For long-term storage, food-grade buckets that keep out heat and moisture are the best way to go which I explain in my emergency food storage supplies articles linked above. You can also buy bulk rice online at Amazon as well as emergency preparedness companies like Honeyville Grain and Emergency Essentials.

"With coarse rice to eat, with water to drink, and my bent arm for a pillow -- I have still joy in the midst of all these things." ~ Confucius

BLACK+DECKER RC3303 1.5-Cup Dry/3-Cup Cooked Compact Rice Cooker, White
BLACK+DECKER RC3303 1.5-Cup Dry/3-Cup Cooked Compact Rice Cooker, White

I've owned this one for years. It's good for small families.


How to Cook Rice

Rice can be cooked in a pot on the stove top or in a rice cooker like those linked below. Rice to water ratios vary depending on the type of rice you're using. One way to remember this is the 1-2-3 rule for white rice, that is 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water equals 3 cups of rice.

Here is a basic recipe for long-grain white rice, but be sure to check the packaging of the rice you're using for the best results as some rice doesn't need as much water for cooking.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in medium saucepan. Add white rice, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 2 minutes. Uncover, fluff rice with a fork and serve immediately.

You can dress plain rice up by using meat or vegetable stock instead of water or adding herbs while cooking. In the summer, I often add fresh basil and lemon extract and it makes a delicious lemon basil rice that is great with fish.

Containers for Storing Rice Short Term

Snapware makes excellent food storage containers. They make it easy to scoop out the rice. Rice dispensers make it even easier and some will dispense a cup of rice automatically. These containers aren't for long-term storage. You should plan on using the rice you store in them within a year.

Rice Storage and Recipes

Here are some videos about rice including one that details how to store it for long term as well as some rice recipes and how to make the perfect white and brown rice.


Do you store rice in buckets?

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© 2011 PatriciaJoy

Do you stock up on rice?

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    • PatriciaJoy profile image

      PatriciaJoy 16 months ago from Michigan

      I know it's been done, but I'm not sure about quality of those bottles for long-term storage. I know that milk jugs degrade if you place them on concrete after a period of time, so that would be something to consider too.

    • profile image

      rebbie 24 months ago

      Can rice be stored in 2 or 3 liter plastic soda bottles

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 4 years ago from Pittsburgh

      It's always good to have an emergency staple like rice in the house. Great tips.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      We try to stock up as much as we can. Better to have something and not need it, then need something and not have it. Thanks for the tips.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      Very valuable information here! Angel blessed!

    • robertzimmerman2 profile image

      Robert Zimmerman 5 years ago from SE Florida, USA

      We eat a lot of rice since we have problems with gluten. Also, we try to eat organic rice. Thanks for the great tips!