In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how to preserve rice for 5 years” and discuss the different methods of preserving rice.
How to preserve rice for 5 years
White rice can be preserved for over 30 years by storing it in a sealable container or a mylar bag with an oxygen absorber. Brown rice can only be preserved for 2 – 5 years using the same method.
Brown rice has a high content of moisture and oil and no method can preserve it for longer than 5 years. The brown rice has a short shelf life due to the presence of high lipid percentage in the bran layer resulting in quality deterioration due to lipid oxidation. Moreover, microbial load was observed higher in brown rice in contrast to white rice due to the lipid rich bran layer which is susceptible to microbial attack (1). It is recommended to use brown rice within 2 – 5 years of storage since the shelf-life cannot be exactly predicted. White rice on the other hand is very shelf-stable and can be preserved for over 30 years (2).
According to FAO statistics, 755,473,800.00 tonnes of paddy rice were produced in 2019. If we examine the production share of paddy rice by region (average, 1994–2019) we see that Asia produced 90.6% followed, at a great distance, by the Americas (5.2%), Africa (3.5%), Europe (0.6%), and Oceania (0.1%). Within the Asian region, China is the main producer with almost 200,000,000.00 tonnes followed by India with almost 150,000,000.00 tonnes and Indonesia with about 50,000,000.00 tonnes (3).
How to store rice in a mylar bag
If raw rice needs to be stored for 5 years or longer, it must be stored in a container that prevents the formation of moisture while protecting rice from pests and the environment. The best storage method is to use a mylar bag.
A mylar bag is a bag made from laminated food grade aluminum or plastic. A food-grade plastic lining prevents the food from coming into contact with aluminum. Dry food with low moisture and oil content preserve well in mylar bags.
Biaxially-oriented Polyethylene terephthalate (BoPET) is widely used in the packaging industry due to its proper low permeability against several gas (e.g., oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen). Such barrier properties provide preservation of foods and beverages sensitive to oxidation (e.g., organoleptic, nutritional, and color alterations). BoPET films are often subjected to lamination or other coating processes (metallization) to improve the barrier properties in food wrapping. BoPET film is laminated with aluminum foil (as barrier layer) and PE film (as sealing layer) (4).
Oxygen absorbers can be added to the bags to further extend the shelf-life of rice. If oxygen absorbers are not available, the mylar bags must be vacuum-sealed.
After opening the mylar bag, the rice must be used within 2 years (2).
Mylar bags can be purchased online.
There are both advantages and disadvantages of using mylar bags for storing rice.
- Mylar bags provide effective protection against moisture, dust, light and insects.
- Mylar bags act as an oxygen barrier and adding an oxygen absorber removes the oxygen available and extends the shelf-life.
- Mylar bags are available in a variety of sizes,
- Mylar bags can be washed and reused.
- Mylar bags do not offer protection from rodents. All packaging materials apart from metal and glass containers can be attacked by rats and mice (5).
- Mylar bags do not stack well and may take up a lot of storage space.
- Only food with a moisture content of less than 10% can be stored in mylar bags. So red or brown rice cannot be preserved for a long time in mylar bags.
Rice varieties and dishes
Rice is a common crop in Asia with over 6000 varieties. The most common varieties of rice include red rice, brown rice and Basmati.
Rice grains are generally brown. When the husk is removed by milling, they are known as white rice.
Rice is a nutrient-filled grain that can be prepared in a multitude of ways. Many Asian cuisines include rice in their daily diet and some cuisines use rice as their staple food. Some world-famous rice dishes include Sushi from Japan, Risotto from Italy, Nasi Goreng from Indonesia, Paella from Spain and Biryani from India.
How to inspect and store raw rice
Raw rice is very shelf-stable and is one of the best goods for long term storage. Raw rice is preserved for the longest time by :
- Inspecting rice before storage: Raw rice must always be inspected to make sure it is free from insects. Storing rice infested with insects will only shorten the shelf-life.
- Storing away from dust, contaminants and insects: Raw rice is very prone to infestation by termites and bugs. Raw rice must be kept in a closed, pest-free container in a cool, dark place.
- Storing at the optimum conditions: The best temperature for storing raw rice is 40°F or below. If an oxygen absorber is used, rice can be stored at around 70°F for up to 10 years.
- Storing in oxygen-free containers: Rice has the longest shelf-life when stored in oxygen-free containers. Rice can be preserved for up to 30 years when stored in an oxygen-free container at a cool temperature.
- Not storing in air-tight containers: Raw rice sweats at high temperatures and builds up moisture. If stored in an airtight container, the heat and moisture will cause the growth of mold resulting in spoilage. So raw rice must be stored in a food-grade container with a lid or mylar bags as suggested earlier.
Shelf-life of raw rice
Rice is one of the best foods for long term storage.
- Raw white rice can be stored for 25-30 years under the proper storage conditions.
- Raw brown rice has a shelf-life of about 3-6 months. Under strict storage conditions, controlled stored conditions that reduce the oxidation acceleration may increase the shelf life of brown rice (1). brown rice may be stored for 2-5 years. Since the husk of brown rice retains moisture and attracts microbes, it spoils faster.
Other FAQs about Rice that you may be interested in.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “how to preserve rice for 5 years” and discussed the different methods used to preserve rice.
If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.
- Mir, Shabir Ahmad, et al. A review on nutritional properties, shelf life, health aspects, and consumption of brown rice in comparison with white rice. Cereal Chem, 2020, 97, 895-903.
- Nummer, B and Darrington J. Storing white rice. Utah State University.
- Carcea, Marina. Value of wholegrain rice in a healthy human nutrition. Agriculture, 2021, 11, 720.
- Nisticò, Roberto. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in the packaging industry. PolymTest, 2020, 90, 106707.
- Robertson, Gordon L. Food packaging: principles and practice. CRC press, 2005.
- United States. Federal Grain Inspection Service. Rice Inspection Handbook. US Department of Agriculture, Federal Grain Inspection Service, 1982.