Do you wonder if there’s any other way to store raw rice except in the pantry? How about a refrigerator or freezer?
When I first became independent and got my own kitchen, I kept rice in my pantry until a bunch of annoying bugs decided to invade and ruin it!
I knew I couldn’t go on like this. I began to explore other options for storing rice and came across the idea of refrigerating raw rice. Now, the question was, can you store uncooked rice in the fridge?
You can store uncooked rice in the fridge and reduce the risk of bacterial contamination, pest infestation, or dust accumulation. You just need to keep rice in an airtight container and label it. Also, ensure that your fridge’s temperature stays below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Is It Possible to Store Uncooked Rice in the Fridge?
Most of us prefer to store uncooked rice grains in airtight containers at room temperature in the kitchen or pantry.
However, your rice may become unfit for consumption if it gets contaminated due to pests, excess moisture, or even dust. The next option is to store uncooked rice in the fridge.
Just like you refrigerate cooked rice, it’s possible to refrigerate uncooked rice without affecting its quality. Refrigerating uncooked rice is better than storing it in the pantry under certain circumstances.
Suitable for Moist Environments
I highly suggest refrigerating uncooked rice if you live in a humid area near the sea or a beach.
When you store rice in the pantry, there is always a risk of not closing the airtight container properly. Consequently, the humid air can get into the container and increase the moisture content. This situation increases the growth of bacteria!
Reduced Risk of Bacterial Growth
Low temperatures cannot kill bacteria but can make them dormant.
Experts say bacteria stop growing when temperatures dip below 41 degrees Fahrenheit. As long as you maintain your refrigerator’s temperature, the risk of bacterial contamination is reduced.
Decreased Chances of Pest Infestation
Everybody loves rice, including pests. If you haven’t stored rice properly in your pantry, pests can infest the rice and feed on it.
You don’t have to worry about bugs while refrigerating rice since the decreased temperature means there are rarely any bugs or pests inside the fridge.
Increased Shelf Life
All types of uncooked rice, except brown rice, have an indefinite shelf life. However, if there’s any form of contamination, you can’t use them!
Refrigerating rice improves the shelf life of rice grains and keeps them fresh.
Step-By-Step Guide to Store Uncooked Rice in the Fridge
I follow a particular method before keeping uncooked rice in the fridge. Trust me, it helps maintain the rice’s freshness even after months of refrigeration. For best results refrigerating uncooked rice, follow the steps given below.
Step 1: Pick an Airtight Container
Be it your pantry or the fridge, you should always store raw rice in an airtight container. Pick a container that’s large enough to hold the rice and also leaves some extra space.
Wash the airtight container and let it dry completely.
Step 2: Divide the Uncooked Rice Into Portions
Here’s a quick tip: if you tend to buy rice in bulk like me, divide it into portions instead of storing a massive batch of it in a single container.
This way, you can take out one container per your consumption needs and not expose the entire batch to temperature changes!
Step 3: Transfer the Rice to the Container
Next, transfer the raw rice grains to the airtight container and leave some space on the top. Don’t forget to close the container’s lid tightly. Otherwise, any stale food item stored near the rice can cause bacterial contamination.
Step 4: Label the Containers
After storing the rice in the container, label it with the storage date.
If your airtight containers are opaque or translucent, writing down what’s inside them can save you time; you won’t have to open each container while trying to find rice.
Step 5: Store Rice in the Fridge
When you keep the rice containers inside the fridge, ensure the temperature is below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, as per America’s Test Kitchen.
How to Cook Refrigerated Raw Rice?
You might doubt how to cook rice after taking it from the refrigerator. The good news is that you don’t need to follow any extra steps for boiling refrigerated rice grains!
All you have to do is soak the rice for 30 minutes and rinse it two to three times to remove any excess starch.
Then, cook the rice at medium-high heat by adding one cup of water to every two cups of rice. Keep the cooking pot’s lid closed and boil the rice until all water is absorbed.
How Can You Tell When Uncooked Rice Has Gone Bad?
Just like cooked rice, raw rice is susceptible to spoilage. Regardless of how you store the uncooked rice, you should always check for signs of staleness before cooking it. Signs of staleness include:
- Oily or Slimy Texture: Fresh rice has a dry texture, but when it spoils, it’ll feel slimy or oily, especially brown rice.
- Musty Smell: If you haven’t stored rice properly, dust may accumulate, making it smell musty and old. Brown rice starts smelling rancid due to the higher content of natural oils.
- Insect or Pest Infestation: Poor-quality rice contains small reddish-brown bugs known as rice weevils. If you see them feeding on rice, discard everything. Then, wash the container.
- Check for Mold: If there’s more moisture where you’re storing rice, there’s a high chance of mold. Always look out for green, brown, or yellowish coloration on the grains, which indicates mold growth.
Can You Freeze Raw Rice?
Apart from refrigerating raw rice, another storage option is to freeze it.
There won’t be much difference in refrigerating and freezing white rice varieties like basmati rice or jasmine rice.
However, when it comes to raw brown rice, it has a shelf life of less than six months at room temperature. Freezing can extend its shelf life to almost 12 months or more.
Here’s how you can freeze rice:
- Fill a freezer bag with rice and label it with the storage date and item name.
- Flatten the freezer bag and remove as much air as you can by pressing it.
- Store it in the freezer for as many months as you want.
- You do not need to defrost or thaw rice before boiling.
I recommend cooking and consuming white and brown rice varieties within a year of freezing or refrigeration. It’s safe to consume beyond that point, but you’ll notice a stark degradation in quality and texture!
Although rice containers take up extra space in my fridge, I’ve started refrigerating rice instead of storing it at room temperature.
Refrigeration can help you keep raw rice fresh for a long time. You won’t even have to clean up the mess of those pesky bugs infesting the rice anymore!