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I have purchased a rather large bag of rice long-grain white rice (25 lbs) and need to know the best way for storing it long-term. This rice will be used as both a food-storage food source and as my everyday source of rice for cooking, so the storage solution should (hopefully) be resealable, rather than once-it's-open-it's-open. I eat rice maybe three times a month, so it isn't really "everyday" but it will be my go-to when I have it.

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Also relevant are the conditions to store the rice in, if it's going to be around a while. I'm pretty sure cool and dry is best. –  Jefromi Jun 29 '11 at 3:29
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11 Answers 11

up vote 15 down vote accepted

If you are only using it three times a month then this 25lbs bag may last a very long time indeed.

The problem is that even white rice can eventually develop off flavors when exposed to light and air. Additionally- even if pests don't have access to the rice, it is not unlikely that the rice has some eggs on it that can hatch and spoil the whole bag.

The solutions to these problems all make it difficult to use the rice in the short term. For long-term food storage dry foods are typically sealed in either #10 cans or mylar bags. An oxygen absorbing packet is also included. This will prevent spoilage and pest growth. Mylar bags are less expensive and you can open one bag at a time for short term use.

Alternatively- if you can freeze the rice to ensure there are no pests then the rice can be stored, sealed, in a cool, dry place as others have described.

Given how cheap rice is- it might be acceptable to you to just take your chances and replace it if it spoils after some months.

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There are food-grade storage buckets with lids that can be found at restaurant supply stores or online. They work well for storage of many kinds of bulk items. They come in various sizes so you should be able to find one that fits your need.

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Here in China, I have a special rice box. It's basically a plastic box with a lid. The lid is not completely air tight but is a neat fit. This allows the rice to remain dry without any pests getting inside. Plastic rice storage box

You can also get special electronic dispensers that will store the rice and measure out portions for you. The one pictured below stores 25kg of rice.

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If you can't find these at local suppliers, look on sites such as taobao.com (Chinese) or alibaba.com (English) you'll find many suppliers who will export from China to you.

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+1, I'll just upvote anybody who's named Rincewind. Note that 25Kg is about twice 25lb. –  BaffledCook Aug 13 '12 at 14:05
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I stored some rice and beans to have ready incase something was to happen I would be prepared for my family. After a lot of research I found my way to be over kill but its what keeps me at ease. I purchased 5 gallon mylar bags with the proper oxygen absorbers. I also purchased several food grade buckets in bulk for a lower price.

1) I store the rice in my mylar bag which is placed in my food grade bucket.

2) I place in my oxygen absorbers one at the bottom and one at the top of the bag.

3) I iron the bag but leave just enough space to fit a vacuum hose in to remove air.

4) after I use the vacuum I iron the bag completely shut. Use iron at the high setting and make sure you use a flat surface like a chopping board or a book. The absorbers will get any remaing air out of the bag.

5) I have a gamma seal lid that i use instead of an ordinary lid. This also makes an air tight fit.

Note; you do not have to freeze the rice as long as you follow these steps. Also, keep some smaller mylar bags and absorbers handy incase of resealing.

Hope this helps.

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Welcome to this site, Justin. How about resealing? –  BaffledCook Aug 13 '12 at 14:06
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I buy my rice in large sacks too; when I get home, I portion it into gallon-size heavy duty, double zipper, Ziploc Freezer bags. I add an oxygen absorber (a small iron oxide packet) to the top, and when closing, I leave a gap at the end of both zippers and fold it to expel the air before closing. They go into an airtight storage tote (to keep the rodents and insects out).

Ziploc also makes resealable vacuum bags, if expelling the greatest amount of air without expensive equipment is desireable to you.

I use the last bag, which is often not completely filled, for daily cooking, in the kitchen cabinet. It has the most debris so I rinse the rice from this bag a couple more times than usually. When the bag is done I just bring up the next.

I have stored rice for up to a year and a half this way without any noticeable decline in quality. (Rice is my go-to staple as well as I'm celiac, and I'm quite picky about how it tastes and feels.) This is a mid-term storage method, but it seems to be what you describe; long-term can mean storing the rice untouched for years, as if it were buried awaiting some post-apocalyptic scenario - in which case mylar, heat-sealing, and airtight metal cans like described above might be better favoured.

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Soda bottles - you've probably got them already, they stack well, they seal airtight and it reduces the chances of one bad grain spoiling your whole sack.

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The neck of a typical soda bottle is way too narrow; getting rice in and out is going to be too difficult. –  slim Mar 18 '13 at 14:43
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Ever hear of a .. funnel? –  bobobobo Jul 29 '13 at 23:07
    
Also, out = just pour it. –  Burhan Ali Dec 5 '13 at 23:50
    
I've done this. Pouring 25kg of long grain rice through a funnel that size takes FOREVER. –  Sobachatina Dec 6 '13 at 13:41
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I suggest wide-mouthed apple or juice plastic bottles, the 2-quart size. You can find them cheap just about anywhere.

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I plan to use plastic milk jugs in a 1/2 gallon form. Use a funnel to fill them and just poor them when needed.

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'plan to use' suggests that you haven't actually done it, and so you don't know if there might be any problems with doing it. –  Joe Jan 10 at 16:19
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I know this is years too late, but besides freezing, the easiest way is in large mouth quart canning jars. Vacuum seal the jars shut, and you're done. I have an attachment for my vacuum sealer that fits over small and large mouth jars. If you don't have a vacuum sealer, still, no problem. The rice will be just fine in the jars with out putting a vacuum on it.

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It seems like an old thread has been resurrected. I cook and eat rice regularly, and store it in large amounts. The typical way I have been storing it is in a large steel container with a lid.

I also add a few cloves in the scattered rice. Conventional wisdom where I come from suggests that it helps keep pests like rice weevils away from the rice.

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Rough Salt works very well. And also put in some wax candles.

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What do the candles do? And the salt? –  Jolenealaska Jun 27 at 16:30
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