White Rice – A Great Storage Grain
White rice, or polished rice, has had the husk, bran and germ removed. This milling process changes the flavor, texture and appearance while significantly extending its storage life. It also strips the rice of critical nutrients which are abundant in the original form. Some raw rice is parboiled before milling. This process of soaking in water and steaming under intense pressure pushes the natural vitamins and minerals from the rice bran layer into the kernel. In the United States, white rice must be enriched, a process where vitamins B1, B3, and iron are added. Do not rinse enriched rice before cooking! Rinsing will wash away the critical nutrients.
While white rice is not a nutritional power house, it has a 30 year shelf life if stored appropriately. It is a great source of calories. Brown rice is significantly more nutritious, but has a short shelf life due to the natural oils in the outer bran. It is great for short term storage, but it will go rancid if stored too long. Rinsing rancid brown rice well before cooking will decrease the rancid taste and smell if you are desperate. Best to store white rice for long term.
White rice is typically found in one of three types:
- Long Grain – results in firm, fluffy rice.
- Medium Grain – has a soft, moist and sticky texture.
- Short Grain – is very stick and sometimes called sushi rice.
Each of these types of white rice are good candidates for longer term food storage. Let your personal preference dictate the variety of rice you store. One cup of cooked white long-grain rice contains 4.2 grams of protein and 206 calories, but is missing many other essential nutrients. Store beans and dehydrated vegetables or fruits to complement the meal and ensure nutritional needs are met.
White rice will store up to 30 years in a cool, dry location if properly packaged. Rice is simple to prepare by simmering in water and therefore requires minimal fuel for cooking. It can be ground into flour and used in baked products. It does not contain gluten, which makes it unsuitable for use in yeast breads. Rice flour can be used as a thickening agent. It might be a great longer storage option for individuals that have Celiac disease or are gluten intolerant.
Making rice is as simple as stirring 1 cup of dry white rice into 2 cups of boiling water. Return to boil, stir, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes or until done. We prefer to add little salt and butter to improve texture and flavor. Spices can dramatically change the flavor and prevent the diet fatigue which might result from eating the same white rice day after day.
Cooking rice in a solar oven requires less water to make great rice. Try a ratio of 1 cup white rice to 1 1/3 - 1 ½ cups of water. The photo shows the delicious Lime Rice we created using stored foods and the energy of the sun.
2 cups of white rice
3 cups of hot water
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
½ teaspoon lime pepper
½ teaspoon granulated garlic or 1 clove minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon dehydrated onions
1 can of diced green chilies
½ of a bunch of fresh chopped cilantro (optional)
Preheat the solar oven while you gather the ingredients. Place all ingredients in the black pot. Solar cooking time can vary depending on the sun. It will usually take around an hour or so. Frequent checking allows valuable heat to escape and increases cooking time. I don't check my rice until it has been in the oven for an hour and I see condensation on inside the oven glass. It is almost impossible to burn anything in a solar oven.
1 cup long grain rice
1 cup broken vermicelli pasta or thin spaghetti
2 tablespoons butter or oil
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
2 ½ cups hot water
Brown vermicelli and rice in butter or oil in a saucepan. Add all other ingredients and cook for 20 minutes. Rice will be light and fluffy. Notice that I used an insulated thermal cooker to make this batch of Rice-A-Roni. I browned the rice and pasta in butter in the cooking vessel, added the water and other ingredients, and brought it all to a strong boil. Then I placed the pot in the insulated cooker and covered it with a small blanket to increase efficiency. After a couple of hours, I opened the pot and served steaming hot, delicious rice.