Food Storage Essentials: 3 steps on how to cook perfect long grain rice and store it, too

Published: Friday, Sept. 7 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Long grain rice is a delicious, long-term food storage option.

Leslie Probert

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Many people wonder about storing long grain rice: Why not store healthier brown rice, or faster Minute Rice? Long grain rice is recommended for long-term food storage because it stores better than the rest.

Unfortunately, brown rice contains oil in its outside coating or germ, causing it to go rancid over a short period of time. The shelf life is around six months and can be extended with refrigeration. For those wanting the high fiber contained in brown rice, barley — which contains almost twice as much fiber as brown rice — can be stored.

Long grain rice stores for up to 30 years, if packaged for long-term storage and stored in a cool, dry place. This gives plenty of time to rotate the supply that is stored.

We’re all in a hurry when it comes to meal preparation and the 20-minute cooking time for long grain rice is a concern for people used to using Minute Rice. However, by starting long grain rice at the beginning of meal preparation, it is easy to use at least 20 minutes preparing the rest of the meal and setting the table. If more meal preparation time is needed, long grain rice holds very well in a covered pan until the meal is ready to serve.

Cooking long grain rice appears to be a problem for some. I regularly meet outstanding cooks who are completely stumped when cooking this rice. Here are three simple steps for successful cooking, every time.

3 steps for cooking rice:

Step 1 – It’s easy as 1, 2, 3 to estimate how much rice to cook. Add 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of boiling water (and ½ teaspoon salt). This gives you 3 cups of cooked long grain rice.

Step 2 – Simmer long grain rice on medium heat, covered, for 20 minutes. If the rice begins to boil over, your stove cooks a little hot. Simply lower the temperature enough to keep the rice at a good boil without boiling over. Some ceramic top stoves cook hot enough that a lower setting is required to avoid the mess.

Step 3 – After 20 minutes, the water should be completely gone. Fluff rice with a fork and allow it to stand until you are ready to serve it. Though it is not absolutely necessary, 5 minutes extra standing time tenderizes the rice even more.

If the water has not been completely absorbed, turn the cooking temperature up. If the rice is stuck a little to the pan, adjust the temperature down. Once you find that perfect place on the temperature dial of your stove, you will know where to set it every time for perfectly cooked long grain rice.

The latest “no carb food” fad causes some to be concerned about storing and eating white rice altogether. Carbohydrates provide the energy our bodies need to function well, and whole grains are the best carbohydrates. However, unless there is a specific health concern restricting white rice from your diet, a regular modest serving of long grain rice served with a low-fat sauce containing meat and vegetables, or in a nutritious soup, is a healthy and tasty addition to meals. Rice has been enjoyed for centuries in delicious meals in cultures all over the world. It adds important variety to dishes that can be made with food storage.

Leslie Probert, graduate in home economics from Brigham Young University, has been a popular speaker and is co-author of "Emergency Food Storage in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition" with more than 400 fast, creative recipes. E-mail:foodstoragechick@gmail.com

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