Week 15: Rice

35 lbs of Rice

After this week, you should have 35 lbs stored. The program goal is 65 lbs. We will address Rice 1 more time (in week 52).

Rice is life for millions of people; deeply embedded in the cultural heritage of their societies. It is the staple food for more than half of the world population. In Asia alone, more than 2,000 million people obtain 60 to 70 percent of their calories from rice and its products. Ninety percent of rice is produced in Asia. It is the most rapidly growing source of food in Africa, and is of significant importance to food security in an increasing number of low-income food-deficit countries. While it is not easily grown in many regions, and certainly not in your backyard, it is easily purchased and stored. So having rice as a part of your food storage is always a great idea.

Unless you have a very specific reason, EVERYONE, whether on a diet or not, should make white rice one of their primary emergency food storage staples, and for many reasons: It stores for a long time, is simple to prepare, and it goes well as a side dish with (almost?) any meal. I lived in Korea and can attest to this last one. We had rice pretty much every day for two straight years, and for almost every meal (Yes, even breakfast - Ever tried rice pancakes?). While some variations are definitely better than others, there are infinitely many ways to change up rice. If a bunch of teenagers can figure out rice, so can you.

White rice is normally enriched with several vitamins and is a complex carbohydrate which is tantamount to fuel for the body. It is also extremely cheap when compared to other foods. A 25-pound bag of Jasmine rice from Costco costs about $22. At approximately 88 cents per pound, you are buying 1,500 calories per pound. That is a bargain. And white rice has a shelf life between 20 to 30 years if stored in a cool, dry area.

In a hard times survival situation, a 10-pound bag of white rice can feed one person for about 52 days if the person ate 1.5 cups of cooked rice (equal to ½ cup of uncooked rice) per day. That would be approximately 300 calories per day from rice alone. A recommended one-year food supply of white rice for one person would be approximately 65-70 pounds. Obviously, other foods would also need to be eaten, but the white rice could serve as an inexpensive part of the daily menu.

It should, however, be noted that white rice has two disadvantages in a hard times survival situation: First, white rice needs to be prepared with a descent amount of fresh clean water. Therefore, each family must address the water required to prepare rice. Second, white rice tends to become very unexciting after it has been eaten on a regular basis for an extended period of time. Again, from my experience in Korea, I can attest to this one as well, hence the “attempt” at rice pancakes, and I never did that again.

Types of Rice:

Much like wheat and corn, rice comes in a number of varieties, each with different characteristics. They are typically divided into classes by the length of their kernel grains; Short, Medium and Long.

  • Short grain rice- The short grain variety is a little softer and a bit moister when it cooks and tends to stick together more than longer grain rice. It also has a sweeter, somewhat stronger flavor than the long grain variety.

  • Medium grain rice- The medium grain variety is not very common in the United States. It has a similar flavor of the short variety, but with a texture more like the long variety.

  • Long grain rice- The long grain variety cooks up into a drier, flakier dish than the shorter types, and the flavor tends to be blander. Long grain rice is the most commonly found size of rice in American grocery stores.

Rice Processes:

Each of the above may be processed into brown, white, converted (aka parboiled), and instant rice. Below is a short discussion of the differences between the various processes.

  • Brown rice- Brown rice is whole grain rice with only the hull removed. It retains all of the nutrition and has a pleasant nutty flavor. Compared with white rice, brown rice is more nutritious because it contains its bran layer, which is a source of fiber, oils, B vitamins, and important minerals. From a nutritional standpoint, brown rice is by far the best, but it has one flaw: The essential oil in the germ is very susceptible to oxidation and soon goes rancid. As a result, brown rice has a shelf life of only about six months unless given special packaging or storage. Freezing or refrigeration will greatly extend this. It’s possible to purchase brown rice from long term food suppliers already specially packaged in air tight containers, or you can do it yourself. In this kind of packaging, and if properly done, the storage life can be extended for several years.

  • White rice- White rice is raw rice that has had its outer bran layers milled or stripped off, taking with it about 10% of its protein, 85% of its fat and 70% of its mineral content. Because so much of the nutrition is lost, white rice sold in the US is commonly “enriched” with vitamins to partially replace what was removed. So now you know what “enriched” white rice means. White rice stores very well and is generally the cheapest from of rice making it a very common long-term food storage item.

  • Converted rice- Converted rice starts as whole rice still in the hull which then undergoes a process of soaking and steaming until it is partially cooked. It is then dried, hulled and polished to remove the bran and germ. The steaming process drives some of the vitamins and minerals from the outer layers into the white inner layers. This makes it more nutritious than polished white rice, and therefore, is not usually “enriched.” But it also makes it more expensive. Its storage life is the same as regular white rice.

  • Instant rice- Instant rice is rice that is fully cooked and then dehydrated, requiring nothing more than the addition of water to reconstitute it. In a pinch, it’s not even necessary to use hot water. It’s not particularly suitable for inclusion in storage programs, but due to its simple preparation, it may have a place in your 72-hour or other short-term emergency kits. The white variety is by far the most common, but instant brown rice can be found.

While rice provides a substantial amount of dietary energy, it has an incomplete amino acid profile and contains limited amounts of essential micronutrients. So you want to store more than just rice. But for those that say rice, being a simple carb, will make you overweight, don't tell that to a Korean (or any Asian for that matter).


Brown and white rices store very differently. Brown rice is only expected to store for 6 months under average conditions. This is because of the essential fatty acids in brown rice. These oils quickly go rancid as they oxidize. It will store much longer if refrigerated. Stored in the absence of oxygen, brown rice will last longer than if it was stored in air. Plan on 1 to 2 years. It is very important to store brown rice as cool as possible, for if you can get the temperature down another ten degrees, it will double the storage life again. So if storing brown rice, plan on rotating through it. White rice has the outer shell removed and this is where those fats are found. So because these fats get removed with the outer shell, white rice isn’t nearly as good for you, but will store much longer. Hermetically sealed in the absence of oxygen, plan on a storage life for white rice of 8-10 years at a stable temperature of 70 degrees F, and 20 to 30 years if stored properly in a cool, dry area.

If you choose to make rice a part of your food storage, and I hope you do, be sure to educate yourself on some of the various ways to prepare it including the spices and other ingredients necessary to switch it up. Plain rice with soy sauce becomes boring after just a few days...

Page updated: 10/13/20