Should You Be Throwing Out Uncooked Rice?

America has an interesting relationship with rice. Like its carb-laden counterparts, pasta and potatoes, rice is a staple that many consume on a regular basis. Found in dishes ranging from California rolls to an old-fashioned rice pudding recipe, rice has found a home in the nation's pantries from coast-to-coast. According to Statista, U.S. citizens ate roughly 4.6 million metric tons of rice in the past year. 

Consumer Reports reveals that there are more than 40,000 different varieties of rice and that it's now grown on every continent with the exception of Antarctica. But uncooked rice can be useful as well. It can be used to rescue waterlogged cell phones, prevent salt in shakers from getting clumpy, and de-gunk your coffee grinder (per Bob Vila). 

Clearly, rice is a great grain to have on hand, but how long can you store it? 

Rice's longevity depends on its color

When it comes to the shelf-life of your rice, it all depends on what type it is. The Pioneer Woman contends that as long as you've never opened your white rice, it's practically immortal. Yes, white varieties like "long-grain, sushi, jasmine, and basmati" will remain edible indefinitely. And, as an added bonus, if you keep your opened rice in something that is airtight, cool, and dry, it shouldn't spoil either. Yay, white rice! 

Brown rice, however, is not so fortunate. According to StillTasty, it will usually only last for 12 to 18 months. USA Rice explains that brown rice has more oil and is, therefore, less shelf stable. If you have some that's coming up to its first anniversary, it may be time to whip up a brown rice paella or some easy fried rice. If it starts to feel a tad greasy or it smells raunchy, it's time to toss that brown rice in the trash. And if your rice, no matter the color, develops weevils, it's time to bid it farewell too. 

Yes, for the most part, rice is a food that practically lasts forever, making it a great addition to a well-stocked pantry or even a fall-out shelter. Just don't forget to pack some water. Rice is rather useless without it.