Wednesday, April 20, 2011

52 Week Food Storage - Week #15

Week # 15: 75 lbs of Rice

This week we are talking about rice.  Rice is a grain that can easily be purchased and store.

Why do I store it?
It can store for longer than 10 years (if stored properly), can be cooked in numerous ways, is relatively inexpensive to purchase, and is easy to digest.  Rice is life for millions of people.  It is deeply embedded in the cultural heritage of their societies.  It is the staple food for more than half of the world population. 

Brown or White?
Brown rice is unpolished whole grain rice that is produced by removing only the outer husk. It becomes white rice when the bran layer is stripped off in the milling process. Compared with white rice, brown rice is more nutritious because it contains bran, which is a source of fibre, oils, B vitamins, and important minerals. Brown rice does tend to spoil faster because it has more of its natural oils. Of course, if you vacum pack it, it will last for a really long time. Brown rice is better for people suffering from diabetes as it takes the body longer to absorb it and doesn’t cause GI crashes.

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.

Rice is often the main source of employment, income and nutrition in many poor, food insecure regions of the world. In South Asia, where 530 million people live on less than US $1 a day, calories supplied by rice account for about 60-70 % of total food intake. Rice cultivation is the principal activity and source of income for about 100 million households in Asia and Africa.

In recent years, effective application of research advances has been slow, especially in areas of physical stresses, such as drought, flooding, salinity and acidity. During the same period, the rice-consuming population has continued to grow, while land and water resources for rice production are diminishing.

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. White rice has the outer shell removed along with those fats. Because of this, white rice isn’t nearly as good for you, but will store 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. It should keep proportionately longer if stored at cooler temperatures. 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.

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