Rice is essential survival or emergency food for long-term storage, and it’s cheap, filling, and readily available. It works as a hearty base food for meat, beans, vegetables, and garden produce, and it can be eaten by itself in a pinch.
In this article, oxygen-free storage that uses Mylar bags, food-grade buckets, and oxygen absorbers for rice storage is synonymous with “storing rice for long-term storage.” This article doesn’t address storing rice in your kitchen.
Oxygen-free rice storage is hands down the best, most modern “Do It Yourself” dry storage available to the average prepper.
It is also an excellent method of storing the other heavy lifters of the survival food world like dry beans, wheat berries, and rolled oats.
I’ve stored at least three hundred pounds of rice this way to significant effect. Don’t be intimidated because it’s easy to do.
Before we go through step-by-step instructions on how to store rice, let’s talk about what type of rice you should and shouldn’t store.
What kind of Rice Should I store In Long-term Storage?
The best kind of white rice to store for long-term storage is dry white rice. Long-grain, Jasmine, Basmati, Arborio, and converted rice all offer a thirty-shelf-life if stored oxygen-free. Following is a chart of the best rice to store long-term.
Chart #1 Best Rice To Store In Long-Term Storage
|White Rice||Shelf Life|
|Shelf Life In The Freezer|
|Long-grain||30+ years||5 years||30+Years|
|Jasmine||30+ years||5 Years||30+ Years|
|Basmati||30+ years||5 Years||30+ Years|
|Arborio||30+ years||5 Years||30+ Years|
|Converted/ Minute Rice||30+years||5 years||30+ years|
|Rice Not Suitable For Long-Term Storage||–||–||–|
|Brown||18 months||3-6 months||12-18 months|
|Black/Purple||18 months||3-6 months||12-18 months|
Chart #2: Rice Not To Store Long-term
What Kind of Rice To Avoid Storing in Long-Term Storage
Don’t store brown rice or any other colored rice in long-term storage. These rice are like whole grains and contain too much oil in the outer shell to allow long shelf life.
The oils, also known as lipids, oxidize quickly. The maximum shelf life of brown rice and the other colored rice is eighteen months, no matter how you store it, and white rice will give you thirty-year shelf life.
|Rice Not Suitable For Oxygen-free Storage||Shelf Life|
|Shelf Life In The Freezer|
|Brown||18 months||3-6 months||12-18 months|
|Black||18 months||3-6 months||12-18 months|
|Purple||18 months||3-6 months||12-18 months|
|Red||18 months||3-6 months||12-18 months|
Equipment and Materials You Need To Store Rice In Long-term Storage
Get your equipment lined up and ready to go, and you can bang out storing a couple of hundred pounds of rice in short order. Here is what you need to keep rice long-term.
One 5-gallon bucket for every 37 pounds of rice to be stored.
I suggest using food-grade buckets, and I get the cheap buckets in the paint section at Walmart, which are clearly labeled as food-grade.
Learn more about food and non-food-grade buckets. Check out the Ready Squirrel article, “The difference between food and non-food-grade buckets.”
One lid per bucket.
You are using Mylar bags and heat sealing them, so you don’t need expensive lids. The bucket is armor for the Mylar bag and ease of stacking for storage, nothing more.
One 18″x28″ or 20″x 30″ Mylar bag per 37 pounds of rice.
I prefer the 18×28 bags because they are a little smaller and have plenty of extra Mylar sticking out of the bucket. Avoid the bags with a Ziploc type of seal. They are a pain to heat seal.
Mylar bags should be at least 5 mils thick. The thinner bags will let in light, which will oxidize the rice, and the more delicate bags aren’t as tough.
One clothes iron on the hottest setting
I use a closed iron to seal Mylar bags. You can also use the type of iron for straightening hair or purchase an impulse sealer especially made for the purpose. I looked at the cost of Impulse sealers, so I’ll stick with my trusty household iron.
Learn more about Mylar Bags. Read the Ready Squirrel article, “Myar Bags For Food Storage: Beginners Guide.”
One permanent magic marker
Use the marker to write on the bag or the bucket the type of food you are storing. I put the kind of food and the year.
This may seem like an annoying step but imagine storing a couple of thousand pounds of dry goods in buckets with no markings. You would have to open the bucket, exposing the food, to find out what’s inside.
For every 36 Pounds of white rice stored in a 5-gallon bucket, you need 2000ccs of Oxygen absorption.
I like to use the 2000 cc oxygen absorbers, but you can also use smaller 500 ccs as long as they add up to 2000cc of absorption. In this case, you would put four 500cc absorbers in the bag, and if you used 100cc absorbers, you’d need 20 in the bag.
Oxygen absorbers are simple, but not many know about them. Learn more by reading the Ready Squirrel article, “Oxygen Absorbers: Why You Need Them For Emergency Food Storage.”
One wood board
You will use the wood board over the top of the bucket as a backdrop for the Mylar bag when sealing it with the iron.
Scissors or Knife
1 set of scissors or one knife
You’ll use this to open the bag. It sounds overly simplistic, but you will have less of a chance of pouring the rice all over the floor if you get a clean cut on the bag, and I find I get a better opening if I use scissors.
Who am I kidding? You will get rice all over the floor.
White Rice: Approximately 36 Pounds of White Rice will fit in each 5-gallon bucket and bag combination
Learn more about rice in long-term storage. Read the Ready Squirrel article, “Best Rice for Long Term Storage and How to Store it.”
How To Store Rice In Long-term Storage: Step By Step Instructions
Line A 5-Gallon Food-grade Bucket With a Mylar Bag
Mylar bag sizes, mills, Oxygen absorber sizes, how much rice will fit in a 5-gallon bucket
Pour Rice Into the Mylar bag
You can store any white rice in long-term storage with Oxygen absorbers, do not store brown rice as it is too high in oil content and will go rancid after nine months regardless of how you keep it.
Gently pull the Mylr bag up and tap to compact rice
Fill rice one inch from the top or rim of the bucket so you can get the lid on
Ready to stockpile food for a cataclysm? Ready the Ready Squirrel article, Cheap Survival Food For the Cataclysm
Place a 2000cc oxygen absorber In the bag
For white rice, you need 2000cc of oxygen absorption, I prefer to use the 2000cc absorbers, but you can combine more miniature absorbers for the total absorption. For example, you could use four 500cc absorbers to reach 2000 cc absorption.
Seal the bag
I use a household iron set on the hottest setting to seal my bags., on my iron, it’s the linen setting. You can also use a hair straightening iron or purchase an impulse sealer specifically designed for the purpose.
When sealing the bag, keep the iron moving, don’t let it sit in one place too long.
Write the Date and Food-type On the Bag
It’s essential to mark your Mylar bags or buckets with the type of food and date or quickly lose track of what you have.
I’ve forgotten to write this info on a bag, and I end up cutting it open to find out what’s inside. It’s a pain because the food has to be repackaged.
Let the Bucket Sit Until Cool
When oxygen absorbers scavenge oxygen from a container, they heat up and can create a vacuum-type seal.
It takes an oxygen absorber 4 hours to finish working in the bag, and then it will start to cool down.
Gently Fold the Mylar bag into the bucket
Mylar is pretty tough, but it can be punctured or torn. I feel like it should be handled with kid gloves, especially when there are 36 pounds of rice in it.
Place a plastic lid on the bucket
The lid keeps the critters out and allows for organizing, stacking, and stowing of food buckets.
For working buckets, accessed often, consider using a Gamma lid for easy access.
Store buckets in a cool, dry location away from warm appliances.
Avoid stacking more than three high, or they will crack or tumble over.
Storing Rice That Won’t Fit In The Bucket
If you are storing food in 5-gallon buckets, you are going to have “overflow’ or extra rice that won’t fit into the 5-gallon buckets and 18″x 28” Mylar Bag.
I use one gallon-Mylar bag, with a minimum of 500 ccs of oxygen absorption for each 1-gallon Mylar bag of rice.
Check out the following section for a more detailed explanation.
What to do with Rice that won’t fit In the 5-gallon Bucket?
I store my overflow or extra rice in smaller sealed Mylar bags, set them in the pantry, or package them up in a lidded plastic bin.
To seal the smaller bags, follow the eleven-step process listed above, minus the 5-gallon bucket. If you are worried about critters chewing your smaller bags, store them in a lidded plastic bin.
I use the overflow bag(s) in the kitchen because they are a manageable portion we quickly consume within a month.
You can use the Mylar bag again, just cut it below the previous heat seal and make sure it’s clean and dry. I’ve personally reused the small reused Mylar bags to store ammo.
Overflow Container(s) And CC Oxygen Absorption Required
|Container Size||Bag Dimensions||CC Oxygen Absorber(s) For White Rice|
|1 Quart (1/4 gallon) Mylar Bag||6″x10″||100cc|
|1/2 Gallon Mylar Bag||8″x12″||200cc|
|1 Gallon Mylar Bag||10″x14″||500cc|
|1.5 Gallon Mylar Bag||12″x18″||1000cc|
|2 Gallon Mylar Bag||14″x20″||1000cc|
|5 Gallon Mylar Bag||20″x30″ or 18″x28″||2000cc|
|6 Gallon Mylar Bag||20″x30″ or 18″x28″||2000cc|
Warning: Do not store foods higher than 10% moisture content or high in fat, oxygen-free, it may lead to botulism food poisoning.
Storing Rice In Mylar: Long Term Storage Super Container, S. Foster, Ready Squirrel