Home » Storing rice long term: 11 easy steps to maximize shelf life

Storing rice long term: 11 easy steps to maximize shelf life

Storing rice long-term is essential to build a stockpile of emergency food for long-term storage. Rice is cheap, filling, and readily available, and it will keep for up to 30 years if adequately packaged, use it as a hearty base food for meat, beans, vegetables, and garden produce, and by itself.

Equipment List

Before storing rice long term get your equipment lined up and ready to go. You can store a couple of hundred pounds of Rice in short order. Following is the equipment you need to keep rice long-term.

#1 5-gallon Bucket

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 Walmart paint section labeled as food-grade. Using food-grade buckets allows you to use them for food-related tasks down the road.

Learn more about food and non-food-grade buckets. Check out the Ready Squirrel article, “The difference between food and non-food-grade buckets.”

#2 Plastic Lid

One lid per bucket.

Using Mylar bags and heat sealing them, you don’t need expensive lids. The bucket is armor for the Mylar bag and ease of stacking for storage, nothing more.

#3 Mylar Bag

One 18″x28″ or 20″x 30″ Mylar bag per 37 pounds of Rice.

I prefer the 18×28 bags because they are 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 five mils thick. The thinner bags will let in light, oxidizing the Rice, and the more delicate bags aren’t as tough.

#4 Clothes Iron

One clothes iron on the hottest setting

I use a closed iron to seal Mylar bags. I looked at the cost of Impulse sealers, so I’ll stick with my trusty household iron. You can also use the type of iron for straightening hair or purchase an impulse sealer especially made for the purpose.

Learn more about Mylar Bags. Read the Ready Squirrel article “Mylar Bags For Food Storage: Beginners Guide.”

#5 Permanent Marker

One permanent magic marker

Use the marker to write the type of food you store on the bag or the bucket. I put the kind of food and the year.

Marking the bag is an extra step, but it’s worth doing. 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.

#6 Oxygen Absorber(s)

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. Read the Ready Squirrel article “Oxygen Absorbers: Why You Need Them For Emergency Food Storage.”

#7 Wood Board

One wood board

When sealing it with the iron, you will use the wood board over the top of the bucket as a backdrop for the Mylar bag.

#8 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. Next, plan how many buckets, Mylar bags, and oxygen absorbers you need for the amount of rice stored.

How much rice will fit in a 5-gallon bucket?

Approximately 36 Pounds of White Rice will fit in each 5-gallon bucket lined with a Mylar bag.

Learn more about Rice in long-term storage. Read the Ready Squirrel article “Best Rice for Long-Term Storage and How to Store it.”

Ok, let’s store some rice in buckets.

How to store rice long term: Step-By-Step Instructions (11 steps)

The best method for storing rice long term is Oxygen-free rice storage with five-gallon buckets lined with a 5-gallon Mylar bag and treated with oxygen absorbers. Mylar and buckets are a “Do It Yourself” method for storing Rice for the long term that is available to the average prepper. Let’s learn how to store Rice in 11 easy steps.

bucket lined with a Mylar bag
5-gallon bucket lined with a Mylar bag.

Step #1

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

pouring dry beans into Mylar bags
This bucket holds beans, but it’s the same concept. Dry Rice, wheat, beans, and rolled oats are stored the same way in 5-gallon buckets.

Step #2

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.

tapping rice into a Mylar bag

Step #3

Gently pull the Mylar 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

oxygen absorbers in a Mylar bag

Step #4

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.

sealing a Mylar bag with a household iron

Step #5

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.

Keep the iron moving when sealing the bag, and don’t let it sit in one place too long.

Sealed Mylar bag

Step #6

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 cut it open to find out what’s inside. It’s a pain because the food has to be repackaged.

Sealed Mylar bags of pinto beans

Step #7

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.

5-gallon bucket and sealed Mylar bag

Step #8

Gently Fold the Mylar bag into the bucket

Mylar is pretty tough, but it can be punctured or torn. I feel it should be handled with kid gloves, especially when 36 pounds of Rice are in it.

household iron, marker and an oxygen absorber

Step #9

Place a plastic lid on the bucket.

The lid keeps the critters out and allows for the organizing, stacking, and stowing of food buckets.

Consider using a Gamma lid for easy access on working buckets accessed often.

5-gallon buckets of dry staple food

Step #10

Store bucket(s)

Store buckets in a cool, dry location away from warm appliances.

Avoid stacking more than three highs, or they will crack or tumble over.

Rice in Mylar bags

Step #11

Storing Rice That Won’t Fit In The Bucket

If you are storing food in 5-gallon buckets, you will have “overflow’ or extra Rice that won’t fit into the 5-gallon buckets.

To remedy this, use one gallon-Mylar bag (s) with a minimum of 500 ccs of oxygen absorption. Overflow bags work well in the pantry because they are smaller and more manageable and expose less Rice to oxygen when opened.

Up next, cc of oxygen absorption for different sizes of container.

Chart #1 How much oxygen absorption do I need?

Container SizeBag DimensionsCC Oxygen Absorber(s) For White Rice
1 Quart (1/4 gallon) Mylar Bag6″x10″100cc
1/2 Gallon Mylar Bag8″x12″200cc
1 Gallon Mylar Bag10″x14″500cc
1.5 Gallon Mylar Bag12″x18″1000cc
2 Gallon Mylar Bag14″x20″1000cc
5 Gallon Mylar Bag20″x30″ or 18″x28″2000cc
6 Gallon Mylar Bag20″x30″ or 18″x28″2000cc
Information Compliments of USA Emergency Supply. You can mix and match different sizes of Oxygen absorbers to get the minimum cc required to remove oxygen. You cannot use too many Oxygen-absorbers, only too little.

Best Rice: storing white rice long term

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 #2 Rice to store long-term

White RiceShelf Life
Oxygen-Free Storage
Shelf Life
Store Packaging
Shelf Life In The Freezer
Long-grain 30+ years5 years30+Years
Jasmine 30+ years5 Years30+ Years
Basmati 30+ years5 Years30+ Years
Arborio 30+ years5 Years30+ Years
Converted/ Minute Rice30+years5 years30+ years
Rice Not Suitable For Long-Term Storage
Brown 18 months3-6 months12-18 months
Black/Purple 18 months3-6 months12-18 months

Warning: Do not store foods higher than 10% moisture content or high in fat, oxygen-free. It may lead to botulism and food poisoning.

Thanks for stopping by Ready Squirrel.

If you have any thoughts or questions, please leave them in the comments.

Keep on prepping!

Best Regards, Scott


Storing Rice In Mylar: Long Term Storage Super Container, S. Foster, Ready Squirrel

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