THINK: Foodservice & Culinary Education

What is Rice?

  • Defined by Webster’s Dictionary, rice (Oryza sativa) is an annual cereal grass widely cultivated for its seed, used for human food. It is one of the world’s most important food crops.
  • One seed of rice yields more than 3,000 grains. It is the highest yielding cereal grain and can grow in many kinds of environments and soils.

Tips for Perfect Rice

Carefully measure the amounts of rice and liquid. Keep lid on tightly during cooking to prevent steam from escaping. At the end of cooking, remove lid and test for doneness. If rice is not quite tender or liquid is not absorbed, cook 2 to 4 minutes longer. When rice is cooked in a stockpot or kettle, immediately turn into a shallow pan to cool when finished. Accurate cooking times are based on your method of cooking; always check cooking time carefully.

Rice Storage

Cooked Rice
Because rice is a cereal product, it must be handled properly to avoid spoilage by foodborne bacteria. Rice should be held for service in a steam table or warmer above 140°F (60°C). Hot rice should be cooled as quickly as possible by transferring it to a shallow pan. Cool the rice to 70°F (21°C) within two hours. Rice should then be wrapped, dated and refrigerated. Cooked rice may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Rice may be reheated on top of the stove, in a steamer or in the oven. When rice is reheated, be sure that it reaches a core temperature of at least 165°F (74°C).

Uncooked Rice
As with many dry goods, uncooked rice should be stored in a dry and cool environment. Rice will absorb strong aromas, so it is very important to store rice far away from foods such as onions or garlic. Keeping rice in securely sealed containers keeps out unwanted moisture and eliminates the risk of infestation.

Due to the oil content in the attached bran, aleurone and germ, brown rice is susceptible to oxidation and has a shelf life of only six months. Keeping brown rice in a refrigerator or cooler will extend the shelf life. White rice, if stored properly, has an almost indefinite shelf life.

Milled rice (white, parboiled or pre-cooked) will keep almost indefinitely on the pantry shelf. Once opened, rice should be stored in a tightly closed container that keeps out dust, moisture and other contaminants.