I recently decided to change my bedtime routine, i.e. turn off the psychological thrillers on Netflix that kept me awake until 1:10 a.m. and move on to reading. I’ll fall asleep faster, I thought. I won’t have nightmares of Penn Badgley injecting me with a bunch of poisonous herbs, I thought. I will wake up inspired to write more and, God forbid, better.
“[If] you buy any amount of arborio or carnaroli rice, keep it refrigerated. It spoils faster than you think,” she wrote in the opening note of Risotto Primavera, her adaptation of the surprisingly fantastic Cirque recipe.
“Can you actually store dry rice in the refrigerator?” I was wondering. Should you? I thought of the half dozen OXO Pop Containers filled with arborio, basmati, short and long grain brown rice, jasmine, and sushi rice cluttering my pantry. Could I move them to the fridge and make more room for the jars of Rao’s marinara sauce and cans of Diamond Kosher Crystal Salt that I keep hoarding? Should I?
According to USA Rice, a federation I trust for my basmati and my life, uncooked rice should be “stored in a cool, dry place in a tightly sealed container that protects from dust, moisture and ‘other contaminants’. Apparently, white rice will keep “almost indefinitely” on a pantry shelf, but brown rice isn’t as flexible. “Due to the oil in the bran layer, this rice has a shelf life of about six months. Storage in the refrigerator or freezer is recommended for longer shelf life,” the group explains.
Moisture is rice’s worst enemy, so it’s a good idea to store grains in an airtight container that has a super tight seal to prevent any moisture from soaking into them. By storing rice in the refrigerator, you will, yes, extend its shelf life by several months. But if you’re like me and have a lot more room in the fridge than in the pantry, you’ll be maximizing every inch of usable storage space in your kitchen.