Rice as Survival Food

riceI was raised eating rice.
Problem is I’ve never stopped!

It has also become our families staple food stuff with us eating round 40-50 kilo of rice through the year leaving the humble British potato and pasta more as a treat than anything else.

The advantages for us are:-
It’s also dead easy to STORE AND COOK,
It generates NO WASTE,
Is VERY VERSATILE, and finally
A one kilo pack produces at least SIX GOODLY SIZED meals for us.

About Rice.
White rice is a carbohydrate (like potatoes, and pasta) and as such is easily digested. It’s also a source of vitamin B1, low in cholesterol and gluten-free, as well as low in fat.

Go brown and you get all the joys of high fiber too i.e. the stuff the body DOESN’T digest. Or to put it another way “pass the toilet paper”.

For the most part, keep rice dry and you won’t get a problem with storage BUT brown rice is susceptible to decay from the small amounts of oil in the bran layer.
Brown rice typically only stores for 6 months while white rice kept in the dry in sealed bags can last indefinitely.

Health issues with Rice.
There was a bit of B.S, about white rice increasing the chance of developing type 2 diabetes and brown DECREASING the chances.
A Harvard US study told of people eating white rice 5 times a week had a 17% increased chance of getting it. (Sample group 200,000).

The survey stupidly did not say WHAT ELSE THEY HAD WITH THE RICE and seeing the size of the meals in some US restaurants and homes compared to our little plates, we’re not exactly worried.

Why does white rice increase the chances anyway?
It’s purely because it’s so easily digested where brown rice takes a lot more time to break down in the body (The fiber husk bit ) so the starch in the rice doesn’t get absorbed so easily.

What’s the Solution?
Eat less, exercise more, that way you burn off the sugars.
To us the benefits FAR OUTWEIGH the “chances of” worries.

Besides in 2009 it was estimated that worldwide more than 3.5 billion people depend on rice for more than 20% of their daily calories. Now that’s a statistic I believe and I’m betting Type 2 diabetes isn’t the main problem for these people either.

There are a few preppers and survivalists who criticize it though.
Mainly the lot who can’t cook it properly and are scared stiff to use it in any other way than as a side order with their curries.
Poor luv’s.

A tale of an idiot.
I suppose it’s all in the wording but to say you  “boil rice to cook it” seems to confuse people. After all you boil water to make it safe don’t you?
I watched amazed once when a guy cooked rice with water straight from a stream. His voiced thoughts were “I’m boiling the rice so that will kill off any bugs”.
Yes it may get hot, occasionally the water boils, but on a camp fire, you CANT guarantee that. Needless to say I made my own meal that night and every other night he cooked.

How to cook it?
Yep, there are people who can’t!
Still here we go, and yes there are other ways of cooking it.
1 1/2 cups of rice for the two of us (and the dog gets some too).
3 cups of nice CLEAN DRINKING (AKA POTABLE) water.
Bring to the boil until it starts to “pit”. (made by the steam).

Turn down to low heat (or put on the side of the camp fire) and cover with a lid.
You need to leave a gap to release steam pressure.
Stir it every 5 minutes OVER 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed and the rice turns “fluffy”. I always leave it to stand for a while off heat after that.

You now have a choice.
Serve it as is or some rinse the starch out of it with boiling water.
The rationale is they are washing the starch out which is bad for you. Some sort of dieting B.S. apparently. Why people do this escapes me but that’s people for you.

Rice type meals for us?
Anything and everything really.
Sausage, beans, field vegetables, peppers,  mushrooms, pork, beef or lamb, rabbit, pigeon, venison, chicken, duck, SPAM, corned beef, and fish.

Any of the above curried, stewed, with a sweet and sour sauce, straight up, as a casserole, fried, grilled, boiled, or as a risotto. Not forgetting soups with meaty broth or root vegetables.
Add milk and honey or / and blackberries, apples, to rice to make a pudding.

Get the drift? Anything goes with rice in our household.
More fun than a curry with boiled rice from the takeaway isn’t it?

Keeping cooked rice (the commonsense bit).
Rich is a starchy food. So it contains sugars. Bacteria like sugars.
It also can contain fungal and bacterial spores.
Some bacteria or spores aren’t killed off at cooking temperatures.
(Don’t forget the idiot “boiling the rice” as well?)

If cooked rice is left standing, the spores can germinate. The bacteria multiply and that can cause diarrhea and vomiting (D&V).

Re-heating the rice won’t render it safe. It’s not the bacteria that causes the problems, it’s the toxins (aka poisons) they produce.

It doesn’t take long either, just a few hours from NICE to D&V material.
This is one of the common causes of food poisoning from takeaways.

Solution for you?
Cook fresh, just enough for your meal, don’t try to store it cooked without refrigeration.

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3 Responses to Rice as Survival Food

  1. Noddy says:

    I love rice so much I invested in a small rice cooker (then discovered how versatile that tool is). Out camping where there is no ability to cool cooked rice quickly and store it between 35*F and 40*F, by all means, cook only what will be eaten within 2 hours.

    You are wise to be cautious about cooked rice.

    At home, with refrigeration available, cooked rice can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (3 is best, though), and frozen for up to 6 months. It needs to be cooled and refrigerated quickly – within an hour or two. To do that, spread the rice in shallow containers to cool faster, it needs to be cooled to 70*F within an hour and then covered and cooled to 40*F within another 2 hours (3 hours total cooling time). It can then stay in the refrigerator fr up to 5 days, or moved to the freezer and kept frozen for up to 6 months.

    The bacteria that forms on rice is called Bacillus cereus and it is heat stable and acid resistant, which means that heating it will not kill the bacteria and adding acidic ingredients will not kill it, so vinegar and citrus dressings don’t extend the cooked life of rice the way it would for meat or vegetables. It forms on rice that is left out at room temperature for longer than 3 or 4 hours. Rice should never be left at room temperature overnight to cool, and certainly not left in a rice cooker to eat the next day.


  2. equippedcat says:

    White rice is processed rice, that is, brown or ‘whole grain’ rice which has had the husk, bran and germ removed. This means that it stores very well, because bugs won’t eat it and the parts which are subject to spoiling (and are good for you) are gone. And it is cheaper because it can be bought in bulk and stored forever, plus the ‘good stuff’ which was removed can be sold separately.

    Keep in mind that the neurological disease ‘beriberi’ was discovered when changing a native population to a diet of white rice; the disease is caused by a deficiency of Vitamin B1, which is removed from white rice.. Under normal circumstances, white rice is not a good food choice, as it is a ‘bad carbohydrate’ like enriched flour and processed sugars. As long as you get enough B vitamins elsewhere, it won’t make you sick, it just messes with your blood chemistry.

    So are bags of white rice of value for food storage? They are not optimal as ‘food’, but they are superb for storage (cheap, easy to find, long storage life, easy to fix, palatable). If you can get enriched white rice (with B vitamins and iron), it is a good choice for food storage; if you can’t get the enriched variety, then make sure you have an equivalent sized supply of vitamin/mineral supplements .


    • Thank you for your comments.
      Know what screws people up more than anything? Processed foods.
      That’s why in the pack is a small tube of “one a day” multivitamins.
      Not for when I’m foraging or eating at home, just in case I have to eat MRE’s.
      As for white rice?
      For me it’s so simple, brown rice tastes nice BUT it’s more expensive to buy.
      In the UK it is typically 1.5 to 2 times more expensive weight for weight

      I’m not too worried about the reference to vitamin B1 either.
      I’ve eaten white rice for years with no ill effects because I eat a broad spectrum of food stuff especially eggs, cabbage, fish, kale, liver, and Sprouts (my favorite).
      Add to that onions and wild garlic (both containing allinin) with most meat dishes (which helps to absorb the Thiamine), I’m not worried.
      The one thing I found traveling round Malaysia and Hongkong was their love of fresh vegetables. Something I have happily carried on with in the UK.


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