Parboiled Rice: The More Perfect Rice for Food Storage
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In our family, rice, not potatoes, is King of the Starches. This is because my husband grew up in places like Hawaii, Guam, and the Marshall Islands, eating rice every day of his life.
When I started stocking up on various foods, I knew that rice would be a big part of my starches. Potatoes, not so much.
Rice is just as versatile as potatoes and has the added advantage of coming in numerous varieties, each with its own particular flavor, scent, and texture.
Parboiled rice was new to me when I first saw it on a food storage company website. At first, I thought it was somehow pre-cooked rice, maybe similar to instant, but then I bought a #10 can and began cooking it.
Now I’m hooked.
What is parboiled rice?
Parboiled rice isn’t actually another variety, like basmati or jasmine. In fact, the same varieties of rice that become brown and white also become parboiled. Its name refers to the manner in which it is cooked. Rice is partially boiled in its husk, hence the term “par” boiled.
Also, if you hear the term ‘converted rice,’ know that it’s just another name for parboiled.
Parboiled rice vs. brown, white, and instant
Let’s compare parboiled with the most common rice varieties.
What’s the difference between rice and parboiled rice?
When rice is harvested, each grain is inside a hull. That hull is removed and brown rice is the result.
We get white rice when the rice is processed even further by removing the bran.
Parboiled rice is processed completely differently.
The parboiling process occurs when the just-harvested rice is soaked, steamed, and then dried with the hull still on each grain. This allows the grain of rice to absorb the nutrients in the hull and bran and it gives the rice a firmer texture.
Once this has been completed, then the hull is removed. The rice ends up having a pretty light yellow color, although once cooked, the color of the rice is more of a creamy white.
Parboiled rice will never be sticky rice. It has a much drier and fluffier consistency.
Is it the same as instant rice?
No. While the parboiled or converted rice is still in its outer husk it is soaked, steamed, and dried.
To make instant rice, on the other hand, the outer husk of rice is removed after which it is cooked and then dried. Thus the term also refers to a cooking method, not a variety.
The process results in a quick-cooking rice, but one that is less flavorful.
Is it healthier than brown rice?
Yes, it’s even healthier than brown rice. The processing method doesn’t strip the hull of the rice that is more nutrient dense with vitamins and minerals naturally occurring in rice.
Is parboiled rice good for long-term storage?
Parboiled rice is an excellent type of rice to store for long-term storage. It has more nutrients than brown rice, but because the bran has been removed, it won’t become rancid as brown rice will.
Parboiled rice is an excellent type of rice to store for long-term storage. Click To Tweet
Store it in air-tight containers with an oxygen absorber. For smaller amounts, canning jars that have had the air removed via a vacuum system like Food Saver work well.
All food, not just parboiled rice, should be kept in a cool, dry, and dark location with the intent of protecting it from the enemies of food storage.
What can I use parboiled rice for?
Although you may find you prefer it for certain dishes over others, it can replace any other rice variety.
I’ve found that parboiled rice is excellent in recipes because it stays firm throughout the cooking process. A couple of years ago I was making a chicken and rice soup and noticed that the rice never got mushy, no matter how long I cooked the soup or warmed up leftovers.
Rice is a great budget-stretcher. There are lots of ideas in this article to help you do that. It was also the main ingredient in the creation of a mini food cache. Read more here about what those are and how to make them.
Also, leftover parboiled rice is nice to have on hand because, again, it doesn’t become mushy and can be added to other recipes or reheated as a side dish.
Using it in a recipe
I created several different recipes using parboiled rice, and this one is extremely simple, filling, and comforting on chilly days. You could also try it in my Macho Mexican Rice dish.
Herbed Chicken & Rice Soup
- 5 c. water
- 2 T. chicken soup base or 3 T. chicken bouillon
- 1/2 c. parboiled rice
- 1 T. Italian seasoning
- 1/4 t. garlic powder, or 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 t. dehydrated chopped onion, or 1/4 c. fresh onion, chopped
- 1/4 c. chicken TVP or 1 1/2 c. chopped, cooked chicken
In a medium-size saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cook over medium heat for 20-25 minutes or until rice is fully cooked.
Where to buy it
Costco has several options for buying it in bulk. You could also try smaller, 32-ounce quantities.
If you’ve been hesitant about stocking up on white rice because of its limited nutritional value and on brown rice because of its limited shelf life, perhaps parboiled rice is what you’ve been looking for.
How do you use parboiled rice in recipes?
I’m the original Survival Mom and for more than 11 years, I’ve been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more with my commonsense prepping advice.