Q. I have decided to start eating healthier, by eliminating certain foods from my diet and by substituting other foods with healthier options. One such change is substituting brown rice for the white rice I used to eat. Unfortunately, the rest of my family still prefers white rice, and so I find I always have leftover brown rice when I make it. I usually just end up throwing it out, which upsets me because it’s such a waste. I would like to be able to keep the leftover rice for future meals, but I’m not sure what the best way to store it would be. I’ve never tried freezing rice before, so I’m not sure if it would just end up all mushy. Can you freeze brown rice?
A. Yes, you can freeze brown rice! In fact, since brown rice is a bit “chewier” than white, it actually holds up better to freezing than white rice does. It’s less likely to go soft and mushy, and should retain most of its taste and texture. There are some suggestions for getting the best results from your frozen brown rice.
How to freeze brown rice?
While you can definitely freeze rice that has been cooked in a soup or a sauce, the results often aren’t as great as freezing plain rice. That’s because rice has a tendency to continue to absorb liquid until completely frozen, often bloating up and turning to mush. The consistency of the dish is often compromised, and soups can become one big ball of mush. By freezing plain, cooked brown rice, you can keep the individual grains separate and then use them in any recipe you wish, including soups.
Begin with freshly cooked, brown rice that has been brought to room temperature. Spread the rice out on a baking sheet, breaking up any clumps. You may choose to measure out the rice for each portion you freeze, or simply eyeball the amount you with to freeze. Place the desired amount of rice in either freezer bags or hard-sided freezer safe containers. If using freezer bags, be careful not to squish the rice when removing the excess air from the bag and sealing it. If using hard containers, place the lid on the containers once full. Label and date. Stack freezer bags or containers in the freezer.
To use frozen brown rice, there is no need to thaw the rice first. Simply remove from the freezer and place in a microwave safe container to reheat. Alternately, brown rice can be reheated in a small saucepan. When using in soups or with sauces, rice can be added directly to the recipe from the freezer and simply heated through. Use previously frozen brown rice within a few days for best results. It is not advised to refreeze previously frozen brown rice.