Rice And Beans: A Good Choice For Long-Term Food Storage
February 21, 2011 by Peggy Layton
Did you know that if you combine rice and beans in a meal, it could replace the need for meat or other protein?
Rice and beans each contain certain amino acids that, when combined, form a complete protein. This is good news because if you are in a crisis situation and can’t get to the grocery store to get meat, you can use beans and rice.
Beans and rice in the dry form are easy to store and will keep for a long time. That is why we call them staples. They should be in everyone’s pantry.
Rice and beans are nutritious and filling. I suggest that you stock up on these items because they could very well save your life.
If you have rice and beans along with the basic ingredients for making flat bread or tortillas — it only requires flour, salt and water — you can make burritos by placing the rice and beans in the center of the flatbread along with a dab of bottled salsa. You could eat this every day if you had to. Some Spanish cultures live on rice and beans as a staple.
Rice is a staple of about 70 percent of the world’s population. Rice is one of the most compatible and versatile foods in the world. When dried, rice can be stored for many years. This makes it ideal for long-term food storage.
Rice blends its flavor beautifully to any meal. It is used in Asian, Mexican, Indian and American cooking. You can use it with meat and vegetables as well as with sauces, and in soups.
Rice can be combined with just about any other food. It is filling, nutritious and inexpensive. I suggest you store rice in either 1-gallon containers or 5-gallon buckets with tight-fitting lids. Rice will store for 15+ years if stored properly. To purchase rice and beans in No. 10 gallon-sized cans, click here.
I have estimated the amount of rice to store based on one cup of rice per day, per person. Because rice in the dry form will double when cooked in water, you will need one and a half gallons of dry rice per person for a three-month supply, three gallons per person for a six-month supply and six gallons per person for one year. If you have six people in your family you will need 36 gallons or six six-gallon buckets per year.
White rice is better to store than brown rice. It stores longer and will not go rancid as will brown rice. However, brown rice is highly nutritious and is a complex carbohydrate instead of refined like white rice. If you want to store brown rice for a long period of time, see the instructions below under brown rice.
Rice is first milled, then cleaned and husked. Its cooking possibilities are endless. You can steam it, bake it, braise it and fry it.
There is no need to rinse or wash the rice before cooking. It contains valuable vitamins and minerals that can be washed away. Rice is one of the most easily digested foods and is non-allergenic.
There are several varieties of rice available on the market. They are:
White rice: This rice has the entire outer coating of bran removed. Some brands are enriched by adding extra vitamins and minerals lost in the milling process.
Long grain white rice: This rice cooks up plump and juicy. It is used as a side dish like pilaf or used in soup.
Medium or short grain white rice: This rice tends to be moister. It is used in rice puddings.
Precooked or instant rice: This rice is also called instant or Minute® rice. It is precooked and dried out again. Because it is precooked, this rice cooks up quickly and is great when you are in a hurry.
Parboiled rice: This rice has been cooked under pressure, which drives the nutrients from the bran of the rice to the grain of the rice. This rice cooks more uniformly and doesn’t stick together, is easier to reheat and retains its qualities much longer.
Brown rice: This rice is in its whole-unpolished state. It retains all its natural oils, proteins and vitamins. It has a chewy consistency with a slightly nutty flavor and requires more water for cooking and about twice the cooking time of polished white rice. This rice is the most nutritious rice because it is the whole grain and not processed. This rice does not store well because it contains some oil in the hull. It has a tendency to go rancid faster and is not a good choice for long-term storage. However, because of its nutritional value, it is the best choice for short-term storage. It is best to keep brown rice in the freezer until it is opened. Keep it in the refrigerator after it is opened and use it up within six months.
Wild rice: This is not a rice, but a seed of a long shallow water grass. It is expensive because of the process of growing and cultivating it. It is worth the expense for special occasions. It has a nutty texture and a great flavor and lends itself well to fish and game meals.
Rice flour: People that are allergic to whole wheat or white flour can use rice flour as a substitute.
Rice cereal: This is good for babies or children. It is easily digestible and can be stored for several years.
Beans were one of the first crops cultivated by man, along with peas, lentils and peanuts.
Beans are classified as legumes. Dry beans and legumes are regarded as an important staple in countries where fresh vegetables are not available during the winter months. Beans can easily be stored in a one-gallon container or a five-gallon bucket with a tight-fitting lid. They need to be kept dry and cool.
I suggest that you store a variety of beans. Start by purchasing a package of each of the different varieties. You should store more of the kidney, pinto and red beans.
There are many different beans on the market. They include; Soybeans, garbanzo, pinto, great northern, kidney, lima, black-eyed peas, black turtle, red beans, small white beans, navy, pink, lentils, split peas and whole dry peas.
These beans and legumes can be stored in the bags they come in. Place several bags into one plastic five-gallon bucket with a tight fitting lid. Beans are inexpensive and can be purchased for around $2 per bag. You can purchase a variety of beans in No. 10 (gallon sized) cans here.
Beans can be sprouted and turned into a vegetable which you can use in salads. They are very nutritious when sprouted.
Sprouted beans are high in B complex vitamins, folic acid, niacin, iron, calcium and magnesium and provide protein and quick energy.
To sprout beans and legumes, first sort the beans to remove any dirt clods or rocks. Rinse the beans several times. Place them in a quart jar with one cup of beans to three cups of water. Let them stand overnight. In the morning, drain the beans and rinse them again.
Put a sprouting lid or a lid with holes punched in it so you can easily drain the beans. Beans should be rinsed and drained each day so that they do not go sour. After about three days of doing this the tails on the bean sprouts will be one-half inch long. Sprouts can be rinsed one final time and placed in a zip-lock baggie and stored in the refrigerator. Use them within a few days.
As beans get old they are harder to cook. They don’t seem to soften as well as the newer beans. Older beans can be ground into flour using a hand or electric wheat grinder, grain mill or blender. This flour can be used to thicken gravies, soups and sauces. You can also make bean flour into refried beans by adding boiling water and a little salt. Cook the beans until they thicken up. Store bean flour in the refrigerator.
Uses Of Rice And Beans
There are many different uses of beans. I have written a cookbook called Cookin’ with Beans and Rice that features 154 pages of recipes for using beans and rice in meals. The book includes recipes for dishes like chili bean fudge, pinto bean spice cake, pinto bean punch, split pea soup, chili black beans and rice, refried beans, bean dip, Boston baked beans, beans and rice, enchiladas and much more. The cookbook also includes many recipes for using rice. Some are chicken and rice casserole, oriental vegetables and rice, shrimp fried rice, Spanish rice, rice pilaf, wild rice, Indian curried rice, rice breakfast cereal, rice pancakes, rice salads, baked rice pudding and much more. There are also recipes that include both rice and beans.
To purchase beans and rice packaged in No.10-sized gallon cans, which are ideal for long-term food storage, ION stabilized oxygen for water treatment or to purchase a copy of this book and others I’ve written, go here.
To purchase healthy, gourmet, ready-made meals prepackaged with a 15-year shelf life and requiring only the addition of boiling water, go here. Watch the 10-minute video and click on the (try it before you buy it) button. You can try three free meals that serve two to four people each for just $9.95 shipping.