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Shelf Life Of Rice & Other Dry Goods

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Last night I reluctantly used an expired box of Rice O' Roni to get the rice (not spice packet) for a soup I was making. (Earlier in the day, my boyfriend used up the fresh, non Rice O' Roni rice I had set aside.)

He has insisted on keeping several boxes of expired Rice O' Roni and a few other expired canned goods saying that they don't go bad, they just lose flavor. I adamantly disagree with this and pointed to the fact that only two days ago the expired chili he made himself for lunch was rancid. This point fell on deaf ears.

In his opinion, I am wasting the food. (side note: the rice I used last night was a month past due but another eight boxes expired in '05.) He has argued his theory on me wasting food quite vocally and in some respects he is correct. We are on different sides of the fresh vs. rancid spectrum in many respects but even still, I feel that it is important to put fresh food in my body, not expired.

Thoughts on this debate Chowhounds?

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  1. hmm i dunno about this one....i tend to buy dry items like this in bulk....rice, beans, couscous, etc........and i have no idea how long some of them have been in my cupboard with the exception of a few that i use regularly. Rice is not one of them. I'd be inclined with these items to use them, as long as there are no bugs in there or they haven't sprouted or something...
    ....that's just me.

    1. That's so funny. I had just bought a new package of brown rice but found a bag with exactly one cup of old brown rice lurking on the back of my cupboard so I used it instead. It had a funky smell right out of the bag, but I thought it would boil of, it didn't so I added a few slices of ginger while it steamed, then some extra salt. Anyway, even with a little extra stir fry sauce on top I couldn't eat it. Spouse didn't taste anything wrong.
      Althoug it didn't make him sick, next time anything smells like that I'm chucking it.
      (I don't like to waste food so note to self: don't let the current bag linger).

      1. White rice can last for a LONG time, but brown rice has a shelf life of just a few months, because it still has a bran layer. There's a fair amount of oil in the bran, and it'll go rancid and taste kind of 'dirty'.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ricepad

          Second what ricepad said: the thing that goes rancid is oil, and white rice has essentially no oil in it so it lasts essentially forever. Pasta made with eggs will get rancid after a while, but eggless noodles will not (well, maybe after a REALLY long while).

        2. I don't go by dates so much with stuff like that. I go by smell and sight (ie there are things crawling in the rice - which has happened even when it was a new bag, in fact I've seen this in the supermarket on the shelf and had to tell store clerks to remove the "moving" bags of rice from the shelf. If it tasted, smelled, looked ok and you didn't get sick, it was fine, non?

          1. Okay, so maybe I was acting a little too irrational. Thanks for all of the replies Chowhounders!