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Jun 7, 2009 04:51 PM

Bug in My Basmati!

I keep my basmati rice in its original bag, with a clip holding it shut, inside a ziplock bag. I used up the last of the rice today. When I was rinsing it, I noticed that one grain of rice was black and immediately floated to the surface. It turns out this was not a grain of rice at all, but a miniscule (dead) beetle! It must have been packaged with the rice, because it certainly didn't come from around here. Is this normal? I can't bring myself to prepare that rice and will have to open a new bag (and get a new Ziplock bag). Am I over-reacting?

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  1. I can see one through the plastic of my unopened bag too! I just bought it two hours ago! Is this some kind of Indian seasoning secret?

    1. I don't think you're overreacting. The same thing happened to me with a container of Basmati and I took it back to the store and got another. I couldn't stomach it.

      1. Insects in stored grain are ugly but completely harmless. Wash the rice before cooking, cook, eat, enjoy.

        1. Rice is a plant. Plants have bugs. Rinse thoroughly. Brought home a head of organic broccoli from the farmers' market yesterday. Took it out of the bag and a humungous spider scurried out. Par for the course with naturally-raised produce.

          6 Replies
          1. re: pikawicca

            I have a really bad case of arachnophobia... I am supposed to take medication for it but as it would mean taking meds for the rest of my life I won't take them. If that happened to me I think I'd be off food forever!

            1. re: pikawicca

              I live in SW FL...bugs are the natives and we are I keep my rice in the fridge, all rice, brown, basmati and long-grain white rice and it works for me.

              1. re: Val

                I live in Calgary, where we're two weeks away from summer but it still snowed almost all day yesterday. I never see bugs around here- and I live across from a playing field and beside a farm.

                1. re: Val

                  Same here - along with polenta, flour and cornmeal (thank God I have an extra fridge!). Not only bugs, but humidity.

                2. re: pikawicca

                  Somehow the spider in the broccoli thing is totally different for me. I expect my food from the farmers market to have bugs on it (if it didn't, I'd wonder what they were using). I don't expect my sealed, unopened rice to have an ugly brown bug of unrecognizable species in it.

                  1. re: MrsCheese

                    Really? I'm totally opposite- if it's alive, like pika's, that broccoli is now one big, disgusting spidey-town (I mean really, it probably laid a gazillion baby spiders in there!!! no, no, no!!)
                    A dried up bug? Pluck it out and keep going. It may skeeve me for a few minutes but I'll get over it...

                3. Three of the last four bags of basmati I’ve purchased over the past year came with extra protein. All were quality brands from a good store. Two were better than average rice and given the rice shortage, I wasn’t about to trash them.

                  I put each bag in the freezer for a week and then let the bag come back up to room temperature. I then spread the rice out on a clean surface and sorted out all of the foreigners. The rice was then rebagged in a quality zip-up bag. I have not noticed any re-infestation in last 8 months but I do go through any rice I’m using like I would dry beans looking for anything I may have missed.

                  Just remember to wash it off. As Madhur Jaffrey said in one of her articles, “You must remember that aged basmati has lain on a floor for a couple of years with the local Indians walking barefoot through it with a rake to stir it up”.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: OnkleWillie

                    Aged basmati???? Why? Aromatic rices like basmati are best consumed as close to milling after drying as possible.

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      I think you have said this before, yet basmati (in South Asia) IS aged to accentuate its characteristics. Basmati is a strange beast among rices Here is an explanation on a commercial site as to why its aged - I didnt have time to locate any research sources.


                      1. re: jen kalb

                        Not sure what is going on with that. All rice is dried to 14% prior to husking and milling. Too wet or too dry and you get a lot of broken grain. By the time the whole grain registers 14%, what ends up as milled rice is already drier.

                        In India, the best tasting and most aromatic basmati was always the "freshest" after normal drying, husking, and milling.

                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          I wonder whether you will find Indian culinary experts taking that view.. The things I have read are all consistent with the link I sent you. Basmati is a very dry rice (preferentially) and the length of the rice grain is key in the aesthetics of the food.Id beinterested in any more into you find.