Saturday, May 30, 2015

How we do rice...

Rice is a food staple in every frugal kitchen but there is an economical way to buy and a super economical way to buy.

First, there is name brand versus generic. I personally don't see a difference in taste or texture - I believe it's all in how you prepare the rice. Here's an example of difference in pricing (using our local Wal-mart):

Mahatma 32 oz $2.16 vs. Great Value Brand 32 oz $1.48
$1.08 per pound vs. $.74 per pound OR $.07 per ounce vs. $.05 per ounce
Let's say you go through 4 pounds per week. That's a savings of $70.72 a year! Just buying generic over brand name rice.

Second, there is Instant versus Long Grain Enriched (generically speaking of course):

Instant 28 oz $2.44 vs. Long Grain 32 oz $1.48
$.09 per ounce vs. $.05 per ounce.
If you use 4 pounds of rice per week then that's a savings of $133.12 per year! It's sort of obvious that instant rice is NOT the way to go.

Then lastly there is buying rice in bulk:
Great Value 32 oz $1.48 vs. Great Value 20 lb $8.98
That's $.74 per pound vs. $.45 per pound OR $.05 per ounce vs. $.03 per ounce.
Again, if you use 4 pounds per week that's a savings of $66.56 per year just by buying in bulk!
And just because I love divulging numbers so much... the savings of buying bulk generic versus buying name brand rice is a whopping savings of $133.12 per year!

What's more... just because you can always kick it up a notch... we buy our rice in bulk at Sam's Club. While the savings aren't as dramatic - it's savings nonetheless.

We buy the 25 pound bags of Riceland at Sam's Club for $8.89 and if you compare that to the 20 pound bags of Great Value Brand at your everyday Wal-Mart store that's a savings of $33.28 per year which is awesome! If you don't have a membership to Sam's Club (which I do not, but my step-mother does!) then buying the 20 pound bags at Wal-Mart is still an awesome deal!

Bottom line - Generic rice is just as good as brand name and is significantly cheaper but to really get those savings buy your generic rice in bulk!

So you've bought rice in bulk... how do you store it? There are multiple ways and if you do it correctly then rice can last a super long time. I currently store mine in leftover pickle jars with a couple oxygen absorbers in each one to keep the air exposure at a minimum. You can buy oxygen absorbers on for super cheap if you're into long term food storage. Don't have a clue what those are? They are those tiny packets that you sometimes find in food bags that say "DO NOT EAT" - they are strictly for removing oxygen from the inside of a bag to maintain freshness.
If I buy more rice then I will likely put them in storage bags and keep them in a sealed food grade bucket in my basement to limit exposure to air and light. Whatever storage method you choose the one thing you should not do is store all 25 lbs together in the original bag. Once opened you have to worry about the rice going stale or little buggies finding their way in and making a home in your stored food!

So, now you have your rice but what's the best way to cook it?
This is how I do (without a rice cooker): For every one cup of rice I use 2 cups of water and 1 tsp of salt with 1 Tbsp butter. Cooking it is incredibly simple. Bring the water, salt and butter to a boil. Once at a rolling boil, stir in rice and cover. Turn the burner down very low and let simmer WITHOUT removing the lid or stirring for 15 minutes. Then remove from heat and let it sit another 5 minutes. Then at last you can fluff with a fork and serve! Add some variation by using broth instead of water (or add a couple bouillon cubes to the water) but drop the salt! Throw in some minced garlic or onion. White rice is so versatile and can be paired with almost any dish! It's a great meal stretcher.

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