#WFPB M&T – Brown Rice

[Bronx, 5/4/2020 – From the Methods & Techniques Department]

The argument for Brown Rice over white is now well known, but people can be slow to adapt. Not everybody really understands how immediate is the impact on your gut, especially if rice is a staple. Eating whole foods is so tremendously beneficial. And as one of my southeast Asian friends told me, some may believe it more quickly from an Indian grandma than from a guy in a white lab coat. So, for those of you to whom that applies, meet your grandmother.

But this is different

Once we learn to choose brown rice over white, we need to learn some things about handling rice, because most of us were taught wrong.

  • Brown rice can be kept for up to 3-6 months in the pantry, or longer if you refrigerate (6-12 months) or freeze it (12-24 months), but it is not a dead material like white rice, which you can keep almost indefinitely. The point is, with brown rice, there comes a time when it goes rancid so don’t over-buy.
  • For cooked rice, the story is different. First of all, you should not let it sit around but use what you’re going to use and store the rest. My experience says I don’t want to keep it longer than about 4 days in the extreme, although some say 4-6 days. When you re-use it, you want to make sure it is reheated to boiling temperature, as between 40F and 140F, bacteria will grow and they can be nasty. Here’s another good source of info on brown rice.
    As to the warnings about food poisoning, please make sure you refrigerate and reheat cooked rice properly, see some cautionary advice here and here.
  • Since brown rice is still alive, i.e. it is a viable seed, you can prepare germinated brown rice which is even healthier and fluffier. It is commonly known as GABA Brown Rice, thanks to a project in 2004 by the UN Food and Agriculture organization, top of the line Japanese rice cookers, like this Zojirushi model. typically have a GABA brown rice setting. Germinating the rice yourself is theoretically possible, but automating it and letting the rice cooker do it for you is much more practical, since the process can take up to 3.5 hours.


Like everything else with learning plant-based cuisine, it pays to learn how to properly handle your ingredients. Given the longer cooking times of brown rice, it pays to cook ahead, but if you’re not going to use up your rice in 4 days, freeze it in portion sized packages, rather than refrigerating it and let it go bad. Finally, do not over-buy brown rice for your pantry. It will get funky if you do.