There is somewhat of a negative stigma out there about brown rice. High levels of arsenic (from chemicals found in the soil) is one danger that I’ve read a lot about in the last 5-10 years. I would love to be able to avoid all the things out there that might cause cavities, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and so on, but in reality – that would be almost impossible! So in our home, we try to stick to the old adage, “everything in moderation”… And we enjoy brown rice about once a week. 🙂
Several years ago, I stumbled across a video claiming to teach you how to make the perfect, fluffy brown rice that was also healthier for you, with less potential arsenic exposure. This amazing technique is now the only way I cook brown rice – because it makes fluffy, tender (never clumpy) grains of brown rice. And this might initially sound crazy – but you cook it like pasta! That means, instead of adding the usual 1 1/2 – 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice, you boil about a 6 cups of water for each cup of rice. To eliminate as much of the arsenic as possible, you should always rinse rice really well – for about 3-5 minutes in cold water – before cooking. (This is a good habit to get into for other grains like quinoa, amaranth, bulgur, etc.) By cooking in 2 quarts of water versus 2 cups, a good portion of the harmful arsenic is drained after cooking, instead of being completed absorbed into the rice.
Now, I love having a freezer full of cooked rice. Frozen cooked rice can be reheated quickly on the stove stop or in the microwave. It really comes in handy for serving with Asian dishes or stir-fry, as a filling for burritos, a side with fajitas or tacos, an affordable rice and beans dinner (with lots of yummy toppings!), or serve under chicken soup or beef stew.
- 1 cup rice, any medium or long brown grain will do
- 1 teaspoon salt, for water
- 6 cups water (for each cup of rice)
- Fill a large 10-12 quart stockpot with water. Bring it to a boil over high heat and add salt.
- While the water boils, rinse the rice really well in a mesh strainer under cold running water for about 3-5 minutes. Stir the rice into the boiling water and continue to boil, uncovered until tender, anywhere from 20-30 minutes. Start checking the rice about 20 minutes, testing a grain of rice just like you would a piece of pasta. Turn off the heat and strain the rice over the sink.
- Return the rice to your stockpot and lay a clean dish cloth or 2-3 layers of paper towels over the top, then cover the pot. Let the rice steam until all the liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Take off the lid and fluff the rice a fork. Serve immediately or see below for freezer instructions.
- Allow the rice to cool slightly. You still want it warm because the steam from the warm rice will help keep it moist in the freezer.
- Fill quart-sized freezer bags (or containers) with 2-3 cups of rice.
- Push the rice into corners of the bag and lay them in a single, flat layer to freeze.
- You can store the rice for 2-3 months if it is properly sealed.
- When at all possible, thaw overnight in the fridge. You can reheat from frozen state, but you just might need to run the bag under some warm water to break it up a bit so you can transfer it to a microwave-safe bowl or a small pot.
- To reheat the rice in the microwave, add 1-2 tablespoons of water and cover with plastic wrap or another bowl. This creates steam and keeps the rice moist as it reheats.
- To reheat on the stove-top, add the rice and few tablespoons of water to a small saucepan. Cover the pan and steam on low until the rice is heated through, stirring occasionally so it doesn't stick to the bottom.