‘Twas about time someone said something nice about rice; yes, that very same thing that pairs off wonderfully with seafood and pork and chicken can very well save your life one day. There are plenty of resources out there on how to use various common household objects in a survival-type situation, but very few about this earthy gem. So, without further comments from yours truly, here are 7 survival uses of rice. Hope you enjoy the read.
1. Keeping your salt moist-free
Salt may be a preserver, but there are times when even a preserver needs, well, a little helper. Living in a damp environment can really take a heavy toll on your salt supplies, regardless of how well you store it. Don’t worry; no reason to cry over wet salt as long as you have a box of rice nearby. Open your salt container, take a handful of rice, and sprinkle it all over. Close the box, shake it around a bit, and that’s it; the rice will absorb the moisture that made it inside the container.
2. Save half-drowned electronics
It’s the same old story: minding your business in the, ahem, throne room, when all of a sudden, the phone literally slips through your fingers and smack-lands in the middle of the toilet just as you’re flushing it. Charming perspective, isn’t it? Well, happens more often than any of us care to admit. Remember reading something about burying your handset in rice and leaving it overnight to get the water out. I personally never put too much stock in that, until I had the chance to test it. And yes, as stupid as it may sound, it actually works.
Well, come to think of it, rice does tend to suck out the last water droplet from a cooking pot, why couldn’t it do the same in the case of a soaking-wet phone? Well, it does, and I highly recommend doing this before attempting any other fix. So, after fishing out the phone, power it down, and remove the battery. Place both phone and battery in a bowl and fill it with rice. There should be enough of the stuff in order to cover your device. Leave it overnight. Take it out of the rice tub, wipe the excess moisture, and blow it dry with a hair drier or with a can of compressed air. You’re welcome!
3. Ensuring that the cooking oil is hot enough
Hoping to catch your breath and perhaps silence that growl in your stomach? Then maybe this is the perfect opportunity to take out your stove & pan and whip up a delicious meal. Over the years, I’ve seen many oil-testing methods: some would pour water over the pan to get the sizzling sound, others would toss a morsel to get the same effect. And yes, there are those who actually spit in the pot or the pan to see if the oil’s hot enough (utterly disgusting, even by my standards). Anyway, if you want to quickly test the oil’s temp, toss a couple of rice kernels in the oil. If those kernels float and begin to brown on the sides, it means that oil has reached the optimal temperature and it’s ready to be used for some serious cooking.
4. Giving your grinder that spit-and-polish look
It’s hard keeping that meat grinder in working order, especially after it had been left to collect dust & rust in that sweet pantry of yours. No, you don’t need to spend money on industrial cleaners, or God knows what other cleaning supplies. Just grind some rice. Pour at least half a kilo and start grinding. You’ll be surprised by how much grime, rust, and oil will come out the other end. You should repeat this procedure once every three weeks for good results. Oh, by the way: rice kernels can also keep those blades sharp.
5. Make hot packs or ice pads
There’s nothing more soothing than applying an ice pad to an itchy are or a hot pad to relieve sore muscles. You can prepare either of those at home by using rice. To make a hot pack, take a sock, and stuff it with rice. Tie the end firmly, toss it in the microwave, and ‘cook it’ for about two minutes on the highest setting. Take it out, allow it to cool down for a minute or so, and then apply it to the sore area. Now, in order to make an ice pad, grab a sock from the dresser and fill it with uncooked rice. Instead of sticking it in the microwave, put it inside the freezer for about 30 minutes. That’s it!
6. Treating a wide variety of skin conditions
May sound like a quack remedy, but, apparently, even the US Army’s Field Survival Manual commends the curative properties of rice water. In fact, rice water lavages can ease symptoms of many common skin conditions such as eczema, acne, and sunburns. Oh, and another thing: drinking rice water can help you get rid of diarrhea faster. The recipe’s pretty straightforward: boil one cup of rice in four cups of purified water. Keep stirring the pot for a while. The concoction’s ready when the water becomes cloudy. All you need to do now is to strain the rice and allow the liquid to cool down before using it.
7. Make a super sticky glue
Why buy paper glue from the art & crafts store when you can make some at home? You just a cup of rice, a sieve or a blender, and a mason jar. Here’s what you need to do: In a small pot, add one cup of rice and three cups of water. Bring it to a boil. When the water changes color, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. Remove it from the stove, drain the excess water, and allow it to cool. Using a sieve, get rid of large bits or clumps. You can perform the same task with a blender, but you’ll need to add a bit of water. The rice glue should have the same consistency as oatmeal. After it cools down, place it in a mason jar, and stick it in the freezer. Be careful: this is way stickier than regular paper glue.
Well, that’s about it on how to use rice in survival-related tasks. Know of any more uses? Send me an email.