I had always assumed that I had probably eaten food that contained bugs at some point. I mean, bugs have spent millions of years permeating human food stores, and while modern food production has come a long way, I’m not naive enough to believe there’s no way a bug or two couldn’t find its way into my food.
The Rice Weevil is a notorious culprit in this respect, and this week, I had my first known experience with the little devils. I emptied a half-eaten bag of uncooked rice into my new glass storage bin and sat down to watch some TV. When I went to the kitchen to grab some food, I noticed something crawling in my rice:
Yep, there it was. I opened up the container to find dozens of these little guys crawling around.
Now, I keep a clean kitchen, but I live in an old apartment building. I am sure that bugs move from tenant to tenant indiscriminately, but when I did some research online, I found that many times, Rice Weevil larvae or eggs are in rice before it leaves the factory! How many Rice Weevils had I boiled and eaten over the years? Who knows. Based on the amount of rice I’ve eaten as a poor college student and entrepreneur, probably hundreds if not thousands of the little devils.
Well, even though the bugs aren’t harmful once they’ve been cooked in with your rice, I had to throw the rice out after seeing them. I know, it’s purely psychological, but…well, it just wouldn’t be right to boil the little guys alive. I’ll let them have a peaceful existence at the Chicago land fill where they will have enough to eat for millennia. Just doing my part, folks.
So How Can You Prevent Getting These Bugs in Your Rice?
Fortunately, the solution to keeping the critters at bay is pretty simple, even if their larva were laid in the factory: just freeze your rice.
This applies to all dry starches like flour and pasta as well. The young or unhatched bugs can’t live in freezing temperatures, and as long as you give it a good 24 hours, they should all be neutralized. Of course, the dead larvae will still be in your rice (no way to fix that), but at least you won’t see them crawling around. Believe me, that’s a big turn off.