Rice is one of those staples that I always have in my pantry. It’s always there because it’s so versatile, yummy and really inexpensive. Growing up we never really ate rice, my mom just never served it. It wasn’t until I began putting together this post that I realized why we never ate rice. My mom was born at the end of WWII, during a time when meat was only served on Sundays, money was tight and the country was on food rations. One of the items during that time that was easy to get, filled your belly and was inexpensive was rice. Needless to say, rice was served with a lot of meals and even for dessert. It’s no wonder why my mom doesn’t serve or even like rice to this day.
Now, you know that these frugal WWII women didn’t just settle for serving this commodity for dinner. They found other ways to use it that would save them money. Here is a list of some of the things that my family remembers about how my grandmother used rice, besides serving it for meals.
Always consult a doctor before using rice as a treatment.
- Heating Pad – to make your
own, fill a cotton or wool sock with rice and tie it shut. Slowly heat the rice
filled sock in the oven.
- Skin – to make it glow,
apply rice water to skin and rinse. Brown rice has a higher concentration of
- Coffee Grinder – to clean, remove
as much of the coffee as you can, fill it with rice and run through the
- Fruit – to ripen faster,
place the fruit in a container of rice. Be sure to check on it a couple of times a day so that it won’t over ripen.
- Oil – to check if it’s hot
enough for frying, drop a grain of rice in the oil. When the rice rises to the
surface of the oil, the oil is ready for frying.
- Pie Weight – to make your own,
line uncooked pie crust with aluminum foil and fill with rice. Bake according
to recipe. Remove foil and rice and fill with your favorite filling.
- Salt – to keep it from
clumping, place several grains of rice in your salt shaker.
- Bottles & Vases – to clean, pour a couple tablespoons of
rice in the vase, pour in some hot water and a couple of drops of dish soap.
Let it soak for 10-15 minutes, then shake it clean, empty and rinse.
- Glue – to make your own, cook 1 cup of rice in 1-1/3
cup water over low heat. Cook until the rice is overcooked. Strain the rice and
reserve the liquid. Let the liquid cool and store in an air tight container.
Shake before using.
Linda @ With A Blast says
The glue is a huge surprise in the mix!
Rose @ Walnut Acre says
Nice list. We love eating rice, but these are some pretty neat uses for it too.
Julie Stowe says
Kids love to play in a tray of raw rice too. Great texture and easy to pack away as opposed to sand.
Mrs Stowe's Kinder Cottage
Diana Mattoni says
I made a few heating pads with rice years ago and they still work beautifully. I used some flannel fabric and sewed it up. You can place them in the microwave for 1-2 minutes which is much quicker than the oven and there's no chance of catching the fabric on fire. Also, if you accidentally drop your cell phone into water, remove the battery and place it in a bag with rice for 24-48 hours – it will help dry the battery out and absorb any excess moisture.
Robin Buster says
You are so right, it is a lot safer to heat it in the microwave. The reason I didn't add that or the cell phone to the list is because I'm trying to keep true to the WWII era. I should probably add a section called "Post WWII Uses" so that I could cover the more modern uses that our generation has discovered.
Karren Haller says
Hi Robin, for a use for rice, after my husbands stroke and in physical therapy to sue a bowl of rice and let rice run through his fingers for building strength and feeling. Don't know where this fits into your categories. Love your WWII hints though and your blog is coming along nicely. Have a great day! Karren
ab cde says
I like using rice in socks for heating pads on my neck, etc. Another use I've found for socks of rice is on the floor at the base of doors for keeping heat/cold from escaping. 🙂 I also like it as a door stop!
Jann Olson says
I love rice as a side dish. I don't remember having it a lot as a child other than rice pudding. I have heard of who dropped their phone into water putting it in the freezer in a bag of rice and it works again. Something about the rice absorbing the liquid. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
Kathy A Delightsome Life says
I am glad to say that I have tried and use some of these uses- wonderful post! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,
Another good use for rice came from my grandmother. She always ground her own wheat for her everyday flour usage. Once a month, she’d run a cup of rice through her grain mill. Being a nosy kid, I asked her why and she replied that it cleared the wheat from being stuck in the mill and rotting in there. She would use the ground rice as a thickener for stews or as a face scrub, mixed into her cold cream.
What a great idea! Grandmother’s are so clever, aren’t they?
Other possible uses for rice, hmmm. Well during the Ming Dynasty glutinous sticky rice was added to the mortar used in building the Great Wall of China, making the first composite mortar in existence. They are uncertain (yet) whether rice flour or a rice broth was used in the actual manufacture but the percentage seems to be about 3% though that varied widely. This is the first known form of mortar that resisted water (like Portland cement does today), which is one reason for the remarkable longevity of the Wall. There’s also a chemical in rice that combines with the calcium carbonate in mortar to harden it, and modern tests show this action doesn’t stop happening. the reaction keeps hardening the mortar over time instead of it getting weaker. It doesn’t start particularly hard for modern cement, but modern cement buildings are expected to last about 35 +/- years while the wall is about 5000 years old.
Other possible uses are: Rescue wet electronics (pack the electronics in rice and let it absorb the moisture like it does in your salt shaker). Stuff a toy (sewn inside a toy it’s like a bean bag and will last a surprisingly long time. Add catnip and your cat will love it), Make Rice Milk ( you just need salt and water and it’s a great substitute if someone has a dairy allergy). That’s all I can think of. My apologies if someone’s already mentioned any of these.