Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Rice

By Reena Nerbas

There are many stories about how and where rice came from. Most believe the roots of rice come from 3000 BC India, where natives discovered the plant growing in the wild and began to experiment with it. Rice is great for cooking and so much more…

  • Make your own homemade glue using rice: In a saucepan combine 1 cup sticky cooked rice with three quarter cup water. Boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Cool and store in fridge.
  • Here’s an old trick, save leftover rice water and use it in the shower as hair conditioner. Leave in hair for 30 minutes, some people say it dries their hair out but many people have used rice conditioner for most of their lives.
  • Make a rice bag to keep your feet warm at night. Sew a cotton sack and fill with uncooked white rice. Sew another bag (flannel works well) around the first to act as a pillowcase, making sure not to finish one end, so that the case can be washed regularly. Put the bag in the microwave for 1-2 mins. Great for headaches, aching bones and earaches. Or put the sack in the freezer and lay it on your forehead if a headache should arise.
  • Grind up 1 cup of uncooked rice in a coffee grinder to clean the grinder and sharpen its blades.
  • Leftover water used for washing rice is a good fertilizer for your household plants.
  • Add a few grains of rice to your salt shaker. Rice absorbs moisture faster and more efficiently than salt does. Therefore, it prevents salt from caking up in the shaker due to high humidity.
  • For fluffier and great tasting rice, add a teaspoon of white distilled vinegar to the boiling water before adding rice. Rice will be easier to spoon and less sticky.
  • When cooking rice add 1 to 2 tsp. of oil, butter or margarine to the water, this helps prevent the water from boiling over. Butter or olive oil keeps the grains from sticking together, while a little salt adds flavor. Another way to change the flavor of rice is by adding garlic, lemon juice and grated zest, curry or turmeric to the pot.
  • There are many variations when cooking rice. For a nice flavor soak three quarter cups of rice in cider before cooking. Or add one can of mushroom soup before baking/cooking rice. Spoon salsa over cooked rice or add uncooked rice to pot before cooking. Or cover cooked rice with beans. Or add peppers to dishes before cooking rice. Or toss rice with salads. Or grate cheese and melt over rice. Or serve rice with scrambled eggs.
  • Rice improves with a rest after cooking, this gives you more flexibility for completing the remainder of your meal. For a longer wait, place a slice of dry bread on the rice to keep it fluffy; cover.
  • Leftover rice freezes well. Store in sealable bags.
  • Make rice pudding using leftover rice. Place 2 cups cooked rice in a bowl, add 1-2 cups low fat Cool Whip, 1 cup raisins and 2 tsp. cinnamon. Mix well and cool in fridge until needed.
  • To clean a pot with baked on rice. Boil vinegar, baking soda and dish soap in a pot for 5 minutes. Let cool and scrub.

Did you know?

  • Rice is the first food a new bride in India offers to her husband and the first food offered to newborn babies.
  • Rice is grown on every continent except Antarctica.

Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website: Ask a question or share a tip at

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