HalfPint is a trusted home cook.
Yes, rice does get old. It seems to need more water and a longer cooking time. Texturally, it can get almost mealy and mushy. Also, the fragrance and the flavor will have a staleness that's similar to stale wheat flour.
White rice stores well (30 years under optimum conditions), brown rice goes rancid *very* quickly. Rancid = free radicals = bad. When in doubt, throw it out.
If you don't think you'll use it for awhile, but don't want to risk it going bad, rice actually freezes decently well (some people say that don't like the texture after freezing, but it works for me)
To Freeze: Portion rice out in serving sizes. Place in freezer bag and freeze solid.
To reheat: Thaw rice in fridge over night. Put in microwave safe bowl and cover with damp paper towel. Microwave on high 30 seconds, fluff with fork. Continue with 30 second increments, fluffing in between.
Rice that was frozen works particularly well for fried rice!
June is a trusted source on General Cooking.
Rice definitely gets old, and takes on a stale odor and smell. I also have found it doesn't achieve that light and fluffy texture when it's old. Each grain retains a hard core. As a result, I have stopped "stocking up" on rice, and buy much smaller quantities as needed.
Rice lasts a while, depending on the ambient temperature and humidity, but you'll notice it tasting less fresh and flavorful long before it goes "bad." (or rancid, as the oils in the rice begin to deteriorate)
If I have a specialty rice that I know I won't use quickly, I keep it in a sealed bag in the refrigerator.
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