Why rice should be a household basic

Rice has so many more uses than as an accompaniment to a meal.

Here are five unexpected ways you can use the humble grain around your home.

Clean your coffee or spice grinder

Uncooked rice is great at absorbing odours and flavours, along with any oil that might build up in your grinder. Simply fill the grinder with rice and run until it is ground to a powder. As well as cleaning your grinder, you have rice powder that makes a gentle skin exfoliant when mixed with a little coconut or jojoba oil to make a scrub.

Clean hard-to-scrub vases or decanters

Some vases are almost impossible to clean because of their intricate design. The same is true for wine and whisky decanters. The good news is that uncooked rice can save the day. Simply add a tablespoon or two of rice to your decanter, along with warm, soapy water. Give the vase a few vigorous shakes to ensure the rice reaches the corners and crevices, then rinse and air dry as usual.

Bake better pies

You don’t have to spend money on pie weights – just use rice instead. Use cheese cloth to hold the rice in the pie crust, making the grains easier to remove.

Reduce silver tarnishing

The moisture in the air is one of the reasons silverware tarnishes. To help slow the process on pieces you don’t use frequently, store a small muslin bag of rice in the drawer along with your silver. While this won’t stop tarnishing completely, it will minimise it, making your life a little easier next time you decide to break out the good silver.

Help with muscle injuries

Instead of buying a microwavable heat pack to help soothe sore muscles, reach for a mismatched sock and a bag of plain rice. Simply fill the sock (making sure there aren’t any holes) with the rice, and add some dried lavender. Then stitch up the ankle of the sock. Microwave it for 30 seconds to heat.