I really like rice. Rice is delicious and never more so than when I’ve used coupons to get it on the cheap! But until recently I didn’t look beyond the kitchen to see what else rice is capable of. For instance, I didn’t realize that the “rice water” so many Japanese women use to get their soft, smooth, timeless skin comes from—wait for it—cooked rice. Here are eight amazing things rice can do—for the next time your rice stockpile runneth over!

1. Heal an injury

Asian medicine sees rice as a powerful natural healer. There are a couple of ways you can use up your extra rice to ease discomfort and aid in healing.

  • Roasted brown rice (Genmaicha) tea: The traditional Japanese recipe uses white (not brown) rice—the roasting process turns the white rice brown.
  • Rice heat sock: Place any kind of dry rice inside a thick sock (athletic socks are best) and tie off the end. Heat in the microwave for 30-60 seconds or until it gets to your desired warmth. This makes a great flexible heating pad for difficult-to-reach injuries.

2. Restore your skin's youthful glow

If you want to have smooth, youthful-looking skin, try rice water and rice bran. Both contain properties that ease wrinkles and restore the skin's elasticity.

  • Rice water face wash: The next time you make a pot of rice, add a bit more water than you usually do. When the rice is done cooking, save the extra water and allow it to cool. Then use a soft cloth to gently wash your skin with the rice water.
  • Rice bran facial exfoliator: "Rice bran" is actually just the outer husk of the rice grain (removed for white rice, left in place for brown rice). You can use this recipe, or just boil some brown rice, mash it into a paste, add a few drops of olive oil, and apply it to the skin of your face and neck for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with cool water.

3. Benefit your long-term health

There are several ways that consuming rice can benefit your long-term health, and these ways might surprise you (they did me!).

  • Rice lowers stress levels: Brown rice is packed with calming B-vitamins, which naturally lower stress levels and ward off anxiety.
  • Rice can ward off Alzheimer's disease and dementia: Brown rice is the hero here. It’s thought that consuming brown rice helps the brain produce neurotransmitters that protect cells from free radicals and other toxins.
  • Rice aids in weight loss: If you want to lose weight and keep it off, increase your consumption of brown rice, which contains complex carbs and fiber to help stave off cravings and balance blood sugar.

4. Gets hard-to-reach spaces squeaky clean

If you’re struggling to clean out difficult items like a coffee grinder, thermos, flower vase or wine decanter, rice can help.

  • What to do: Add some uncooked rice grains in with the water and soap. Cover the top of the item and shake, shake, shake. The rice will take the soap and water into all those cracks and crevices and ensure a good, clean scrub.

5. Rescue wet appliances

Everyone—at one time or another—experiences the awful sight of a favorite (expensive) appliance sinking into a puddle of wet…something. If your device gets wet, rice can speed up the drying out process (and hopefully save you from having to buy a new one!).

  • What to do: Submerge the soaked appliance completely in a tub of uncooked rice grains. Leave it overnight. The rice grains will absorb moisture wherever they find it, giving your device a fighting chance to pull through.

6. Nourish dry, frizzy, damaged hair

Everyone wants the kind of sleek, frizz-free, healthy hair "as seen on TV." But in reality, our daily life can be unfairly hard on our hair—from the wind and the sun to the toxins in the air and the chemicals we use for coloring and styling. Rice can help nourish and nurse your hair back to health.

  • What to do: Take some uncooked brown rice and grind it up (use a food processor, blender, or even a coffee grinder for this). Now mix it with one cup water and one egg white. Use a whisk to froth the mixture and then apply it to your hair from scalp to ends. Leave on 10 minutes, then rinse off with cool water.

7. Ripen up fruit in a hurry

No matter how carefully you plan, there may come a day when you miscalculate how long those unripe avocados or peaches will take to ripen up before you need them. In these cases, rice can speed the ripening process along nicely.

  • What to do: Fill a jar halfway with uncooked rice (white or brown). Add the unripe items (making sure the rice covers each completely). Store in a dark place. Check daily to monitor the ripening process.

8. Get crafty with rice

Rice not only makes awesome mosaic art (for kids and adults alike), but when overcooked, it also turns into quite the handy glue! Rice glue is still used all over Asia today in everything from bookbinding to artwork.

  • What to do: To make rice glue, you want to overcook your rice (think "oatmeal," not "rice"). The key to successful overcooking is to keep adding water until the consistency is thick and sludgy. Then you can either blend it with a bit more water or push it through a sieve to get the consistency of paste. Store the mixture in a jar (in the fridge is best). Use a brush or tongue depressor to spread the glue (it will look white until it dries, at which point it will turn clear).
8 Unusual Uses for Your Extra Rice