Information about Grains: Rice

About rice, information about the grains, production, history and uses, nutritional value


Leading rice-producing countries include China, India, Japan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand, and Burma. Other important producers are Egypt, Italy, Spain, Brazil, and the U.S. In the U.S., rice is cultivated in Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, and Texas. It is grown in rice paddies, or "checks" as they are known in the U.S., and is the most mechanized of all the crops, needing tractors, land planes, dikers, etc., for its cultivation. Milling removes the hull and bran layers of the kernel, making what is called white rice and stripping rice of much of its nutrients. A coating of glucose and talc is applied to give the kernel a glossy finish. Converted rice is created by treating the un-milled grain with steam, so that the B vitamins dissolve and are carried into the center. The rice is then milled and looks and tastes like white rice, but is just as vulnerable to losing its nutrients when washed. Brown rice is unrefined; only the husk has been removed. It is a source of the B vitamins, phosphorus, iron, calcium, and potassium. To cook 1 cup of brown rice, heat 2 cups of water to boiling. Add rice slowly so that the water does not stop boiling. Cover, and let simmer gently for about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, let steam till ready to serve (10 to 15 minutes). Don't add salt to the water! Salt draws out moisture and lengthens the cooking process. Salt to taste when the rice is cooked or serve with soy sauce. Rice has much lore attached to it; in India and China it is seen as an emblem of happiness, nourishment, and fecundity. It is worth noting that for centuries the Chinese and East Indians ate unrefined brown rice and it was not until the introduction of modern milling by the British that malnutrition became widespread.

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