Which State Rice?

 

rice multiple types

 

There are varieties of rice grown in different areas within the United States, but we’re specifically look at just two different kinds from two states in the United States.

LOUISIANA PECAN RICE

Louisiana Pecan or Wild Pecan Rice is a long-grain riceLouisiana pecan rice picture grown only in the bayou country of southern Louisiana. It has a flavor suggesting pecans with a nutty, rich aroma and flavor. Many times it is known as Wild Pecan Rice and perhaps popcorn rice. Its calories rate is about the same as for other rice, and it is a higher carbohydrate.

This particular rice is an excellent source of folate, a good source of iron, niacin, and thiamin. It is delicious as a side dish with Indian and Middle Eastern meals since the grains remain separate and firm.

CAROLINA RICE

It shouldn’t be surprising that Carolina Rice is a long-grain white rice from South Carolina, Carolina-rice-pic-150x150United States. This type of rice actually started in Indonesia but was transported to Madagascar and then to the Carolina plantations. It was in the Carolinas where it was the first rice variety commercially grown.

This rice was then exported throughout the world and provided great fortune to the many rice plantations of the South, but Carolina rice disappeared when the rice industry in the Carolinas collapsed after the Civil War. It is now making a modest comeback as a gourmet rice.

Carolina rice is an all-purpose rice that is good in pilafs and side dishes with vegetables. Keep your eyes open for this gourmet rice in your grocery stores.

Remember —

Rice word pic

is good for you!

 

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What’s Red, Black and Edible?

 

red white black rice

Interested in adding some color to your rice dishes? There are several types of rice that are “colorful” and can be added to regular ‘white’ rice as well.

RED RICE

A number of different rices can be referred to as “red rice”, but in most cases, it refers to an unhulled or partially hulled rice which has a red husk rather than the more red-rice-150x150common brown husk. Red rice has a nutty flavor, and because the germ of the rice is left intact, it is high in nutritional value.

Some specialty stores carry red rice, and it is often be labeled as “Bhutanese red rice” or “cargo rice”. Like brown rice, red rice is a good source of fiber that is helpful in reducing heart disease by lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation. Red rice also helps provide iron in your diet. Per one cup serving it’s a carb with 216 calories yet only 2 grams of fat.

BLACK RICE

Black rice is a sticky rice with a nutty flavor grown in Indonesia and the Philippines. There is also a Black Chinese Rice. Black rice has an excellent black-rice-150x150soft texture, color, and a nutty flavor. It is best used steamed and served with a stir fry dish or in pilaf. Black rice is considered an heirloom type rice and it is high in nutritional value including iron and fiber. It contains many helpful antioxidants and anthocyanins, an ingredient that is capable of lowering the risk of heart attack. Black rice calories per cup serving is 160, less than ‘red’ rice, and also 2 grams of fat.

Black rice works well in puddings. The deep black color of this turns deep purple when cooked. 

 

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Rices with Distinction

 

rice on plant for distinct rices

 

Basmati Rice is a variety of long grain rice that has a fragrant, delicate and nutty flavor. It is primarily grown in India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. The grains are longer than most other types of rice and are characteristically free-flowing rather basmati-rice-pic-150x150than sticky. Basmati rice is available in two varieties: white and brown. Interestingly, basmati rice has a “medium” rating for the glycemic index, thus making it more suitable for diabetics as compared to other grains and products made from white flour. This type of rice is best used in pilafs, biryani, and side dishes, but is not very good for puddings or adding to burgers.

baby basmati rice picA relative of regular Basmati rice is Baby Basmati or tiny kalijira. These rice grains are many times mistaken as couscous but it is not. It is a miniature basmati from Bangladesh. This small, non-glutinous rice can be enjoyed with nuts, dried fruits, vegetables and beans or meats.

Another unique rice grown in Thailand jasmine-rice-pic-150x150is Jasmine Rice, and interestingly enough, after cooking this type of rice has a slight ‘jasmine’ aroma. It cooks  as a firm rice and can be interchanged with white Basmati for variety. Jasmine rice is an excellent choice when cooking Thai or Vietnamese dishes and curries because it’s nutty flavor and rich aroma are pleasing to the palate.

 

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What Flavor Is It?

rice-farming

 

The nine rice’s described below represent a range of distinctive flavors as well as textures (per WHFoods). From this you can see the wide variety of rices.

  1. Some Asian producers package a version called quick-cooking brown rice, from which part of the bran has been milled off, cutting cooking time considerably; quick-cooking brands are sold online and at many Asian markets.
  2. Long-grain brown rice is widely available in supermarkets. It usually requires more water and more time to cook but yields grains with a springy character that is suited for casseroles or other baked dishes.
  3. Medium-grain brown rice tends to be stickier and when cooked more tender than long-grain rice; it’s the most common type grown in Spain and is ideal for paellas. (Side note here on paellas: a Spanish dish usually containing rice, meat and a vegetable, but other key ingredients include saffron and olive oil).
  4. Brown basmati rice, grown in South Asia, gets longer, not fatter, when cooked. It develops a firm and dry consistency, which makes it perfect for pilafs.
  5. Aromatic jasmine rice has the elegant look of long-grain varieties but cooks up moist and tender, more similar to a medium-grain rice. You can find it in most Asian markets.
  6. Nicknamed baby basmati, tiny kalijira rice grains could almost be mistaken for couscous.
  7. Nutty-sweet red rice, derives its color from a pigment in its bran layers; some types are sweet enough to use in puddings.
  8. Ideal for croquettes and risottos, short-grain brown rice can have an almost creamy texture when cooked.
  9. Expensive and hard to find in the States, Japan’s haiga-mai is a partially milled rice where the bran has been removed but not the nutrient-packed germ, or embryo.

 

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Brown Rice’s Versatility

brown rice

BROWN RICE

We’re continuing to look at brown rice. In comparing brown rice to white rice, we find that the texture is firmer in brown rice where as white rice is softer. Brown rice also has an appetizing flavor, what some even refer to as a nutty flavor.

Brown rice is great added to soups, meatloaf, casseroles that call for rice, or just added to a balanced dinner with chicken and a vegetable or salad. There are many recipes you can find in various cookbooks or that are available through Google that you might just want to try. Don’t be afraid to substitute brown rice instead of white rice. You may find that just might like it better.

COOKING REGULAR BROWN RICE

brown-rice-soakedIf you are cooking regular brown rice (not the instant rice), make sure you allow the rice to soak in water for approximately 30 minutes before turning on the heat. Because the grains are a bit tougher and stiff, they need time to soak in water first because the soaking helps soften the grains. If you use too much water when cooking the rice, the grains of rice will stick together feel like a paste. Of course, on the other hand, too little water to cook brown rice will make the grains too stiff. Follow the directions on the package for the best results.

USES FOR TYPES OF BROWN RICErice and plant pic 700x400

Short-grain brown rice can be used in pudding (see picture at right), sticky sweet snacks, desserts, and risotto; and can also be added to burgers, meatloaf, and croquettes. Medium-grain brown rice is great in soups, side dishes calling for rice, and in salads. Long-grain brown rice is great in pilaf, paella, stir-fry, salads as well as side dishes.

RICE’S VERSATILITY

We’ll look at a variety of other rice’s in our next segment, but I hope you can see from our study so far that rice is a versatile addition to any meal. With the healthy benefits of brown rice, I hope you’ll incorporate this rice into your meals. Here’s to healthy eating and your enjoyment of brown rice!

 

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Brown Rice 101

brown rice

It’s interesting to know that any variety of rice—whether it’s the longer-grain or the short and medium-grain kinds—can be milled to the brown rice stage.

Brown rice is brown in color and also called ‘unpolished rice’. rice-diagram-pic-150x150All rice before going through the entire polishing process would look like brown rice. Every rice grain has an outer layer, a stiff cover called the “hull” or “husk”. The husk is always removed from the seed for brown rice as well as white rice.

Under the hull there is a thin brownish layer called the ‘bran’ layer. For brown rice, this brownish bran layer clings to the seed if left intact or undisturbed. It is only the stiff cover, the hull, that is removed through the polishing process. rice grains in hand 700x400

Brown rice is more nutritious compared to white rice because of many good nutrients within the bran layer itself. The complete milling and polishing  converting brown rice into white rice actually destroys 67% of the vitamin B3, 80% of the vitamin B1, 90% of the vitamin B6, half of the manganese, half of the phosphorus, 60% of the iron, and all the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids. Do you hear brown rice calling us to attention?

Brown rice, however, is rich in fiber, helping to reduce the possibility of heart diseases, avoid abrupt spikes in sugar levels, and as an aid in digestion and reducing constipation. Brown rice also contains other vitamins and brown-rice-from-jar-150x150nutrients besides B vitamins: manganese, selenium, and iron.

Just one cup of brown rice provides 80% of the daily value for manganese which is a critical component of an antioxidant enzyme providing protection against damage from the free radicals as well as reducing the severity of asthma, lowering high blood pressure, and even in reducing frequency of migraine headaches. The selenium in brown rice helps with thyroid hormone metabolism, antioxidant defense systems, and immune function. Research has also found that the oil in whole brown rice lowers cholesterol. I think we all have to agree that brown rice is healthy for you and your body. 

 

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Comparing White and Brown Rice

 

rice - brown and white rice

 

Let’s look at the comparisons between white rice and brown rice. They both have similar number of calories, carbohydrates, and proteins, etc. The main differences, which we’ve briefly mentioned, is how they are processed which can change they’re nutritional value somewhat. The table below is based on a serving size of 1 cup cooked rice.

Although you’ll notice that the numbers are quite similar, overall brown rice is still a healthier option for you.

Cooked Rice

Calories

Carbohydrates

Fat

Fiber

Protein

Sugar

Brown

216

45 g.

2 g.

4 g.

5 g.

1 g.

White

205

45 g.

0 g.

1 g.

4 g.

0 g.

VITAMIN and MINERAL CONTENT

In checking the vitamin and mineral content for both Brown and White rice, they are fairly close. Brown rice contains Vitamin K, and Vitamin B6, whereas white rice does not. They both contain higher amounts of these minerals: Niacin, Folate, Choline, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, and Selenium. Did you know that white rice also contains Fluoride?

There are a lot of good things for you in rice. When I was little very young, I always enjoyed eating a bowl of white rice with a little butter on it, but today my rice of choice is brown rice. And now they’ve come out with brown rice pasta in various styles that is good tasting and healthier for you when enjoying Italian cuisine.

 

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From the Field to the Mill

 

Rice Is Nice

 

THE RICE PLANT

Most researchers agree that the rice plant is probably native to rice-plant-241x300India or that general vicinity. When the rice plant is growing it looks pretty much like barley or oats. It is a tall annual plant that has smooth tapering leaves enclosed in sheaths. The leaves themselves are around ½ inch wide but can be up to two feet long.

Each rice plant has several stalks and at the end of these are smaller stalks called panicles. On these smaller stalks of panicles grow spikelets. There are several grains growing within each spikelet. A grain has an outer covering that is hard which is called a hull. Underneath the hull are layers of bran that cover the endosperm, which is the starchy portion of the rice. Also under the layers of bran is the embryo, the part of the grain from which the new plant develops.

 

 THE MILLING PROCESS

rice-millingWhen rice plants ripen, combines are used to harvest the grain. Rice grain are separated from the panicles during the Milling process by threshing. Grinding, cracking, or pounding removes any inedible hulls, thus leaving what we know as brown rice. It is further processed at this point by first removing or rubbing off the bran layers thus making white rice. The grains of white rice are then polished and can be stored for long periods of time. Through this process of making white rice, not only are vitamins lost but the oil in the bran is also removed. Rice bran oil (contained in brown rice) may help in lowering LDL cholesterol.

White rice has its place, and was always a favorite of mine when I was growing up. BUT for a healthier life-style, I suggest incorporating brown rice into your diet.

 

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Rice Plant Cultivation

rice scoop

 

We’ll look at the various types of rice more in later articles, but to gain a comprehensive understanding of rice, let’s look at the cultivation of the rice plant.

There are two types of cultivated rice. The first is lowland or rice - wet rice growingwet rice. That is where rice is grown on land flooded with water. If you’ve done any traveling in areas where they are growing rice, you’ve probably seen this type of rice cultivation.

In most rice paddies in the States, rice is drilled into the fields and then covered with up to 2 inches of water to begin with. The Rice-Paddies-lots-of-water-1fields are drained when the plants begin to ripen. Today, due to advanced agricultural methods, it is easier to harvest rice up to 4 times a year. We’ve seen a few along I-40 between Georgia and California.

The other type of cultivated rice is upland, or dry, and it grows in dry conditions similarly to other grains. Did you know that more than 90 per cent of the world’s production consists of lowland rice - dry rice growingrice? Even though lowland rice is not a water plant, it will tolerate large amounts of water.

An interesting aspect of growing wet rice is that the rice is protected from weeds when it is grown in water. The best climate for rice in tropical of or semi-tropical climates.

You may not be able to grow your own, but you will be able to find many varieties at grocery or specialty food stores all ready to take home, cook, and enjoy.

 

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What To Do With Rice

rice grains in hand

 

Eat rice before battle and you will be victorious.
– Japanese proverb

Rice is the main staple for over 50% of the world’s population. With its high carbohydrate content alone, it provides 20% of the world’s dietary energy supply. That may make you bag of rice picwonder how many folks in Asian countries stay slim and trim if they’re eating lots of rice. Good question. Not sure we can totally answer it, but rice is more than popular to many people throughout the world. Because it is fairly reasonable, it is also a good energy source thus making it a good fit for many folks. In many places in the United States you can buy it in bulk. A friend of our does that for several orphanages he operates in Haiti, and the huge bags of rice can feed many, many children for quite a while.

OTHER USES OF RICErice straw matt pic

Not only is rice good food for the masses and enjoyed by all, its uses are far-reaching in our world.

rice hat picDid you know that rice straw is used to make shoes, rope, mats, roof thatching, and hats, just to name a few items?

Rice is also used as roughage and bedding for cattle.

Did you now that rice bran is usedrice straw for cattle pic to feed cattle and poultry and the hulls are used for fertilizer and in the manufacture of synthetic materials?

Rice is definitely versatile as a food source and in so many other ways in our world. 

 

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