to maize (corn), is used more extensively as a food
other cereal. It is the most important staple food for a large part of
human population, especially in East, South, Southeast Asia, the Middle
East, Latin America, and the West Indies.
Rice is the seed of a monocot plant Oryza sativa. It is a plant much
like wheat in appearance, but it grows best in warm climates and
requires very moist soil.
Rice cultivation is well-suited to countries and regions with low labor
costs and high rainfall, as it is very labor-intensive to cultivate and
requires plenty of water for cultivation.
rice grains are prepared for use as food, they
coverings. One is a coarse outer husk of the grain (chaff ) that is
thrashed off and leaves the
grain in the form of unpolished rice called brown rice. The milling may
be continued, removing the 'bran', i.e., the rest of the husk and the
germ, thereby creating white rice.
White rice, which keeps longer, lacks some important nutrients; in a
limited diet which does not supplement the rice, brown rice helps to
prevent the disease beriberi.
In composition, rice differs from the other cereals in that it is
practically all starch and contains almost no fat nor protein.
White rice may also be buffed with glucose or talc powder (often called
polished rice, though this term may also refer to white rice in
general), parboiled, or processed into flour. White rice may also be
enriched by adding nutrients, especially those lost during the milling
process. While the cheapest method of enriching involves adding a
powdered blend of nutrients that will easily wash off (in the United
States, rice which has been so treated requires a label warning against
rinsing), more sophisticated methods apply nutrients directly to the
grain, coating the grain with a water insoluble substance which is
resistant to washing.
Parboiled rice is subjected to a steaming or parboiling process while
still a brown rice. This causes nutrients from the outer husk,
especially thiamine, to move into the grain itself. The parboil process
causes a gelatinisation of the starch in the grains. The grains become
less brittle, and the color of the milled grain changes from white to
yellow. The rice is then dried, and can then be milled as usual or used
as brown rice. Milled parboiled rice is nutritionally superior to
standard milled rice. Parboiled rice has an additional benefit in that
it does not stick to the pan during cooking, as happens when cooking
regular white rice. This type of rice is eaten in parts of India and
some countries of West Africa are also accustomed to consuming
To be perfect, rice should be unbroken and uniform in
size, and in
order that it may be put on the market in this form the broken grains
are sifted out.
|Did You Know?
|Since a large portion of
maize (corn) crops are grown for purposes other than human consumption,
rice is probably the most important grain with regards to human
nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one fifth of the
calories consumed worldwide by the human species.
A traditional food plant in Africa, rice has the potential to improve
nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support
Rice is normally grown as an annual
plant, although in tropical areas it can survive as a perennial and can
produce a ratoon crop for up to 20 years. The rice plant can grow to
1–1.8 m tall, occasionally more depending on the variety and soil
fertility. The grass has long, slender leaves 50–100 cm long and 2–2.5
cm broad. The small wind-pollinated flowers are produced in a branched
arching to pendulous inflorescence 30–50 cm long. The edible seed is a
grain (caryopsis) 5–12 mm long and 2–3 mm thick.
Rice can be grown
practically anywhere, even on a steep hill or mountain. Although its
parent species are native to South Asia and certain parts of Africa,
centuries of trade and exportation have made it commonplace in many
In India, rice is cooked in boiling milk and the mixture is
then sweetened with jaggery to form 'payash' or 'ksheer'.
The water in which
polished rice is washed will have a milky appearance, which is due to
that is put on in polishing rice.
Rice is a comparatively cheap food,
because it is
plentiful, easily transported, and keeps perfectly for an indefinite
period of time with very little care in storage.