Black Rice

Rice is the seed of a grass that is a monocot. This looks to be a fruiting plant that produces one seed.

Popularity

I asked a question: “If brown rice is the natural form and more nutritious, why is white rice so popular?”

It turns out that there are several reasons:

  1. White rice keeps for longer (the fatty acids prevent it from storing more than six to twelve months).
  2. It was a sign of poverty since really poor people could not afford the polishing process. Now, the white, stripped variety is cheaper because of the global demand.
  3. Those cultures has developed to prefer the taste of white rice (of course).
  4. It can accompany all of the traditional meals without changing the taste. It is unobtrusive.

Numbers/Distribution

Per Wikipedia:

  1. Since a large portion of maize crops are grown for purposes other than human consumption, rice is the most important grain with regard to human nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one-fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by humans.
  2. It looks like wild rice might have originated in Australia.

Variety

Recently, I started buying large amounts of many different varieties of rice. I must have fifty pounds (I recently blew out my rice cooker). For most of my life (I’m currently in my thirties) I didn’t eat a lot of rice, but, when I did, I preferred white rice. I found it simple and pure. Sure, the culture, along with my mom, would say that it wasn’t very nutritious, but, when I switched to eating more of it, I investigated why and promptly switched to brown rice. I probably would’ve switched because brown was known to be healthier (and, conversely, white was known not to be), but now I know why.

Unfortunately, in South Florida, where I live, brown rice is almost impossible to find in large quantities (read: larger than two pounds). Most popular supermarkets carry white. You could buy a truckload of rice from any Latin supermarket but wouldn’t be able to buy brown rice to save your life. I’ve had to use Amazon.

The following are the grades of different available rices and how they rate (informally):

White

Devoid of any real nutrition.

rice-white-4599

Brown

Very, very nutritious and full of protein.

rice-brown-pictwpfy2

Wild

Nutritious, with even more protein.

rice-wild-wildricecooked

Black (“Forbidden”)

Hard to find, but has the most protein. I read somewhere that, for centuries, it was reserved for the exclusive consumption of royalty.

rice-black-black-rice-bowl

Ratooning

Ratooning is the process of only harvesting part of the plant. It limits how much preparation is required from crop to crop and also allows the crop to be mature earlier. From one ratooning to the next, the crop yields less and less. Different plants can be ratooned for different periods of time before having to be replanted. Rice has a ratooning period of thirty years. Given its nutrition, simplicity, cost effectiveness, and the vast economical benefits of the ratooning process, I consider rice to be a gift.. a miracle food.

References

Why do cultures who rely heavily on rice in their diet typically use white rice which has less nutritional value than other types of rice?

How come asians don’t eat brown rice?

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