The rice plant is a cereal grass that is farmed in the warm climates such that it produces a starchy grain that is consumed as a staple food around the world. There are over seven thousand kinds of rice and the most common rice types are the long grain, short grain and the medium grain. The long grain variety of rice takes the longest time to grow, it is quite expensive to mill and when cooked the grains separate. The hierarchy of popularity begins with the long grain and ends with the short grain, which is the most popular type of rice since it is much cheaper.
How to Grow Rice
All rice types begin growth from the rice seed, in the seed the embryo is tucked on one side of the seed. It is the part that is responsible for the growth of the rice plant. The seed also contains the cotyledon which supplies the embryo and young rice plant with all the food that it would require while growing in its initial stages. The endosperm of the seed also play a major role in the growth of rice and it contains starch and other nutrients that the pant will require in growth, the endosperm can be termed as the food stored. The seed is protected by a seed coat that is several layers of thin coats that provide the first line of defense, the overlying part of the seed is the hull, which is the hard overcoat of the seed. In growth the plant grows as all the other cereals with the roots pushing down first and then the shoot follows up, and finally the development of leaves and the stem.
Where is Rice Grown?
Rice is grown around the world, but Asia has the higher percentage of rice fields. In cultivation of rice the fields are flooded with water since it needs lots of water to grow, but more to that the water helps in keeping the weed down. The rice plant grows best in warm areas, where the temperature needs to be at least 75 degrees, but the conditions differ with different rice types. The rice seeds are soaked in water for preparation, just before being planted. In most places the seeds are sowed by hand in special nursery beds, after they grow the plants are then transplanted to a rice field. In other developed countries the seeds are dispersed by a low flying plane.
Harvesting Rice Properly
When it comes to harvesting different rice types it has to be done right, if it is harvested too soon the rice kernels do not cook and if the rice is harvested late the kernels fall of the plant when picking. When the rice is harvested the rice kernels are separated from the rice stalk in a process that is called threshing. The rice is then dried and categorized into either brown rice or white rice. The brown rice just has the hull removed while white rice has the brown layer after the husk polished such that it looks prettier though the bran layer has nutrients; some people find it hard to eat the rice in its unpolished form. The rice is used as a staple food just after being milled, and it can be made into flour, puddings, bread, cakes and even candy. The other parts of the plant can be used to make fertilizers, fuel and even roof thatch.
Cooking with Rice
When it comes to cooking rice, there are several different rice types that one could use. The short grain rice type is commonly found as Thai rice, Pakistan rice, Vietnam rice, rice of India and Chinese rice, all produced in their respective countries. The rice types are used for different cuisines depending on the location of origin. The rice in the countries is mostly short grain and is common due to the short period of time required to grow it. Another short grain type is the Arborio rice that is used in cooking risotto recipes, while other rice types are used to cook different recipes such as basmati for biriyani and pilau and bomba for paella.
Wild rice is also called Canada rice, Indian rice or water oats, this type of rice is grown in the northern parts of America and some parts of China. The nutritional value of wild rice has caused an increase in its demand in US, Canada, Hungary and Australia.
Spanish rice is also called Mexican rice; it is a recipe that is made of white rice, parsley, cilantro, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and other ingredients. Though the rice is called Spanish rice, the side dish is not popular in Spain and goes by arroz in Mexico which mainly means rice. The popularity of this rice can be mostly seen in South America.
The rice types mentioned above have different nutritional values though most of them provide one with amino acids, dietary fiber, vitamins, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorous, and thiamine.