The Varieties and History of Rice

Rice is one of the easiest grains to digest. It is sold in many different forms of rice but all break down into two categories: Whole grain and white rice.

Varieties of Rice

Refined white rice is most common and has the bran and germ of the grain of rice removed and then it is polished. Rice in its natural state with minimal processing is whole grain rice. This rice is the hardest to digest because it has the most fiber but it also contains the most vitamins, including B vitamins.

There are also different lengths of rice grains. Short to medium grain rice like Arborio is often used in dishes like risotto, because it is dense and holds it shape well.

Medium grain rice is often used for sushi and long grain like basmati is popular in Indian and Chinese cooking.

These different types may also have different levels of starch and be more sticky or looser. Sweet rice is made from Asian sticky rice and it is sticky and holds together well when ground into flour and used in baking, it is high in starch and not as nutritious as other flours. It is also sometimes called glutinous rice, although it does not contain any gluten.

Brown rice is a well-known variety of whole grain rice. Another variety is wehani rice, which is a more reddish color, as well as black rice, with a black to a purple husk.

Aromatic rice is usually whole grain, with many regions producing unique aromatic specialties. Aromatic rice varieties include jasmine and basmati.

History of Rice

Rice is a grain that is native to Asia, according to Edward Lewis Sturtevant. In his book “Sturtevant's Notes on Edible Plants,” he writes that it was first introduced to the Mediterranean region by Arab merchants.

The Portuguese began to grow rice in what is now Italy, in the 16th century. Its cultivation was first introduced into America in 1647, in the state of Virginia.

Today, it is commercially grown in seven states, reports the USA Rice Federation: Louisiana, Florida, California, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas.

Rice is a grass which is cultivated in waterlogged paddies. During the harvest season, the long stalks of the rice are cut and threshed to remove the rice, which can be left in a hulled form and sold as brown rice, or shucked and sold as white rice.

Depending on when the rice is harvested, the flavor may vary.

Rice Nutritional Facts

Brown rice is an excellent dietary source of manganese, with each cup providing 88 percent of the daily value recommended.

Manganese is a trace mineral that is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates and protein and is essential for a healthy nervous system. It is also a good source of selenium and magnesium minerals.

Read more:

Easy Fried Rice


  • 2 cups uncooked rice of your choice - brown or white
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped finely
  • chopped vegetables of choice- zucchini squash green beans, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, kale leave,peppers, cabbage etc
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup cashews or peanuts or cooked meat of choice - chicken pork, beef strips
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce or liquid aminos


  • Put the rice on to cook with 4 cups of water to the 2 cups of rice.
  • Cut up the meat and vegetables, slicing finely.
  • Pour sesame oil in a large wok and break eggs into the wok,cooking 1 at a time. Let the egg thin out over the bottom of the pan and cook in a thin spread. When it is finished slice it into long pieces and set aside. Then cook the next egg until all are finished.
  • Now put in the chopped onion and garlic and saute until lightly browned. Add in all other vegetables, cooking the harder ones first like beans and peppers and the softer ones last. When cooked to your taste add in meat, herbs of choice, nuts, and egg strips. Mix with soy sauce and serve.
Jennifer Dages
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