Friday, December 26, 2008

About Rice

1 cup uncooked rice = 3 cups cooked

Rice is of such antiquity that the precise time and place of its first development will perhaps never be known. The cultivation of rice began as early as 6,000 B.C. making rice one of the oldest grains grown for food. It is a dietary staple for almost half the world's population. Rice has fed more people over a longer period of time than has any other crop. In several Asian languages the words for rice and food are identical. Rice has been produced in the U.S. since the late 1600’s.

Rice is gluten-free and non-allergenic. Most people with food allergies are not allergic to rice. Rice cereal is usually the first solid food given to babies.

There are many ways to cook rice. To retain vitamins, do not rinse enriched rice before or drain after cooking. Rice can be cooked in water, juice, milk or bouillon. It can be steamed or boiled, cooked then fried or added to puddings. A bit of oil will help keep the grains from sticking together; a little salt adds flavor. As soon as the cooked grains are tender all the way through but still firm, the rice is done.

The easiest way to test for tenderness is to taste it. The grains should have no hardness in the center. A combination of rice with other grains or legumes will increase nutrition and add variety to meals.

How rice cooks changes from variety to variety, even from batch to batch: brown rice cooks longer than white; old rice absorbs more water than new. All cook by the same principles: Add rice to boiling water; stir, cover, reduce heat; cook. Water will be absorbed into rice or evaporate during cooking. Let rice sit off the heat, undisturbed with lid on, at least 5 minutes or as long as 30. This results in a uniform texture, with the bottom layer as fluffy as the top. Cooked rice stores tightly covered in refrigerator up to one week or in freezer 6 months.

(Source: "Food Storage Recipes - Using only the ingredients contained in the One-Month Basic Food Storage Kit", pg. 16)

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