Rice Plant Information and Nutrition
Love rice but want to learn a little more about the rice plant itself? Let’s take a good look at what rice is before and after harvest in order to learn its nutritional values! I, personally, eat a lot of rice and have never taken the time (until now) to research its origin. So, I’m very excited to embark on this journey with you!
Some Info About the Rice Plant
- It is part of the grass species and is a cereal grain.
- The biggest difference between rice plants and others is the fact that rice plants are typically submerged in water throughout its season.
- Rice is technically an all-year plant, but it’s usually re-planted every season to make sure the crops are in tip-top shape.
- Rice kernels are covered by husks and bran.
- For this reason, rice is usually crushed into a powder (milled) to remove those husks and bran. (Specifically, white rice. Brown rice is only husked).
Nutritional and Miscellaneous Information about the Rice Plant
Half of us in the world depend on rice as a regular source of nutrition. Some of us like sushi, some like chicken, pork, fish, or beef and rice. Some of us like cheesy rice, plain, or fried rice. It really does seem to be popular now that I think about it! (And totally deserving of that).
The best part about this is, unlike a lot of other resources we use, rice is pretty easy to grow constantly. It takes a pretty short amount of time to grow (usually only between 3-6 months on average) and is therefore a typically easy crop to maintain for human consumption. (Which is good, because there are about 500 or more million tons of rice harvested yearly!). They’re fairly easy to monitor, too, because when they’re ready to harvest, they tend to become a bit yellow and droop over. The caretakers then drain the rice’s standing water source and let the rice ripen before harvesting it! Pretty neat.
Our standard varieties of rice to choose from in a typical store:
Brown rice, which is husk-removed only, but provides a pretty nice source of protein.
Enriched rice (usually white), which has iron and B vitamins added to it.
Parboiled rice, which is white rice taken through a special process to retain its nutrients before milling it.
So, when it comes to nutrition with rice, what’re we looking at benefit-wise?
- It doesn’t have a whole lot of fat! The fats it does have include omega fatty acids, which are pretty decent for our health. Especially omega 3’s.
- It does provide a nice, little bit of protein.
- Rice provides carbohydrate-love. Which is good, and it’s not a horrible amount if you don’t plan on eating too many carbs throughout the rest of the day.
- There are about 200+ calories in 1 cup of boiled/steamed rice.
- Boiling/steaming rice or cooking it in a rice cooker are the most popular ways to prepare rice.
If it makes you feel a little closer to nature and more at ease about the whole process of bringing store-bought rice to your table, here’s something neat to consider. There’s not a whole lot of waste involved. Livestock bedding & feed and mulch are typically created from the “waste” of the husked and milled rice plants. So if you’re taking on a farm or garden of your own because you care about your impact, don’t fear too much when it comes to your rice. Thanks for learning with us, as always!