Rice production has been an important part of U.S. agriculture, since the late 17th century.. Today, six states produce more than 99% of all rice grown in America - Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas. Riceland receives grain from all these states with the exception of California.
Arkansas, the largest rice-producing state in the nation, harvested 213 million bushels of the 443 million bushels produced nationwide in 2003. Rice continues to grow in popularity with U.S. consumers, with annual per capita consumption at more than 28 pounds.
Land preparation for rice farming takes place in late winter and early spring. The land is prepared with large tractors and leveling equipment. Levees are pulled with a tractor to keep an even distribution of water on the crop. Planting, by ground equipment or by airplane, begins in spring. Once the rice plants emerge, the field is flooded with water. Water is kept on the growing field until shortly before harvest, when it is drained. Rice grows to maturity in 100 to 120 days. In midsummer or early fall, the farmer harvests his crop with large combines which cut the stalk and thresh the grains. The rice is carefully dried to a moisture level suitable for storage.
There are about 20 rice varieties grown commercially in the U.S. All can be classified as long, medium or short grain. California grows short and medium grain varieties, while Arkansas produces medium and long grain varieties. Long grain rice is also grown in Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas, with some production of medium grain varieties in each state.
- Long Grain Rice
Long and slender, these grains are 4 to 5 times as long as they are wide. Cooked grains remain separate and fluffy. The perfect choice for side dish, main dish or salad recipes.
- Medium Grain Rice
Plump, but not round. When cooked, the grains are more moist and tender than long grain rice. Ideal for dessert, casserole, bread and stir-fry recipes.
- Short Grain Rice
Almost round, the cooked grains tend to cling together when cooked. Great for stir-fry recipes and puddings.
- Brown Rice
Rice from which only the hull has been removed is called brown rice. When cooked, it has a slightly chewy texture and a nut-like flavor. Brown rice is a natural source of bran. It cooks in approximately 40-45 minutes. Try Riceland Natural Brown Rice.
- Parboiled Rice
Unmilled rice is soaked, steamed and dried before milling to make parboiled rice. Nutrients stay within the grain, and surface starch is reduced, producing a cooked rice that is somewhat more firm in texture and separate when cooked. It cooks perfectly in approximately 20 minutes. Try Riceland's parboiled rice, Riceland Gold.
- Regular-Milled White Rice
White rice has been completely milled and polished, removing the bran layer. Vitamins and minerals are added for enrichment. It takes about 15 minutes to cook. Try Riceland Extra
Long Grain Rice or Riceland Plump & Tender Medium Grain Rice for superior quality
When rice is harvested it has a non-edible husk or hull surrounding the kernel. At the rice mill, all stalks and other foreign material are removed from the rough rice by a variety of specialized machinery.
Parboiled rice is produced using a steam pressure process prior to milling. Rice is parboiled in the hull which softens the kernel, allowing the surface starch, bran and other components to commingle. The water is then drained and the rice is carefully steam dried. The dried parboiled rice is sent through machines which remove the hull and polish the kernels.
Brown rice processing involves passing the rough rice through sheller machines which remove the hull, producing brown rice with the bran layers still intact around the kernel.
Regular-milled white rice is produced by removing the hull and bran layers. The bran layers are removed by a polishing machine that rubs the grains together under pressure. The result is a polished white kernel.
The good news is that rice is a healthy food. The USDA recommended allowance of rice and other grain-based foods is 6 to 11 servings daily.
- Low in calories, with just 160 calories in a 3/4-cup serving
- A non-fat food
- A great source of complex carbohydrates
- Naturally low in sodium
Refrigerate up to one week in a tightly covered container or in the freezer for approximately six months.
Store in an airtight container for up to one year in a cool, dry place. Store in an airtight container after opening.
Because of the oil content in the bran, brown rice has a shelf life of about six months. Uncooked brown rice keeps best when refrigerated.
The shelf life of both milled rice and brown rice can be extended by storing uncooked portions in the refrigerator.
- Measure carefully.
- Cover tightly, do not lift lid while cooking. Steam cooks rice.
- Time accurately.
If rice is sticky...reduce cooking liquid, cover tightly.
If more separate grains are desired...sauté in small amount of margarine before cooking, then add liquid and cook as directed.
Liquids other than water can be used to cook rice including chicken/beef/vegetable stocks, bouillon, consommé or fruit/vegetable juices diluted with water.
Visit the Rice Recipes section for a variety of delicious dishes that contain rice.
The Riceland Rice Cook-Off has become one of Arkansas' most popular post-harvest events. The cook-off is held in conjunction with the Arkansas Rice Festival in Weiner, a farming community in Northeast Arkansas.
For 25 years, the rice festival has drawn people to Weiner to enjoy such fun activities as rice cooking and rice tasting events, rice threshing demonstrations, arts and crafts, exhibits, continuous stage activities and the Miss Arkansas Rice Festival Pageant. The rice festival is held the second weekend in October.
Anyone may enter the Riceland Rice Cook-Off by submitting a prepared recipe, using rice or rice cereal as a primary ingredient. For contest information, write: Riceland Rice Cook-Off, P.O. Box 927, Stuttgart, Arkansas 72160. There is no entry fee.
See the Riceland Rice Cook-Off winners.
| | | |