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Rice Information

An Introduction to Rice

Rice is the staple food for two-thirds of the world’s population. This simple grain has been a popular life-sustaining food for thousands of years because it is nutritious, versatile, economical, easy to prepare and tastes good. Rice is cultivated in more than 100 countries and on every continent except Antarctica. World rice trade represents only about 5 percent of world consumption. However, this relatively small amount traded (worth roughly $5 billion annually) has a major impact on world economic and political policies. The United States is unique as a major exporter of all types of rice. Quality standards for USA rice are closely adhered to, thus the U.S. rice industry offers diversity, availability and reliability unsurpassed in the world.
In the United States today, rice production is concentrated in six states: Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas. The Mississippi delta, which includes areas of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri, is the largest rice producing region. Arkansas, with 46-48% of the total U.S. rice acreage, is the largest rice producing state. Southern states produce primarily long grain and some medium grain. California is the second largest rice-growing state, with medium and short grain rice along with a number of specialty varieties such as red and black rice.

The Long & Short of Rice Grains

Now more than ever, consumers seek healthy foods as part of everyday meals.  Rice fits this trend by delivering delicious, satisfying dishes that are packed with flavor and nutrition. A complex carbohydrate that fuels the body with energy, rice is low in calories, has no sodium or trans fat, is a good source of vitamins and minerals and is gluten-free. Brown rice is a 100% whole grain food, an important part of many diets today.  


Forms of Rice:

  • Regular-Milled Rice – Rice that undergoes traditional milling without parboiling or precooking.
  • Parboiled Rice – Parboiled rice is rough rice that has been steamed under pressure, dried and milled (see Parboiled Rice below).
  • Precooked (Instant) Rice – Precooked rice has been completely cooked and dried or dehydrated. As a result, precooked rice only requires rehydration or brief cooking before serving.
  • Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) Rice – Cooked rice grains are individually frozen before packaging to provide a free-flowing ingredient for use in frozen and prepared food products and for ease of use in foodservice operations.
  • Seasoned Rice Mixes – Regular milled, parboiled or precooked rice containing pre-measured seasonings for ease of preparing a variety of flavored finished products, such as wild rice blends, Spanish rice, rice pilaf, yellow rice and more.

What is Parboiled Rice?

Parboiled is short for partially boiled (not precooked). The process produces a grain that cooks separate and fluffy – no sticky grains. Parboiled rice is a popular choice in food service.

  • Parboiled rice begins with rough rice that is pressure-steamed before it is milled to make parboiled whole grain brown or white rice.
  • The parboiling process partially cooks or “pre-gelatinizes” the starch in the rice. This results in cooked rice where the grains are firm, fluffy and separate. Cooked, parboiled rice holds well on steam tables for longer periods of time than regular rice.
  • Not to be confused with precooked (instant) rice that doesn’t require cooking, parboiled rice needs to be fully cooked before it is served. Cook time is 20-25 minutes.

Whole Grain Brown Rice

Brown rice is the least processed form of rice. It has the outer hull removed, but still retains the bran layers that give it a tan color and nutty flavor. The outer layer of the bran gives this rice a chewier texture than white rice. It has a slightly longer cooking time than white rice since the outer bran layers are still intact. Brown rice is a 100% whole grain food.

Cooking Rice

Most methods of cooking rice require a measured amount of liquid to ensure a properly cooked product. The general “rule of thumb” is 2 to 1 (2 parts liquid to 1 part rice by volume). However, it is important to note that different rice types may require slightly less or slightly more liquid.  American-grown rice is a clean product that does not need rinsing before or after cooking. Most U.S. rice is enriched with iron, niacin, thiamin, and folic acid. Rinsing or draining rice results in loss of enrichment and other water-soluble vitamins and minerals. Always follow package directions for best results. The “Rice Cooking Guide” chart provides liquid ratios and cooking times for the most commonly used types of rice.




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