It is generally classified as a grain, but in family meals it can be used as a cereal, as a substitute for potatoes, in soups, and as a dessert. The custom of throwing rice at weddings is a survival of the ancient Chinese religious belief that rice is the symbol of fertility.
Today, many folks look for gluten free products to add to their meals. Rice is gluten free since it's not from wheat. It is a grain like oats, corn, barley and wheat.
There are various kinds of rice.
- Brown rice is a whole, unpolished grain of rice with only the outer fibrous, inedible hull removed. Brown rice requires more water and longer cooking time than white rice. It has a chewy texture, with a nut-like flavor. Brown rice shelf life is very short. Store brown rice for only six months.
- Regular milled white rice has the hulls, germ, outer bran layers and most of the inner bran removed in the milling process. The grains are bland in flavor and are fluffy; however, nutrients are lost when the hulls and bran layers are removed.
- Pre-cooked or instant rice is a quick type, completely cooked that only needs to stand in boiling water to be ready for serving.
- Fortified or enriched rice has a coating of vitamins and minerals--thiamin, niacin, iron, zinc and folate. This coating adheres to the rice and does not dissolve with ordinary washing or cooking.
- Wild rice is not rice at all, but the seed of a wild water grass found around the Great Lakes region. It is much more expensive than the types of rice described above.
Rice dishes which contain plain rice instead of a store bought rice mix are more nutritious as they are lower in sodium.
Try the following recipe which includes vegetables to boost its nutrition!
* Note, for gluten sensitive folks, eliminate the barley.
Article based on Rice The Healthy Budget Stretcher, Utah Extension
Rice and Barley Salad
- 1 cup cooked whole grain rice
- 1 cup cooked barley
- 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
- 1/2 cup sliced ripe olives (optional) nutritional analysis without olives
- 1/4 cup sliced cherry tomato
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsps minced fresh basil or 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp chopped green onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/3 cup of olive or canola oil
- Cook the rice according to package directions, cook barley (see below).
- Combine rice, barley, pepper, olives, and tomatoes.
- Whisk together vinegar, basil, green onion, garlic, pepper and oil.
- Drizzle over salad and toss to coat.
- Cover; refrigerate until chilled.
Yield: 6 - 1/2 cup servings.
200 Cal, 13g fat, 0mg chol, 5mg sodium, 19g carb, 2g fiber, 3g sugar, 2g protein
How to cook barley:
- In medium saucepan with lid bring water to a boil. Add barley and return to boil.
- Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 45 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed.