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Ingredient of the Month 24: Brown Rice, and Brown Rice Bonanza Event announcement
This is organic long grain brown rice...
This month's ingredient is a wholefood basic, but one which has undeservedly acquired a bad reputation by being the butt of jokes about hippies and "rabbit food"! For a very long time white rice has been seen as a status symbol (just like white bread versus wholegrain bread) despite now being more expensive than white, but I would say that once you get a taste for brown rice, no white rice will do (although basmati comes a close second). It takes longer but is easier to cook properly, it has a delicate flavour and interesting texture and is way, way better for you than its polished white counterpart. In fact according to macrobiotic principles, short grain brown rice is the most perfectly balanced food. As with white rice (which is, after all, just processed brown rice anyway) there are many different types of brown rice: it can be long or short grain and even brown basmati is now available. There are even black and red wild rices, which are usually to be found mixed with cultivated rice grains, although these do belong to a different grass species from ordinary rice.
...and this is how we buy ours!
As the bran and the germ of the rice is left intact and only the outermost husk removed, brown rice contains more nutrients than white rice. (The inner part, the endosperm, is mainly starch.) Brown rice contains more B-vitamins than white, plus manganese, magnesium, selenium, tryptophan and some iron. It is high in dietary fibre, and also contains some fatty acids which may help lower LDL ("bad") chloresterol levels. Brown rice is 5% protein, which means that in every 100g there is 5g of protein- not a lot, but it all adds up over the day.
Storage and Cooking:
Because it still has its bran and germ, which contain fats, brown rice has a shelf life of about six months- shorter than that of white rice- before it goes rancid. It should be stored covered and in a dry place. Freezing is also a good way to store cooked brown rice.
We find that short grain brown rice can be washed, then cooked in twice the amount of water until the water is absorbed, pretty much like white rice, and it doesn't take that much longer. You can also buy "easy-cook" brown rice from many supermarkets, which has already been partly cooked and takes an even shorter time. We currently have long grain brown rice in our kitchen (see pictures) which does take considerably longer to cook. We find it helpful to wash and soak it at least a couple of hours in advance to shorten the cooking time somewhat. Failing that, we use a pressure cooker with slightly more water than usual added to speed things up a little. Even with these methods, however, it still takes at least half an hour to become soft- but the result is always worth it! One Japanese method for preparing brown rice is to wash it then soak it for about 20 hours, so that it germinates (begins to sprout). The resulting rice has been "activated" and the enzymes produced give it a more complete amino acid profile- this effectively means it then has better quality protein.
What will you cook with yours??
Brown Rice Bonanza Event!
This month (September 2013) we want to showcase recipes using brown rice, to celebrate its versatility and nutritional superiority over white rice. Brown rice deserves a better name! If you would like to share your recipes using any type of brown rice in any kind of sweet or savoury dish, please use the linky tool below. (To see the list of recipes you also need to click on it). You can link any archived posts as long as you add the link to this page to them and mention this event. Please use the logo above to help spread the word. We've already added a couple ourselves, just to whet your appetites!
PS: The roundup for last month's Summer Squashes Event is coming soon, I promise...