If you cook a cup of dry white rice, you'll end up with about three cups of cooked rice. If you cook a cup of dry brown rice, you'll end up with about four cups of cooked rice. Rice is one of the most highly consumed foods in the world, particularly in Asia. In countries like Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Thailand, the average person eats up to 300 pounds of rice per year. The pantry staple makes up about 50 percent to 80 percent of the average person's diet in those countries.
How to Cook a Cup of Rice
Rice is found in cuisines throughout almost every culture, and each one has its own way of cooking the grain. However, most people boil it before adding it to their dishes, such as casseroles, stews, and soups, or eating it by itself.
According to Real Simple magazine, use one and three-fourths cups of water for every cup of rice you cook. Bring the water to a boil and mix in one teaspoon of salt. Add the rice once the water is boiling and use a wooden or silicone spoon to separate the grains, but don't over-stir it. Turn the heat on the stove down to low and place a lid on the pot. Allow it to cook on low for about 18 minutes. Afterward, remove it from the heat and let it sit for about five minutes. Afterward, you can separate it with a fork and serve it or place a towel over the pot to absorb excess moisture while you wait to serve it.
How to Store Your Rice
White rice can be bought in bulk and kept in an airtight container in your pantry for many years without going bad. However, brown rice will go bad after about six months due to the oil in the bran. To keep it fresh, store it in an airtight container in your refrigerator.
A Rainbow of Rice
Most rice you find in your local grocery store is either brown or white, but rice is available in other colors like black and red. The rice's bran is what determines its color. All white rice began as brown rice, but when it's processed, the hull and bran are removed, and the white kernel is all that is left. Unfortunately, the process that creates white rice also strips its nutrients. Many people associate wild rice with vivid shades of brown, but wild rice is not rice at all — it's a type of grass.
Three Grain Sizes
Rice is available in short-, medium-, and long-grain sizes, according to Epicurious. Many traditional rice found in American grocery stores, like jasmine and basmati, are considered long-grain rice. The rice found in dishes like Spanish paella and sushi are considered medium-grain rice. Small-grain rice is used for dishes like risotto.
How Rice Is Cultivated
From West Africa to Japan to Charleston, South Carolina, rice is grown in submerged fields, tidal valleys, coastal plains, and river basins in warm climates. The seedling starts in a bed and, when it's 25 to 50 days old — depending on the type of rice — it's moved to the submerged area, where it grows in about two to four inches of water. After about four or five months, it's ready for harvest. Just one seed produces about 3,000 grains of rice. An acre of land can harvest about 8,000 pounds of rice.