After corn, rice is the crop most grown in the whole world. People eat more rice than any other food (corn is often grown to feed animals or to make ethanol, not to feed people). Growing rice takes a lot of work. It’s usually hand planted and harvested.
- There are more than 40,000 varieties of rice. Basmati rice is a flavorful long-grain rice; Jasmine has a slightly sweet, flowery flavor. Brown rice is rice that hasn’t been milled to remove its hull (white rice). It is more flavorful and more nutritious than white rice.
- In the spring, fields are leveled and plowed. The rice is planted by hand or sometimes by airplane. The rice fields are then flooded. The rice grows, taking nutrients from the water. It is harvested in the fall. Rice can be grown without flooding the field, but it does take a lot of water. Flooding reduces insect and weed problems.
- Because rice needs so much water to grow, it is usually farmed in places that receive a lot of rainfall.
- In many countries in Asia, rice is a staple food. In China, the word for “rice” is the same word for “food.”
- In the U.S., rice grows in California, and several southeastern states.
- Ethanol: a type of fuel made from corn that is used by some cars
- Mill: the processing of grain to remove the hard outer shell (hull)
Questions and Answers
Question: Is rice hard to cook?
Answer: Rice is very easy to cook. Heat 2 cups water to boiling on the stove top. Stir in 1 cup rice and a pinch of salt. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the rice is tender and most of the water is gone.