Originally from China, rice grows in dry or irrigated rice fields. Its great needs for water and heat make it an easy plant to grow indoors.
In a salad, paella, risotto, sushi, with grated cheese, ratatouille, as an accompaniment to fish or meat or as a dessert, rice is suitable for many recipes. Using this cereal in cooking is not easy because choosing the right price depends on the preparation you reserve for it which, as for pasta, will change its cooking. We think we know everything about this great staple of world cuisines yet many wonders where it comes from and how it grows.
How does rice grow?
Humans have been growing rice for about 10,000 years, since the Neolithic Revolution. It was first harvested in China and then gradually settled in the rest of the world, even in France since the twentieth century.
To meet its high water and heat needs, rice grows with its feet in the water in hot and humid regions, mainly Asia. It is the fruit of planting seeds harvested the previous year in fields covered with water called “rice fields”. It is grown both flat and sloping. Thus, rice fields can be terraced or hillsides.
How is rice grown?
Rice cultivation can be done either dryly or irrigated. The last one is the most traditional.
In the first method, rice seeds are directly planted in the ground, and the only water used is rain. There is only one harvest per year and yields are low.
Irrigated rice cultivation is the most widespread because it shows high yields. Indeed, it is possible to harvest rice up to 3 times a year in the hottest and most fertile regions. In this mode of cultivation, water is conveyed to the rice either through the use of dikes, aqueducts, tunnels, or buckets. It can come from rain as well as from reserves such as rivers, lakes, or reservoirs.
How is rice harvested?
It takes 4 to 6 months to mature and then be harvested. Water from the rice field is discharged three weeks before harvest. Ripe rice is a golden yellow in color and it is protected by two husks. It is cut with a sickle before being dried in the sun and then beaten to keep only the grains that will then be winnowed. This allows the wind to carry away the glume that envelops the rice.
What are the different varieties of rice?
There are multiple varieties (amber, basmati, white, tabby …) that influence the size of the grains.
Basmati rice comes mainly from Pakistan or India and it belongs to the “fragrant rice”. The grain is long and quite fine and can be brown or white in color. It does not stick and is very common for dishes in sauce.
Round rice is very rich in starch. Its grain is round and small. Unctuous, it is particularly suitable for sushi, risottos, or desserts.
Thai rice or “jasmine” is grown in Thailand. Its grain is fine, long, white, and tender and it is very fragrant. Perfect to accompany fish!
Wild rice is the longest to cook. Long and black, its grain is excellent for health because it has a high content of vitamins, proteins, and minerals. Its taste is more pronounced than that of white rice. It can be used in salads.
Brown rice, “cargo” or “brown” still has its germ and sound so it is better for health than white rice. Only his envelope is removed. On the other hand, it is longer to cook. Its grain is long and colorful (beige or brown). It is delicious with small vegetables.
What is the name of the plant on which rice grows?
Oryza is the name of the plant that gives rise. It is part of the family Poaceae or Grasses.
How to grow rice at home?
Yes, you read that right. It is possible to grow your own rice! A bit like pineapple that can be replanted. While it can be fun to do so, don’t rely on its harvest to have enough for your personal consumption.
To grow it, it will take at least 40 days in a row at a temperature of more than 21 ° C. If you live in the south of France, you can plant rice in your garden but for others, it is quite possible to grow it indoors.
The goal is to create rice fields. For this, you will need several (depending on the number of rice fields you want) deep plastic containers without holes. Fill it with potting soil 15 cm high and add water on top of it up to 5 cm. You will also need rice seeds that you can get from a nurseryman, on the Internet, or from brown rice bought organic – it’s better – commercially. Add a handful to the plastic container. Leave it in a sunny and warm place.
For maintenance, always keep the water level 5 cm above the potting soil. No need to take care of it further until the grains are large enough. Once they have reached 13-15 cm in height, add water so that the depth reaches 10 cm. Then wait for the water level to drop on its own.
It is better to empty the water before harvesting so that the feet do not remain in stagnant water. Normally, the rice will be ready for harvest after the fourth month. To find out, observe the color of the stems: green at first, they must end golden.
For harvesting, cut the stems and let them dry and warm in the newspaper for 2-3 weeks. Then roast them in the oven at less than 93°C for about an hour. Therefore, remove the envelopes by hand. That’s it, your rice is ready to be preserved or cooked!
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