Rice is a type of grain or grass that’s seed is harvested and eaten. It is a complex carbohydrate that does not contain gluten. Rice is a good source of energy. Rice comes in many different varieties and is often used as a side dish for main meals. In most countries around the world it is a staple food source, especially in Asian countries where it grows. People have been growing rice for thousands of years.
Where Does Rice Come From?
Rice is harvested from the rice plant or grass. It is the seed that grows at the top of the plant. There are two species of rice Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima. The seeds of the rice plant are first collected and then milled to remove the husks. After this process the rice is called brown rice. Further refinement is needed to create white rice. Firstly the bran (the rest of the husk) is removed and then the germ. This process creates white rice which has a lower nutritional value then brown rice. Rice grows wild in south-east Asia and this is where rice originated from. Through trading, rice spread throughout Asia and to Africa. Rice also spread into Europe via the armies of Alexander the Great. Due to colonization and the slave trade rice was introduced into the United States. Today the largest exporters of rice are Thailand, Vietnam and the United States. China and India are the largest producers of rice in the world, but due to the large demand for rice in their countries export little of their produce.
How Is Rice Grown?
The most common way to farm rice is the rice paddy. Large fields are flooded with water and tiny rice seedlings are planted into the ground. This allows the rice plants to make use of the nutrients in the soil and water. It also prevents weeds from growing up around the rice and choking out the plants. Rice can be grown just in soil but the quality of the rice will depend on the nutrient value of the soil. Only certain varieties can be cultivated in this way.