Brown rice is basically the same as your run-of-the-mill white rice, but without the bran and cereal germ removed. The only thing removed from brown rice is the inedible outer hull, this places brown rice right in the category of whole grains. For calories and carbohydrates, it has the same values as white rice but nutritionally, it has higher magnesium, thiamine, vitamin, and other nutritional content that white rice as it still has the nutrition-rich bran and germ. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that brown rice is healther for them and consume massive amounts. Yes, it has a lot more vitamins and minerals due to the bran and the germ, but the calorie and carbohydrate content is the same as with white rice.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Order: Poales
- Family: Poaceae
- Genus: Oryza
- Species: O. Sativa
- Binomial name: Oryza Sativa
Brown Rice Trivia
- All white rice starts off as brown rice
- Americans eat 20 pounds of rice a year which is miniscule compared to Asian who consume an average of 300 pounds of rice a year
- Brown rice only lasts for 6 months due to the bran and germ, polished white rice can last up to 20 years in storage!
- It takes 5,000 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of brown or white rice!
Brown Rice Buying Guide
Since brown rice doesn’t last as long as polished white rice, here are some things to look out for when buying brown rice.
- Check for best-by / or produced date. A better indication is the produced by date because all you need to do is add six months to that date to determine if the rice is still good. When going by the best-by date, look for brown rice that is as far away from the date as possible.
- When buying brown rice by bulk, just buy enough to last you for one month, there’s no point in buying more as you can always get more.
- Whenever possible, buy direct from the farms or at farmers market for freshly milled brown rice. You’ll never know how long brown rice has been standing in supermarket shelves or warehouses.
Brown Rice Production & Farming in Texas
There is no real delineation when it comes to white rice and brown rice production in Texas as they are all lumped together as “rice” in the official statistics. There are three counties in Texas that produce a combined 60% of all rice production in the state and those are Colorado, Matagorda, and Wharton. Rice production and processing is a large part of the economy, contributing at least $200 million annualty to Texas’ economy. Rice has been grown in Texas even before the territory became a state.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
A thing to note about brown rice is that recent studies have shown that rice accumulates arsenic. There is more arsenic in bran than the endosperm so in turn, there is more arsenic in brown rice than in polished white rice. Natural arsenic levels from water will vary from location to location, but most of the arsenic that is taken in by brown rice comes from pesticides and fertilizer this is why it is best to purchase naturally grown and locally grown brown rice as much as possible.
Depending on where you buy them, brown rice comes packaged in many forms. For bulk bags (10 pounds or more) brown rice is usually packed in burlap bags straight from the farm. Other establishments will allow you to buy brown rice by weight so they’re usually displayed in burlap bags and placed in a container/bag of your choice. In larger supermarkets, brown rice is usually marketed as a health product and is vacuum packed in plastic or mylar bags then packed in unnecessary boxes for better shelf appeal.
Enjoying Brown Rice
Brown rice is cooked pretty much the same way as white rice and is either used as a starch component to the dish, or even as the main dish itself! Some people might find the texture of brown rice to be “off” if they’re used to white rice but nutritionally it’s much better.
To store brown rice, place it in an airtight container in a cool place for up to six months. It may last longer than that, but it’s recommended to consume brown rice before the oils on the bran and germ start to go rancid.
How to cook brown rice:
Cooking brown rice is as simple as 1-2-3. Just make sure that you have real brown rice and not the instant or quick-cook type.
Brown Rice, 1 cup
Water, 2 cups
Olive oil, 1 tablespoon
Rinse the brown rice by placing the rice in a pot and adding water. Swirl the rice and water around and drain. Keep repeating this until the water runs clear. This step is very important in cooking any type of rice to remove the excess starch and to prevent the rice from clumping together once cooked.
After rinsing the rice, combine all of the ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil.
Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover and allow to simmer for at least 40 minutes or until all of the water as been absorbed.
Turn off the heat and allow the rice to stand for at least 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve!
Note: If you or your family eat a lot of rice, you should seriously think about getting a rice cooker, they’re pretty cheap and all you need to do is add the rice and water and press the button! This device is a staple in many Asian homes and is essential for anyone who loves rice, brown, white, or otherwise.