Products / Rice What's Rice
Rice is a keystone of the grass family that produces a vast number of grains consumed by humans. It has been under intensive cultivation originating in Asia for over 4,000 years and has since spread across the world, where almost a third of the population depends on rice for vital nutrition. Rice is in the genus oryza, which is separate from that of wheat and similar grass crops, although it resembles them in structure. Rice, like most grasses cultivated for human consumption, is an annual crop that needs to be resown for harvest each year. Rice is grown in partially submerged fields, also called paddies, and when mature, the plant reaches a height of approximately three feet (one meter). Rice has a classically grass-like appearance, with a small cluster of kernels at the top of a long stalk. Rice is harvested when it turns golden, and the resulting crop is threshed to remove the hulls. Many developing nations use the chaff of rice as fuel for electricity generation.
There are many cultivars of rice grown around the world, although they can primarily be broken up into long grain varieties such as jasmine and basmati and short grain styles such as those used to make sushi. If the bran, or outer part of the rice grain, is left on, the resulting rice is considered to be brown rice. If removed, the grain is white rice. Many cultures prefer brown rice because it has a higher nutritional value than white rice, including important levels of vitamin B.