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History of Rice Rice plants have been traced back to 5000 BC, but the practice of rice growing is believed to have originated in areas of China, and southern and eastern Asia, in about 2000 BC. History of Rice Cultivation There are many unproven mythological tales related to origin of rice, though historians hold little or no stock in any. Rice cultivation is considered to have begun simultaneously in many countries over 6500 years ago. Rice has been cultivated in China since ancient times. Chinese records of rice cultivation go back 4000 years. Most believe the roots of rice come from 3000 BC India, where natives discovered the plant growing in the wild and began to experiment with it. Cultivation and cooking methods are thought to have spread to the west rapidly and by medieval times, southern Europe saw the introduction of rice as a hearty grain. In several Asian languages the words for rice and food are identical. African rice has been cultivated for 3500 years. In the Middle East and Mediterranean Europe, it started around 800 BC. Rice spread throughout Italy and then France, after the middle of the 15th century, later propagating to all the continents during the great age of European exploration. In 1694, rice arrived in South Carolina, probably originating from Madagascar. The Spanish brought rice to South America at the beginning of the 18th century. Rice cultivation has been carried into all regions having the necessary warmth and abundant moisture favorable to its growth, mainly subtropical rather than hot or cold. Extended Use of Rice Rice has potential in a wide range of food categories. Besides having nutritional and medicinal benefits, the by-products of rice are equally important and beneficial. By-products from growing rice create many valuable and worthwhile products. The unedible parts, that are discarded through the milling process, and the edible part could be transformed into some of the following suggested products. Rice By-Products •Rice Husks •Rice Bran •Broken Rice •Rice Flour •Rice Milk •Rice Pudding •Rice Starch •Rice Straw •Rice used in Beverage Making •Rice Paper •Rice Glue •Rice Cakes (mochi) •Rice Vinegar •Rice Soy Milk •Red Yeast Rice •Rice based food products Types and Forms of Rice Worldwide, there are more than 40,000 different varieties of rice. Often times, rice is categorized by its size as being either short grain, medium grain or long grain. Short grain, which has the highest starch content, makes the stickiest rice, while long grain is lighter and tends to remain separate when cooked. The qualities of medium grain fall between the other two types. Another way that rice is classified is according to the degree of milling that it undergoes. This is what makes a brown rice different than a white rice. Thus, the primary differences in different varieties of rice are their cooking characteristics, shapes and even colors and in some cases, a subtle flavor difference. The influx of convenience foods has brought consumers rice in bags, packets and cartons. Rice can be purchased cooked or uncooked, packed, dehydrated and also frozen. To meet the many special requirements of packaged foods, rice undergoes varying degrees of processing, including regular-milled, parboiled, precooked, and brown. Accordingly, we can divide types and forms of rice in the following categories: Long Grain / All Purpose: Indica Rice Medium Grain Rice: Javanica Rice Short Grain Rice: Japonica Rice Speciality/Aromatic Rice Nutritional Facts about Rice Rice remains a staple food for the majority of the world's population. Rice is very nutritious. This important carbohydrate is the staple food for more than two-thirds of the world's population who rely on the nutritional benefits of rice. Rice has the following nutritional benefits: •Excellent source of carbohydrates: Rice is a great source of complex carbohydrates, which is an important source of the fuel our bodies need. •Good energy source: Carbohydrates are broken down to glucose, most of which is used as energy for exercise and as essential fuel for the brain. •Low fat, Low salt, No cholesterol: Rice is healthful for what it does not contain. Rice has no fat, no cholesterol and is sodium free. Rice is an excellent food to include in a balanced diet. •A good source of vitamins and minerals such as thiamine, niacin, iron, riboflavin, vitamin D, calcium, and fiber. •Low sugar •No gluten: Rice is gluten free. All rice is gluten free, making rice the essential choice for people with gluten free dietary requirements. •No additives and preservatives: Rice contains no additives or preservatives, making it an excellent inclusion in a healthy and balanced diet. •Contains resistant starch: Rice also contains resistant starch, which is the starch that reaches the bowel undigested. This encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria, keeping the bowel healthy. •Non-allergenic •Cancer prevention and diet: Whole grains (such as brown rice) containapplesauce, apple vinegar, apple jelly, apple butter and just apples.
I core into 8 kilos of apples that I “found” on Saturday and think of days gone by. Not my days, but of those hundreds of years ago. We have a pick your own apple tree grove near us that is almost closed for the season. Against his will (it would be funny to have my husband tell his side of the Slow Year story), I made my husband go and ask if we can scrap the ones that have fallen. She said yes, of course for almost free, for 12 cents a pound. In fifteen minutes, I had a bag full of just fallen not even bruised, not wormed at all, perfect crisp red apples roughly the weight of my baby, which is my threshold of carrying weight at the moment. What a wonderful sensation of the eyes, these apples overflowing onto my counters, tables and floor. But then I am stuck with the task of processing them where I find an all new respect for America’s pioneers who relied on apples amongst other things for their yearly hooch and its medicinal properties. Many settlers learned how to distill fruits, flowers and even oak leaves into a drinkable elixir “water of life.” Life was harsh, water was not always pure and drinkable, and Johnny Appleseed was making a killing selling little apple tree seedlings to the hoards of pioneers breaking out into unknown wild countryside. Freezing temperatures made applejack the perfect beverage for using frozen distillation. It also kept them warm at night, happy (energetic they said!) and drunk too. If you let it ferment further without freezing, then you have my favorite: apple cider vinegar. Though, I might just drink some of the sweet cider (about 6 percent alcohol) before it gets to the hard cider phase (40 percent alcohol). Not wanting to waste anything of the apple, I made some slosh vinegar with the cores and peels and ¾ liter water in a quart bottle open except the lid which is an old cut up pillow case and an elastic scrunchy that has lost part of its band. They look like little sheiks from different oil nations lined up in my basement where they will sit next to the pickles and canned tomatoes for the next 4 to 6 months to become apple cider vinegar. It certainly was no easy task to use them all up and I only had 16 or so pounds, I can’t imagine the work for an entire orchard. I vowed to only plant one or two in my future lot (next to the quince and the hazelnut, of course!) I first scrubbed and cored the apples. Pushed them through my food mill until I had pulp and then put them through another finer blade that pulled out all the skins and left me with rich apple sauce. Then I strained that through an old pillow case (or cheesecloth- which I don’t have anymore) to make pure juice. The stuff I was left with in the fabric was rich thick apple sauce half of which I brought to 175F for ten minutes in a pan and then bottled and the other half I added brown sugar and spices (cinnamon, cloves and all spice) and let it cook slowly on top of the woodstove for 6 hours until it became apple butter—heaven on a slice of bread! The juice is was strained again and poured into my old (though very clean) brown apothecary bottles with ¼ of the space left open for the future frothing and fermentation. They will sit on our buffet, out of the light, but warm at 70 degrees for the next 3 to 4 weeks until the sugar turns to alcohol and then alcohol will ferment like wine does. You can add wine making yeasts to speed up the process, but we are not in a hurry and it sure does look pretty on the sideboard near the table. I was just starting to relax, dreaming of a long winters nap when I realized that I have a bucket of clementine tangerines to process now. From apples and onto oranges. The life of a homesteader, to be continued.
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