Rice (ORYZA Sativa) is believed to have been first cultivated in China or possibly somewhere else in eastern Asia around 10,000 years ago. The earliest concrete evidence of rice farming comes from a 7000-year-old archeological site near the lower Yangtze River village of Hemudu in Zheijiang province in China. When the rice grains unearthed there were found they were white but exposure to air turned them black in a matter minutes.
According to a Chinese legend rice came to China tied to a dog’s tail, rescuing people from a famine that occurred after a severe flood. Evidence of rice dated to 7000 B.C. has been found near the village of Jiahu in Henan Province northern China near the Yellow River. It is not clear whether the rice was cultivated or simply collected. Rice gains dated to 6000 B.C. have been discovered Changsa in the Hunan Province. In the early 2000s, a team from South Korea’s Chungbuk National University announced that it had found the remains of rice grains in the Paleolithic site of Sorori dated to around 12,000 B.C.
Polished white rice is a grain of paddy Rice where most of the bran and germ has been milled away, resulting in an improved flavour and platability (at least to some people). The grains appear slightly more slender, with the apical germ region ground off giving the grains a slightly pointed appearance In milled polished rice you are eating mostly the carbohydrate-rich endosperm tissue which lacks the vitamin B1 of the bran and germ. White Milled rice is still preferred by Asians, and is the most popular grain served in Chinese, Japanese and South East Asia restaurants and family meals.
World Production and Trade of Rice.
Rice is the staple in the diet for much of the world. It runs a close second to wheat in its importance as a food cereal in the human diet. About 670 Million Metric Tons of Paddy Rice are grown annually compared to 680 Mio MT for Wheat, 440 Mio MT for Oil Seeds, and 1000 Mio MT for Coarse grains (corn 823 Mio Mt plus sorghum, barley, oats, rye, millet and mixed grains.) Most coarse grains go into animal feed where its impact on the human diet is not as great (eight lbs. of grain are needed to produce one lb. of beef).
Rice is a main food for human and produces more food energy per acre than other cereal grains, and is second only to wheat in terms of protein per acre produced. Rice production has more than doubled in the last 40 years. Most of the increase in production has been a result of improved field yields. Acreage planted in rice has only increased about 30% in the same period. Rice is best grown in flooded fields and so acreage is limited by soil type and water availability.
The two main Rice varieties grown by farmers are Japonica and Indica worldwide.
A particular variety grows in South East Asia is the Glutinous Rice used for cake preparation.
The ratio between length/thickness and the amylose percentage are the parameters which identify the two qualities in the market. Cooking habits, tradition, land quality, season and temperature during the year create
The texture of rice is determined by a component in the starch called amylose
If the amylose content is low (10 % to 18 %) the rice is soft and slightly sticky. If it is high (25 to 30%) the rice is harder and fluffy. Chinese, Koreans and Japanese prefer their rice on the sticky side.
People in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan like theirs fluffy, while people in Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Europe and the United States like theirs in between.
The growing areas and choices between the qualities during centuries: