Rice – Food from Water-Grown Grasses
Rice is a grain that is the main food of about half the world’s population. It belongs to the grass family. Its scientific name is Oryza sativa. Most rice is grown in water, but the water must be the correct depth. If it’s too deep, the rice will drown, and if it’s not deep enough, the rice won’t grow.
The rice plant grows to about 1.2 meters tall. It has several stalks with long leaves. At the end of each stalk is a fan-shaped head made up of green and yellow flowers that produce the grains of rice.
The rice plant grows under the water, with its green shoots sticking out. When the rice is ripe, the water is drained off the fields. The rice stalks are cut and dried, then the seeds are removed.
Rice can grow in the same place indefinitely, without requiring fertilization.
China and India are among the largest producers of rice.
Rice was first grown as a crop about 5,000 years ago in India. It is proved that in China rice was grown in the fifth millennium BC. In Europe, rice was already known in the 4th century of a new era – it was brought by the ships of Alexander the Great. In the 1600s it reached North America. In Russia, rice appeared thanks to Peter the Great.
Brown rice is much higher in nutrients than white rice. Rice contains a lot of vitamins, including B, E, PP and carotene, selenium, iodine, calcium and iron.
Rice is widely used in cookery: in a great variety of soups, side dishes, and main dishes. Some people grind rice into flour to make rice cakes and pastry. In Japan, China, and India it is used to make liquor.
In Japan and Asia, it is considered that who has more rice is richer. So, they throw rice grains at newlyweds wishing them wealth.
Rice is the national cereal of Japan. People eat it three times a day and can cook more than 500,000 dishes using rice.