Wild for Rice

Better Nutrition - - CELEBRATING - — Ni­cole Brechka

It may not be “new” to you like some of the an­cient grains fea­tured in this ar­ti­cle, but rice has a sto­ried his­tory all its own, dat­ing back thou­sands of decades— an es­ti­mated 12,000 to 15,000 years. First cul­ti­vated in China, rice quickly be­came a sta­ple in Asian, Mid­dle Eastern, In­dian, and Euro­pean cuisines. For so many dishes, there’s just no suit­able sub­sti­tute for rice.

Whether you pre­fer white or brown rice ( the more nu­tri­ent- dense of the two, with higher amounts of fiber, min­er­als, and vi­ta­mins than white), not all rice is the same. A hand­ful of farm­ers are rais­ing the bar when it comes to grow­ing rice. One stand­out: Cas­tor River Farms in South­east Mis­souri, a gen­er­a­tions- old farm ded­i­cated to soil con­ser­va­tion. They use cover crops and no- till farm­ing to re­gen­er­ate the land and re­duce car­bon emis­sions. “Utiliz­ing cover crops pro­tects the soil where crops are planted. As a re­sult, spe­cific plants are al­lowed to grow deep into the soil, pro­mot­ing soil health and fer­til­ity,” says Johnny Hunter II, owner of Cas­tor River Farms. Both their Long Grain White Rice and Long Grain Brown rice have a light, fluffy tex­ture and taste great fried or steamed.

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