A monument should actually be erected for rice: the inconspicuous grain feeds an entire continent. In the rich West, on the other hand, appreciation is limited. Only the natural food scene gets you a taste.

A monument should actually be erected for rice: the inconspicuous grain feeds an entire continent. In the rich West, on the other hand, appreciation is limited. Only the natural food scene gets you a taste.

A handful of rice saves the lives of millions of the poor every day. It is often forgotten in this country that almost half of the world’s population uses rice as a staple food. Southeast Asia still produces the lion’s share of the annual 400 million ton harvest, around 90 percent. This enormous amount is primarily used to combat hunger at home. Only about five percent of world production is exported. While most Asians consume between 100 and 200 kilos of rice per head per year and cover up to two thirds of their calorie requirements with it, grain leads a rather shadowy existence in our kitchen.

Cultivated in China 5000 years ago

There are many legends about the origin of the rice. The Indian god Shiva is said to have had a hand in the birth of the plant. According to the Malay Hova – a history of religion and morals – the first grains of rice were found in the head of a rooster that the Son of God carried with him when he descended from heaven. Old documents from China give more reliable indications: Rice was systematically cultivated there as early as 5000 years ago, during the time of Emperor Shin-Hong. It reached the African coast via India and Persia, from where the Moors brought it to Spain at the turn of the millennium. Rice cultivation has also been a tradition in the northern Italian Po Valley since the end of the Middle Ages. Central and South America only became known through the European conquerors with rice, North America even had to go into the 17th century. Wait into the century. Today the USA is the number one export nation on the world market.

Thousands of liters of water for one kilo of rice

The plant with the botanical name Oryza sativa belongs to the cereal family, has almost 8000 varieties and is found mainly in tropical and subtropical climates. Europe’s largest rice producer today is Italy, and the cultivation was also successful in the French Rhone Delta and in the Czech Republic. Until the end of World War II, rice was temporarily “native” even in the south of England or you can search paddy cutting machine price in andhra pradesh.

Two prerequisites are essential for it to thrive: high temperatures (30 to 35 degrees in the flowering period) and sufficient moisture. To obtain one kilogram of rice, you need between 3,000 and 10,000 liters of water. Although this “swamp price” delivers relatively high yields, its taste cannot compete with mountain or land rice, which ripens in moist air on drier soils up to the slopes at an altitude of 2000 meters. The image of the Asian farmer who places the young plants grown in flower beds by hand in the flooded fields is still realistic, but by no means universal. Elsewhere, when sowing, grains are used that only germinate when they are not swimming in the water. In North America in particular, they are now thrown off by plane, as are the abundant pesticides. No trace of a supposedly natural idyll.

White rice: nutrients are polished away

The slender stalks of the rice plant reach heights of 80 to 120 centimeters and have 10 to 20 overhanging panicles with up to 200 seeds each. These are surrounded by a husk (husk) that has to be ground away after harvest. The cargo (trade name) obtained in this way is also called brown rice and is wrapped in a brownish shimmering “silver membrane” which, together with the seedling, contains most of the nutrients. Because the sensitive protective layer becomes rancid relatively quickly and slight damage gives the grain an unsightly, blotchy appearance, it is removed during white rice production. When polishing the endosperm until it is smooth, not only the end product table rice is produced, but also undesirable waste such as husks, peeling and grinding flour and ten percent breakage. Resourceful “wet millers” try to reduce this by that they wet the grain with solvents (hexane) or grinding aids (calcium carbonate) before peeling. Modern food technologists have found a way to make a profit from rice waste as well: it is stirred together, pressed, shaped, sprayed with all sorts of questionable additives and finally cut to size by machine so that it looks amazingly similar to a real grain of rice. Nothing stands in the way of their use in ready meals.

To make the appearance of the polished grains even more attractive, diluted ultramarine blue and talc were used to help. Since the mineral powder may contain asbestos fibers, rice glazed in this way has been banned in Germany for 20 years.

In Asia, brown rice is considered a food for the poor

Depending on the variety, rice takes around 100 to 250 days to mature. Then the dams of the rice fields are pierced, the water drained and the panicles cut from the stalk with a special knife. In modern intensive cultures, it is not people who do this work, but huge combine harvesters. Rice is sold in various degrees of processing. Paddy grain is the name given to the threshed rice with 20 percent inedible husk. Despite its increasing popularity, the peeled, brown whole grain rice still plays a minor role overall. In Asia, regardless of its nutritional benefits, it is considered poor food and is rarely used. The cultural-historical parallel to the sad fate of the bread grain is obvious. The ground and polished white rice still sets the tone in this country. Pre-cooked grains (quick-cook rice) and bagged goods are the non-plus-ultra for many consumers. Pre-cooked brown rice has recently been offered. Parboiled rice, which is steamed before grinding, is considerably more substantial than ordinary white rice, so that a large part of the vitamins and minerals migrate into the grain and are retained. However, it lacks fiber, which is important for digestion, and this product is not wholesome.

 

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