VARIETIES AND STRUCTURE
RICE, next to wheat, is used more extensively as a food than any other cereal. It is a plant much like wheat in appearance, but it grows only in warm climates and requires very moist soil. In fact, the best land for rice is that which may be flooded with about 6 inches of water. This cereal is of two kinds, namely, Carolina rice and Japanese rice. Carolina rice, which is raised chiefly in the southeastern part of the United States, has a long, narrow grain, whereas
Japanese rice, which originated in Japan and is raised extensively in that country and China and India, has a short, flat, oval grain.
Efforts made to raise the Japanese variety in the United States show a peculiarity of this cereal, for when it is planted in the same locality as Carolina rice, it soon loses its identity and takes on the shape of the other. Although vast crops of rice are raised in the United States, a large quantity of it must be imported, because these crops are not sufficient to supply the demands of this country.
Before rice grains are prepared for use as food, they have two coverings. One is a coarse husk that is thrashed off and leaves the grain in the form of unpolished rice and the other, a thin, brown coating resembling bran. This thin coating, which is very difficult to remove, is called, after its removal, rice polishings.
At one time, so much was said about the harmful effect of polished rice that a demand for
unpolished rice was begun. This feeling of harm, however, was unnecessary, for while polished rice lacks mineral matter to a great extent, it is hot harmful to a person and need cause no uneasiness, unless the other articles of the diet do not supply a sufficient amount of this food substance.
After the inner coating has been removed, some of the rice is treated with paraffin or glucose and talc to give it a glazed appearance. This is called polish, and is sometimes confounded with the term rice polishings. However, no confusion regarding these terms will result if it is remembered that rice polishings are the thin inner coating that is removed and polish is what is added to the rice. In composition, rice differs from the other cereals in that it is practically all starch and contains almost no fat nor protein.
To be perfect, rice should be unbroken and uniform in size, and in order that it may be put on the market in this form the broken grains are sifted out. These broken grains are sold at a lower price than the whole grains, but the only difference between them is their appearance, the broken grains being quite as nutritious as the whole grains. In either form, rice is a comparatively cheap food, because it is plentiful, easily transported, and keeps perfectly for an indefinite period of time with very little care in
Before rice is used, it should be carefully examined and freed from the husks that are apt to
remain in it; then it should be washed in hot water. The water in which rice is washed will have a milky appearance, which is due to the coating that is put on in polishing rice.