Rice is one of the most cultivated grains in the world, and more than half of the world’s population relies on it for sustenance. But what do you really know about your good old rice? Keep on reading to learn 20 facts about Rice.
Fact 1: Rice is the seed of the grass species ‘Oryza sativa’ (Asian rice) or ‘Oryza glaberrima’ (African rice).
- This staple food is eaten in large quantities around the world, particularly in Asia.
Fact 2: It’s the third-highest produced agricultural commodity after sugarcane and maize.
- Sugarcane is native to South/South-east Asia, South America, and New Guinea. While maize (corn in some countries) is grown in over 160 countries in the world.
Fact 3: Rice is grown in more than 100 countries around the world.
- It has a total harvested area of approximately 158 million hectares, and this typically produces 700 million tons of milled rice annually.
Fact 4: Rice is best cultivated in countries and regions with low labour costs and high rainfall.
- Growing rice is labour-intensive and requires large amounts of water. However, rice can be grown practically anywhere, even on steep hills and mountain areas, as long as you have access to water-controlling systems you’re pretty much good to go!
Fact 5: The traditional way of growing rice is by flooding rice fields after setting the young seedlings.
- Although this method requires careful planning and ample water damming and channelling, this does reduce the growth of less robust weeds/pest plants, as well as fending off vermin.
Fact 6: There are three types of rice: long, medium, and short-grained.
- Long-grained rice tends to remain intact after cooking, while medium-grain rice tends to become more sticky after cooking.
Fact 7: Medium-grain rice is used in Italian Risottos.
- Long-grain rice, on the other hand, is frequently used to create Thai Sticky rice.
Fact 8: Rice is the main ingredient on many weight-loss diets.
- On strict diets, only rice can be eaten at lunch and dinner, either plain or, at most, flavoured with soy sauce.
Fact 9: Rice has been associated with different gods in different countries around the world.
- In India, rice is associated with prosperity and the Hindu god of wealth, Lakshmi. In Japan, it’s associated with the sun-god Amatereshu-Omi-Kami.
Fact 10: Rice is the staple food for over half of the world’s population.
- It is the predominant energy source for 17 countries in Asia, and the Pacific, 9 countries in North/South America, and 8 countries in Africa.
Fact 11: The Great Wall of China was built with sticky rice.
- Workers built the Ming dynasty sections of the Great Wall about 600 years ago by mixing together a paste which consisted of sticky rice flour and slaked lime.
Fact 12: Brown rice goes stale faster than white rice.
- Uncooked white rice will stay fresh for 10-30 years, but this isn’t the case for brown rice. Brown rice only has a shelf life of 3-6 months, its bran coating tends to oxidize faster making it go stale at a quicker rate.
Fact 13: Humans have been consuming rice since 5000 BC.
- Rice was first cultivated in China, India and Thailand. From India, it arrived in the West thanks to merchants, but its cultivation has always been most widespread in Asia.
Fact 14: You can find rice in every continent except Antarctica.
- Rice is adaptable, easy to grow, and it has a very high yield, making it a terrific crop to grow anywhere, and it can feed a large population. In fact, one seed of rice will result in over 3,000 grains.
Fact 15: In October 2015, China made the largest bowl of fried rice and fed it to pigs.
- 300 cooks teamed up in Yanzhou, China, to break the world record for the largest bowl of fried rice. They did it by creating a bowl of Yeung Chow fried rice that weighed in 9,242 pounds.
Fact 16: There’s a system of irrigated rice terraces in the mountains of north-central Luzon, Philippines, that were created more than 2,000 years ago by the Ifugao people.
- The Banaue Rice Terraces are terraces that were carved into the mountains of Ifugao in the Philippines by the ancestors of the indigenous people. The terraces are occasionally called the “Eighth Wonder of the World”. It’s usually said that the terraces were built with minimal equipment, and were largely carved by human hand.
Fact 17: In Bali, Indonesia, Hindus believe that it was Vishnu who made rice grow out of the ground from nothing.
- The god of bad weather, Indra, then taught people how to grow the plant: this explains why rice only grows in waterlogged soil.
Fact 18: In the Philippines, it’s a tradition to throw rice over a newlywed couple.
- It’s believed to bring prosperity and fertility.
Fact 19: The most rice grains eaten in one minute using chopsticks is 25, this was achieved by Silvio Sabba in Rodano, Italy, on 26 February 2018.
- Silvio Sabba is still a serial record-breaker.
Fact 20: The most expensive rice in the world costs $109 USD per kilogram.
- It was sold by Toyo Rice Corporation in Tokyo, Japan, on 30 June 2016. The rice received golden awards at the International Contest on Rice Tastes Evaluation in 2015, and was named “The World’s Best Rice”.