[Sca-cooks] brown rice

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Mon Jul 9 14:57:05 PDT 2012

"Brown" rice is more properly "wholegrain" rice, that being rice which has 
had the husk removed and the bran and germ left intact.  Depending on the 
precise cultivar, the bran, which is the exterior of the seed, can be near 
white, light brown, brown, red or black (possibly dark purple).  "White" 
rice is "milled" or "polished" rice, which has had the bran and germ removed 
by milling.  Darker brans have a chemistry that may color the endosperm (the 
starchy core of the seed), so technically, you can have red or black "white" 

Any culture that can produce rice flour can produce polished rice, so the 
origin of polished rice could be in prehistory.  I am more of the mind that 
polished rice is of Persian origin (as an offshoot of parboiled rice) and 
was likely introduced into Europe during the Islamic expansion.  Parboiling 
rice gelatinizes and hardens the endosperm and permits the bran to be easily 
removed by rubbing (variants of this technique are used in modern 
polishing).  A couple of sources I have encountered suggest that this 
technique began somewhere around the Persian Gulf to improve the storage 
life of rice.  Harold McGee, "On Food and Cooking," states that India has 
been polishing its rice for 2,000 years.  If the technique is as old as 
stated, then it and rice were likely introduced into the Mediterranean Basin 
during the Islamic expansion,


> I am currently trying to research the usage of brown vs white rice in 
> period. The only mention that i have found so far is that white rice came 
> in in Japan in the 17th C. 
> (http://ask.metafilter.com/149004/History-of-white-not-wholegrain-rice-in-Japan)
> Does anybody have a source that can shed more light? Gut feelings says.
> brown rice, but that tends to be unreliable ;)
> Arpad

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