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Arkansas ranks first among the six major rice-producing states, accounting for approximately 46 percent of U.S. rice production.
California is the second largest U.S. rice-growing state. The majority of the rice is grown in the Sacramento Valley, where the hot days and cool nights along with the clay soil, which holds on to virtually every drop of moisture, create the perfect conditions for growing distinctive japonica rices.
Louisiana is the third largest producer. Rice traveled south from the Carolinas to Louisiana with Acadian settlers. Louisiana rice was originally grown for home consumption by utilizing areas that couldn’t be plowed. Farmers tossed rice seed into the wetlands near bayous or ponds. What grew from this casual method was termed “providence rice” by its thankful harvesters. Commercial rice production began in earnest in the second half of the 19th century, helped along by the railroad, which transported the crop to New Orleans. The annual International Rice Festival, hosted in Crowley since 1936, draws more than 150,000 visitors from around the world.
Regular-milled white rice has the outer husk removed and the layer of bran milled away until the grain is white. Most U.S. milled rice is enriched after milling.
Brown rice has the outer hull removed, but still retains the bran layers that give it a tan color, chewy texture and nut-like flavor. Retaining the nutrient-dense bran layer makes brown rice a 100% whole grain food, rich in minerals and vitamins, especially the B-complex group. Regular brown rice cooks in 40 to 45 minutes, and quicker-cooking brown rice products are available.
For converted or parboiled white rice, the unhulled grain has been soaked, pressure-steamed and dried.
Same than parboiled white rice. Cooking time is shorter and the grains keep their form after cooking.
Worldwide there are more than 120,000 different varieties of rice, though only a small number offer the quality acceptable for commercial growth in the United States. These varieties can be divided into long, medium and short grain rice. An increasing number of sweet, aromatic and arborio rice varieties are also produced in the U.S.
The principal differences in these varieties are their cooking characteristics, texture and some subtle flavor variation. From a nutritional standpoint they are equal and can be used interchangeably, depending on the recipe.
Long grain rice has a long, slender kernel three to four times longer than its width. Due to its starch composition, cooked grains are more separate, light and fluffy.
Medium grain rice, when compared to long grain rice, has a shorter, wider kernel that is two to three times longer than its width. Cooked grains are more moist and tender than long grain, and have a greater tendency to cling together.
Short grain rice has a short, plump, almost round kernel. Cooked grains are soft and cling together, yet remain separate and are somewhat chewy, with a slight springiness to the bite.
The U.S. rice industry produces more than 19 billion pounds of rice on more than 2 million acres each year, approximately 50 percent of which supplies the domestic market. Although the United States produces less than two percent of the world’s rice, it ranks among the top five riceexporting nations.
Thanks to the USA Rice Federation for their kind assistance
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