Rice is the main food of more than half of the human race. There are about 40,000 varieties of cultivated rice. It is actually a kind of grass which has the ability to grow in water. That is why it is called wetland crop. As a crop it is usually started in a special plot and then transported to a flooded field where the seedlings are four or five inches tall.
Rice plant is called paddy. Paddy becomes rice when its outer covering called husk is removed. Oryza sativa is the botanical name for paddy. Different techniques are used by different countries to produce different kinds of varieties. There are long grain, short grain, specialty rice and many more kinds that come in different colors including red, brown, white and black.
The inedible outer covering is called the husk. Underneath the husk is the edible rice grain with three edible parts – the bran, the germ and the endosperm. The bran is composed of germ and endosperm. Germ is the life source of rice meaning it is the reproductive part that germinates to grow into a plant. Rice with its bran intact if planted would germinate into a new plant. The main component of endosperm is 77% carbohydrate, 6% protein, 0.9%fat and traces of vitamins and minerals.
There are three types of high quality – brown, malted and white varieties. Brown type is said to have higher potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, manganese and high amounts of fibers. It is processed to remove only the husk but the bran and germ are still intact. Thus, it provides lots of vitamins and nutrients to our body. The common white coloured that is consumed is processed to remove the bran and germ. Removal of these parts removes the fiber content and vitamins. The white type is polished to improve its appearance while the brown coloured is unpolished one. The malted brown is produced using professional equipment to retain the rice germ.