Source: USA Rice Federation
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
Brown rice is 100-percent whole grain. One cup of whole grain brown rice provides two of the three recommended daily servings of whole grains.
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.
Specialty varieties grown in the United States include the following:
U.S. Jasmine Rice
Jasmine rice is an aromatic long grain rice that has a distinctive aroma and flavor similar to that of popcorn or roasted nuts. Cooked grains are soft, moist and cling together.
U.S. Basmati Type Rice
Basmati rice is aromatic long grain rice that has a distinctive aroma and flavor similar to that of popcorn or roasted nuts. When cooked, it expands only lengthwise, resulting in long slender grains that are dry, separate and fluffy.
Della, Delrose, and Delmont
Della, Delrose, and Delmont rice varieties combine the qualities of regular long grain rice and basmati rice. They have an aroma similar to basmati; however, cooked grains swell in both length and width, like regular long grain rice.
U.S. Aromatic Red Rice Aromatic red rice has a deep-colored, honey-red bran. Like brown rice, it is minimally processed to retain its bran layers and takes 45 to 50 minutes to prepare. Cooked grains have a savory, nutty flavor and are slightly chewy.
U.S. Black Japonica
Black japonica rice is an aromatic rice with a dark black bran. Like brown rice, it is minimally processed to retain its bran layers and takes 45 to 50 minutes to prepare. Cooked grains are slightly chewy with a subtle sweet spiciness.
U.S. Arborio Rice
Arborio rice is a large, bold rice with a characteristic white dot at the center of the grain. In terms of length/width ratio and starch characteristics, it is classified as a medium grain
U.S. Sweet Rice
Sweet rice is short and plump with a chalky white, opaque kernel. When cooked, sweet rice loses its shape and becomes very sticky and glutinous. It is used in commercial product formulations, such as gravies and sauces.
For additional information on U.S. rice, please visit USA Rice Federation.
May 9, 2011