Brown rice is a whole grain – which means it includes the three edible parts (bran, germ and endosperm) of the kernel, opposed to refined white rice, which only includes the endosperm. Most of the fiber and nutrients are located in the bran and germ. There are many different kinds of rice. To keep things simple, let’s focus on two basic varieties:
Long Grain Brown Rice
Long Grain Brown Rice features a long, slender kernel. Cooked grains are light and fluffy – ideal for casseroles, pilafs, stir-fries and salads.
Short Grain Brown Rice
Short Grain Brown Rice features a short, almost round kernel. Cooked grains are soft, sticky and slightly chewy – ideal for loafs, burgers and sushi rolls. Generally speaking, the shorter the grain, the stickier the rice.
You may wish to explore the different flavors and textures offered by other varieties of rice – just be sure to stick with whole grain options for optimum nutrition.
Brown rice is believed to:
- Reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and certain kinds of cancer
- Lower cholesterol
- Help maintain a healthy weight
It’s an excellent source of Manganese – a mineral that helps your body handle oxidative stress and is essential to the formation of healthy cartilage and bone. Brown rice is also high in fiber and gluten-free!
Uncooked brown rice can be stored at room temperature for up to six months. The bran layer contains a small amount of oil, so brown rice should be refrigerated or frozen for a longer shelf life. I prefer to store rice in the refrigerator – especially during warm summer months.
Cooked rice can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen up to 6 months. Keeping a supply of cooked rice on hand can save time when preparing meals.
Rinse prior to cooking to remove excess starch and to prevent the rice from sticking to the pot.
Brown rice can be cooked on the stove, in the oven or in a rice cooker. I prefer to use a rice cooker because I can set it up and forget about it.
- 1 cup uncooked rice = 3-4 cups cooked rice
- Use 2-2.5 cups of water or vegetable broth per each cup of uncooked rice
Combine rice and liquid in a 2-3 quart saucepan. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat to medium/low; cover and simmer 45 to 50 minutes, or until rice is tender and liquid absorbed. Keep lid on pot and avoid stirring while rice is simmering. Fluff with fork when done.
Combine rice and boiling liquid in a baking dish or pan; stir. Cover tightly and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Remove carefully. Fluff with fork.
For best results, prepare rice according to the directions included with your cooker. Look for a model with a brown rice setting; otherwise you may need to experiment with the amount of liquid to achieve the optimum outcome.