The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend grains as the foundation of a healthy diet. In fact, the new Dietary Guidelines and MyPyramid recommend at least three servings of whole grains daily, or making half your grain servings whole, with the other half coming from enriched or whole grains. Yet currently, less than 10 percent of Americans eat three servings daily and most eat an average of less than one serving per day.
Brown Rice is a 100% whole grain food that consumers are familiar with that can help fulfill these Guidelines. This healthy grain contains the nutrient-dense bran and inner germ layer where the majority of the bioactive compounds are found as well as the starchy endosperm. It’s the fiberful bran coating that gives brown rice its light tan color, nutlike flavor, and chewy texture. The fiber is believed to reduce heart disease and aid laxation and may reduce the risk of certain cancers and potentially aid in weigh maintenance.
In addition to the fiber, whole grains like brown rice are good sources of many vitamins and minerals as well as fermentable carbohydrates, lignans, phytoestrogens and phenolic compounds. The bioactive components of whole grains appear to work synergistically, which explains why whole-grain consumption provides health benefits beyond what would be predicted if the individual compounds were simply additive.
Like white rice, brown rice is also gluten-free and contains no trans fat or cholesterol and only a trace amount of fat and sodium.
Red, black and purple whole grain rice varieties are increasingly popular in the US, and all offer the whole grain goodness of brown.
BUYING: Because brown rice contains the healthy natural oils of the germ, it has a shorter shelf-life than refined white rice. The shelf-life is about six months, although that time can be extended considerably if the rice is refrigerated. Check for usability dates on packages or, when buying in bulk, choose a store that has a high turnover.
STORING: Store uncooked brown rice at room temperature up to 6 months, or refrigerate for longer shelf life. Keep extra cooked rice on hand for a quick start to your next meal. Cooked rice stays fresh refrigerated, tightly covered, up to 1 week or frozen up to 6 months. To reheat, add 2 tablespoons of liquid per cup of rice. Cover and heat about five minutes on top of the stove, or microwave on HIGH about 1 minute per cup of rice.
VARIETIES: As is the case for white rice, brown rice is available in three sizes: short-, medium-, and long-grain. When cooked, long-grain rice produces light, dry grains that separate easily. Short-grain rice has fat, almost round grains that have a higher starch content than either the long- or medium-grain varieties, and the grains stick together when cooked. Medium-grain rice, as could be expected from its name, has a size and character between the other two.
Preparing Brown Rice
When cooking brown rice, always follow package directions. If directions are not available, use one of these easy methods:
Makes 3 to 4 cups:
• 1 cup uncooked brown rice • 2 to 2 1/2 cups liquid (water, broth, juice) • 1 teaspoon butter or margarine (optional)
STOVE TOP: Combine ingredients in 2- to 3-quart saucepan. Bring to boil; stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 to 50 minutes, or until rice tender and liquid is absorbed. Fluff with fork.
CONVENTIONAL OVEN: Bring water to a boil. Combine water and remaining ingredients in 2- to 3-quart baking dish. Cover and bake at 350o F 45 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is tender
MICROWAVE: Combine all ingredients in deep 2- to 3-quart microwavable baking dish. Cover and cook on HIGH 5 minutes or until boiling. Reduce setting to MEDIUM (50% power) and cook 30 minutes, or until tender.
RICE COOKER: Using a rice cooker is very convenient. For best results, prepare rice according to the directions included with your cooker.
Quick cooking brown rice (which has been partially cooked, then dehydrated) is also available and cooks in about 15 minutes, and instant brown rice can be cooked in as little time as 90 seconds.