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Food by Letter - R is for Rice

Food by Letter – R is for Rice

September is national rice month but we’re brushing up on our knowledge of this pantry staple early!  In fact, rice has fed more people over a longer period of time than any other crop. As far back as 2500 B.C., rice has been documented in the history books as a source of food. Beginning in China and the surrounding areas, its cultivation spread throughout Sri Lanka and India. Being able to grow in this wide spectrum of climates is the reason rice is one of the most widely eaten foods in the world.

Here are some of our favorite rice facts!

  • 50% of all the world’s rice is eaten within 8 miles of where it is grown.
  • Arkansas produces nearly 9 billion pounds of rice annually, on 1,785,000 acres.
  • More than 2.9 million acres of land are devoted to growing rice in the U.S.
  • Rice is the first food a new bride in India offers to her husband, and the first food offered to newborn babies.
  • It is estimated it takes 2,000 to 5,000 tons of water to produce a ton of rice.
  • One seed of rice yields more than 3,000 grains.

This is it: the foolproof recipe for making perfect rice on the stove from Katie Workman of Mom 100. If cooking rice makes you nervous, know you are not alone. Even really accomplished cooks get intimidated by plain old rice! Stick to our guide for guaranteed success.

The basic water to white rice ratio is 2 cups water to 1 cup rice. You can easily double and even triple the recipe: just make sure you are using a pot large enough to hold the rice as it cooks and expands. Other rice varieties, like brown and Arborio, can be a little different in terms of proportions and timing, but this 2 to 1 ratio is how you’ll get perfect white rice every time.

Ingredients

2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp butter or oil, optional
1 cup long-grain white rice

Instructions

  1. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the salt and butter and allow the butter to melt.
  2. When the water has returned to a boil, stir in the rice. Let the water return to a light simmer. Stir again, cover the pot and turn the heat down to low. Keep the rice simmering slightly, and keep the pot covered (you may have to peek after a few minutes to make sure the heat is at the correct temperature, but then let it cook, covered). Start checking to see if the rice is tender and all of the liquid is absorbed at about 17 minutes. It may take up to 25, especially if you are making a larger quantity of rice.
  3. When the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and let it sit for another couple of minutes to finish absorbing any liquid. Take off the lid, fluff the rice with a fork and let it sit for another 2-3 minutes so some of the excess moisture in the rice dries off.

The best news about rice? There are so many amazing ways to use it in leftovers! Stir Fry, stuffed peppers, and soup are some of our favorites.

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