Florida Food Fareby Jean MeadowsExtension Agent IVCooperative Extension Service for Sarasota CountyRiceDescription: This ancient and venerable grain has been cultivated since at least 5000 B.C. andis a staple for almost half of the world's population. There are over 7,000 varieties of rice grownin one of two ways: aquatically - as cultivated in flooded fields, or hill-grown as in many of thetropics and subtropic areas. There are short-, medium- and long-grain varieties available, also inwhite, brown, organic and aromatic varieties of rice.Although Florida is not a leading state in rice production, rice plants flourish in the warm, moistclimate of south Florida. It is particularly grown in the everglades in rotation with sugarcane. Ricegrowing naturally restores the soil, removes unwanted pests and provides an excellent habitatfor many species of native wildlife.Availability: Florida rice is harvested in the summer months, milled and then marketed. Itshould be available in the markets year round, although possibly only in some of the specialtymarkets.Selection: Long-grain rice is 4-5 times that of its width. When cooked it produces light, drygrains that separate easily. One of the more exotic varieties in the long-grain category is theperfumy East Indian Basmati Rice. Short-grain rice has fat, almost round grains that have ahigher starch content than either the long- or medium-grain varieties. When cooked it tends to bequite moist and viscous, causing the grains to stick together. This variety is preferred in theOrient because it's easy to handle with chopsticks. Italian Arborio rice (used to make creamyrisottos) and the Japanese Mochi are also varieties of short-grain rice. Medium-grain rice has asize and character between the other two. It's shorter and moister than long-grain and generallynot as starchy as short-grain. Though fairly fluffy right after being cooked, medium-grain ricebegins to clump once it starts to cool.Rice can be further divided into two other broad categories - brown and white. Brown rice is theentire grain with only the inedible outer husk removed. The nutritious, high-fiber bran coating
gives it a light tan color, nutlike flavor and chewy texture. White rice has had the husk, bran andgerm removed.Wild rice, known for its luxurious nutty flavor and chewy texture, really isn't rice at all. It is a longgrain marsh grass native to the northern Great Lakes area, where it is harvested by the localIndians. There is also commercial wild rice production in California and other of the mid-weststates.Nutritional Value: Rice is a complex carbohydrate that is an excellent source of energy for thebody. Rice protein contains all eight essential amino acids, and has no saturated fat orcholesterol. Brown rice contains slightly more nutrients than white rice, as the followingcomparison shows. One cup of cooked brown long-grain rice contains: 101 calories, 2.3gprotein, 23 carbohydrates, 1.8g dietary fiber, 73g water, 83mg phosphorus, 43mg potassium,1.3mg niacin and 4mcg folate. One cup of cooked white long-grain rice contains: 130 calories,2.7g protein, 28.2g carbohydrates, 0.4g dietary fiber, 68g water, 43mg phosphorus, 35mgpotassium, 1.4mg niacin and 3mcg folate. Brown rice also contains more of the minor elementsthan white rice.Recipes: The following recipes are courtesy of Florida Crystals, which produces rice in theeverglades marketed under the name Sem-Chi (for Seminole Chief). They package rice in avariety of types, including at least 10 different product lines.Spicy Chicken and Brown Rice16 ounces chicken breasts 1/2 teaspoon Caribbean Jerk seasoning3 cups water 1 cup brown organic rice1/2 cup chopped onions 1 cup lentils4 teaspoons chicken bouillon 1/4 cup red bell peppers, medium dice1 tablespoon garlic, minced 1/4 cup zucchini, medium dice1/2 teaspoon cayenne 1/4 cup carrots, medium dice1/4 teaspoon cumin 4 ounces mushroom stems and piecesIn a 2-quart saucepan, place raw chicken with water and bring to boil, cook 5 minutes or untilcooked, cool and reserve until needed. In 3-quart saucepan, combine 3 cups water, onions,bouillon, garlic, cayenne, cumn and Jerk seasoning; bring to boil over medium heat. Stir in rice;cover and simmer over low heat, 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lentils, cubedchicken and remaining ingredients. Place into 3-quart casserole dish; cover. Bake in 325degrees F. oven about 60 minutes or until rice and vegetables are tender. Serve hot. Serves 6.Red Beans and Rice SaladMustard Vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients. mix well. Makes 1/2 cup.1/3 cup white wine vinegar 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil 1/3 teaspoon garlic salt2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 1/8 teaspoon black pepperSalad:1 16-ounce can rinsed, drained red beans 1/2 cup chopped celery1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice 3 tablespoons chopped basilI cup diced, peeled, seeded cucumbers2 tablespoons green onionsI cup diced, seeded tomatoes1-2 sprigs fresh thyme, for garnish1/2 cup chopped green bell peppersCombine beans, rice and 1/4 cup Mustard Vinaigrette; mix well and let stand at least I hour atroom temperature. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Spoon into serving bowl; garnish withthyme. Serve chilled. Serves 6.Caribbean Jasmine RiceI tablespoon olive oil1/2 teaspoon cumin, groundI tablespoon garlic, mincedI tablespoon fresh ginger, grated1/4 cup onions, minced 1 teaspoon jalapenos, minced2 tablespoons green bell pepper, 1/4 teaspoon white peppersmall dice1/4 teaspoon salt1 cup Jasmine rice 2 cups chicken broth or water1 teaspoon annatto seeds 1 cup black beans, cannedIn a large saucepan over medium high heat, add olive oil and heat, then add garlic, onion andgreen pepper. Cook until soft, add rice, spices, jalapeno and broth. Bring to a simmer, cover andcook for 15 minutes, then add black beans. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until all liquid isabsorbed. Let stand 5 minutes, adjust seasoning and serve with grilled chicken or fish. Serve 8.