Rice is the most widely consumed staple food. It has been reported that there are 40000 varieties of rice and out of which the maximum number are in India. Mainly categorised as Basmati Rice (It is long grain aromatic rice specifically grown in the North States of India) and Non Basmati Rice (Any rice other than Basmati Rice is named as Non Basmati Rice). India is the largest exporter in the world. In the year 2018 -19 country exported 12,500 thousand metric tons.
Rice consist of hull, bran, white rice and germ.
Hull : The tough outer layer that needs to be removed before it can be consumed. This layer is removed in all rice types.
Bran : Under the hull, there’s bran layer which is not removed in all rice types. It is usually tan coloured, it can also be reddish or black. This layer can be consumed, but for polishing process it is often removed.
White Rice : This is the part of the rice that is most commonly consumed. Once bran is removed, white rice remains.
Germ : It is nutrient dense rice kernel. Contains vitamin B, minerals and proteins.
Indian Rice Varieties
Rice is categorised according to – length and shape, texture, aroma and colour.
Length and Shape :
Considering the length and shape rice is often characterised as long grain, medium grain and short grain.
Long Grain :
This rice grain is separate, light and fluffy when cooked because of the starch composition. Long grain rice is milled grains that are at lease three to four times.
Medium Grain :
It is a shorter and wider kernel as compare to long grain. After cooking, grain are more moist and tender than long grain rice. Medium grain rice has a greater tendency to stick together.
Short Grain :
This kind of rice is also sticky as medium grain rice. The grain is wider and shorter than medium grain rice.
Aroma is an important factor when cooking rice. There are certain rice varieties give off pleasing fragrances.
Basmati Rice :
It is a long grain rice that is popular among Indian Cuisine. Cooked basmati rice imparts a subtle nutty or popcorn like flavour and aroma. Therefore, Basmati Rice is the most famous among all kinds of rice and is being exported all over the World.
Jasmine Rice :
Thai fragrant rice is known as jasmine rice. It is also long grain rice with slightly sticky texture when cooked.
The starch content varies from type to type. It affect the texture – making rice sticky or fluffy and light.
Sticky Rice :
When cooked, sticky rice is especially sticky. It often ground into rice flour.
Parboiled Rice :
This rice goes through a steam pressure process before milling. This process gelatinises the starch in the grain. Parboiling rice produces a more separate grain that is light and fluffy.
Converted Rice :
It is a type of parboiled rice that has been further pre-cooked.
Rice is naturally brown after harvesting. When outer nutrient rich bran is removed it becomes white in colour. Red rice and black rice are coloured because of the unique pigmentation in the bran.
Polished White Rice :
Because of the removal of outer brown bran and germ the rice grain is white. That’s why it is also known as polished rice.
Brown Rice :
The rice grain with outer bran and germ layer, and brown in colour is refer as brown rice.
Black Rice :
High in nutritional value, this rice is also known as black rice. It is slightly sticky when cooked and mild nutty in flavour.
Red Rice :
Much like brown rice and black rice, red rice is also nutrition rich. Due to presence of anthocyanin, Indian red rice is consumed either partially hulled or unhulled.
Wild Rice :
It is harvested from the Zizania of grasses. Wild rice are high in protein. It is colourful, exotic flair to any rice dish.
Rice Harvesting Season in India
In India rice is grown under widely varying conditions of altitude and climate. Therefore, the rice growing seasons vary in different parts of the country, depending upon temperature, rainfall, soil types, water availability and other climatic conditions.
There are three seasons for growing rice in India viz.- autumn, winter and summer. These three seasons are named according to the season of harvest of the crop.
The main Indian rice growing season in the country is the ‘Kharif’. It is known as winter rice as per the harvesting time. The sowing time of winter (kharif) rice is June-July and it is harvested in November-December.
Autumn rice is known as pre-kharif rice. The sowing of pre-kharif rice is taken up during May to August. It is harvested in September-October.
Summer rice is known as Rabi rice. The sowing time of summer rice is November to February and harvesting time is March to June.