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A Look at Brown Rice, Red Rice, Black Rice and Wild Rice

Updated on August 21, 2016
Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green has an interest in whole, natural foods and shares her insights with others.

Photo: Brown Rice Varieties
Photo: Brown Rice Varieties | Source

Fluffy, Sticky, Aromatic or Wild?

From short, medium and long grain rice to aromatic rice varieties, from sticky to fluffy rice, to the colorful and flavorful wild rice, there's a nutritious whole grain rice to suit every taste.

In a previous Hub, Why Eat Brown Rice? I discussed the superior nutrition brown rice offers and in my next Hub, I detailed How to Cook and Serve Brown Rice.

This Hub discusses the different types of brown, red, black and wild rice. Rice comes in a wonderful line-up of sizes, shapes and colors. It is an ancient grain, which has served as an important food source for humans for centuries. Rice truly is a power food and should be incorporated into the diet.

Rice that hasn't been stripped of its goodness is rich in carbs--a main source of energy--it contains B vitamins and, of course, because it is a plant-based food, it is cholesterol free and contains very little fat. Rice is also gluten free, so it is a suitable food for those suffering with celiac.

It is a low-acid food and is easily digested and therefore is a good choice for young children, the elderly, and everyone else.

Whole Grain Rice--Did You Know?

Nutritious whole grain brown rice retains the bran layer, germ and the endosperm. The bran layers which are rich in minerals and vitamins.

A common perception is that this humble grain is a bland food. Rice, for the most part, is like pasta and potatoes is a food that goes well with other ingredients. If all foods were strongly flavored, we wouldn't be able to combine them as effectively as we do now. It's this ratio of bland + flavorful that makes for great-tasting meals. A bland food often serves as a base for a topping or it can be used to extend the amount of food or to add a soft texture. When combined effectively, you end with a dish where the flavors do not compete, rather compliment the whole.

However, some rice varieties also offer a rich flavor. Especially is this true with unmodified rice that's as close as possible to its natural state. When it hasn't been stripped of the components that contribute to both flavor and nutritional potential, some types of rice are quite tasty, in fact. Some of the rice varieties we'll be discussing in this Hub actually offer a flowery, nutty, or smoky flavor. As I mentioned, the perception that rice is a bland food has no doubt arisen because its counterpart, white rice, has been stripped and tends to taste like a piece of cardboard. Ugh!

Short Grain Brown Rice

Photo: Short Grain Brown Rice
Photo: Short Grain Brown Rice | Source

Short Grain

First up is short grain brown rice. This rice is a good choice if you want to make a dish and have your rice stick together, such for rice balls or patties. Whole grain brown rice is a nutritious food and has had only the husk removed.

Long Grain Brown Rice

Photo: Long Grain Brown Rice
Photo: Long Grain Brown Rice | Source

Long Grain

Long grain brown rice has a different shape from its shorter cousin and makes a good grain for stir fry, pilaf or for stuffing. These longer rice grains do not stick together so they are a better choice for the type of dishes when you want the grains to remain separated.

Sweet Brown Rice

Image: Sweet Brown Rice
Image: Sweet Brown Rice | Source

Sweet Rice

Who would have thought that rice could actually have a sweet flavor? An interesting rice variety is sweet brown rice. This rice can be used for desserts such as rice pudding and is a good choice for sushi because of its stickiness.

Jasmine Rice

Photo: Jasmine Rice
Photo: Jasmine Rice | Source

Aromatic Jasmine Rice

Jasmine rice has long been a favorite. This rice is primarily grown in Thailand; although it is cultivated in other areas, as well. It offers an exotic flowery flavor and even has a scent that you can enjoy, while cooking it! If you are looking to add variety to the menu, jasmine rice is a great choice.

Basmati Rice

Photo: Basmati Rice
Photo: Basmati Rice | Source

Aromatic Basmati

Basmati is a full-flavored rice that originates in India. It is another rice variety, which has a distinctive scent as it cooks up. Basmati is considered one of the most flavorful of the rice varieties. Fans of this type of rice agree.

Red Rice

Photo: Red Rice
Photo: Red Rice | Source

Aromatic Red Rice

With its lovely russet color, red rice offers a slash of color. Coming to us from Asia and France, this aromatic rice has a nutty flavor. A nice rice to serve as a side dish to accompany lightly steamed vegetables. What a colorful way to add nutrition and interest to meals.

Red Matta Rice

Photo: Red Matta Rice
Photo: Red Matta Rice | Source

Red Matta Rice

Red Matta rice is an Indian rice that has a vibrant burgundy color and offers a nutty quality. What a lovely color to bring to the table.

Black Japonica Rice

Photo: Black Japonica Rice
Photo: Black Japonica Rice | Source

Japonica Rice

If you are a fan of mushroom-flavored dishes, this rice is a perfect go-along. While it is considered a black rice, it also shows mahogany hues.

Chinese Black Rice

Photo: Chinese Black Rice
Photo: Chinese Black Rice | Source

Chinese Black Rice

Who would have thought rice could offer so much in terms of shape, flavor and color! Chinese black rice is interesting because it offers a full-bodied flavor and actually becomes a purple color as it cooks. Kids will enjoy watching this. This is a good way to demonstrate that food can be fascinating. With its sweet flavor, black rice can be used in desserts and it makes an interesting-looking ingredient in salad.

Long Grain Black Rice

Photo: Long Grain Black Rice
Photo: Long Grain Black Rice | Source

Long Grain Black Rice

Black rice, like its brown counterpart, also comes in short and long grain varieties. Also considered a wild rice, this longer grain offers a nutty flavor.

Wild Rice Blend

Photo: Wild Rice Blend
Photo: Wild Rice Blend | Source

Fast Facts About Wild Rice

Wild rice is the seed from a water-grass plant and grows in shallow lake waters in Canada and Minnesota. It was a staple food of the Sioux and Chippawa.

Wild Rice Blends

Wild rice blends offer a mixture containing both short and long grain rice, in different colors. These blends make a wonderful addition to meals and offer much from a nutritional standpoint, with their bran layer intact and containing many compounds that support human health.

Cooked Wild Rice

Photo: Cooked Wild Rice
Photo: Cooked Wild Rice | Source

What's Your Favorite Type of Rice?

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Rice in All its Many Sizes, Shapes and Colors

I hope you've enjoyed this exploration of just some of the many rice varieties available. Learning about plant-based foods can help consumers to adopt a nutrition-conscious mindset and can be a motivator in relation to incorporating healthful foods into the daily diet. Our nearest medicine is, in most cases, as near as the garden or the whole foods market. Eating well can be a safeguard against disease development.

Our bodies are assaulted daily by chemicals and we are surrounded with readily available, poor quality foods but we can become guardians of our health by becoming informed and opting to change the way we eat.

© 2012 Athlyn Green


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    • Athlyn Green profile image

      Athlyn Green 5 years ago from West Kootenays

      Hi Robie,

      Thanks for stopping by! Yes, rice is fascinating in it many different varieties.

    • robie2 profile image

      Roberta Kyle 5 years ago from Central New Jersey

      Wonderful interesting rice info--amazing how many different varieties there are that I had not heard of. Think I need to try a few more-- jasmine rice sounds wonderful and I am a big basamati rice fan. Thanks for a good read