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13 Interesting Facts About Rice

Rice is an interesting dish that many people around the world adore. According to credible documents, rice has been in existence since 2500BC. Over the years, rice has significantly reduced overreliance on wheat and maize. It’s now widely grown and consumed around the world. In fact, rice is a staple crop in many countries, more so in lower and lower-middle-income countries.  

Rice has gained popularity globally thanks to the hundreds of recipes available across different cultures. Furthermore, it's affordable in most countries and thus has a higher consumption rate. It is one of those crops that you are assured of finding in every country around the world. Due to its diversity, there are some interesting facts about rice that are worth knowing.  

Interesting Facts About Rice 

1. There Are Very Many Varieties 

Rice has been cultivated for over 10,500 years. Over the years, it has evolved to produce more varieties. Also, the industrial revolution led to researchers mechanizing paddy farming and crossbreeding varieties to create hybrid ones. Currently, there are an estimated 40,000 cultivated rice varieties worldwide.  

You should, however, not confuse white rice with brown rice. The former is obtained by removing the bran and cereal coating. The number could be higher due to the wild varieties, which are believed to be distant relatives of the cultivated varieties. Most of the domesticated rice varieties belong to the Oryza sativa family, while the wild types are from the Zizania genus.  

2. It Is Very Adaptable 

Rice is very adaptable, which explains why it’s grown in all continents bar Antarctica. If you have a suitable variety, it will grow effortlessly. It’s beyond doubt that the types grown in Africa are different from those produced in Asia and America. Nonetheless, some varieties have undergone rigorous research and can grow in new regions with other climatic conditions.   

3. Rice Has A Very Long Shelf Life 

Like many kinds of cereal, rice can stay for more than a decade while suitable for consumption. The last packet of rice you purchased was probably grown in 2009. White rice remains fresh and edible for 10 – 30 years without specialized storage. Notably, proper storage is key to its longevity. If not stored correctly, it can poison you. 

Even so, uncooked brown rice is likely to go bad in less than half a year. It is because the outer bran coating oxidizes once exposed to air. Cooked rice also spoils fast. It’s therefore advisable to always cook the right amount whether you use a rice cooker or a saucepan to cook your rice. If you have left-overs try this great recipe.

4. Rice Played A Part During The Construction Of The Great Wall Of China 

You probably have cooked rice, and it got stuck on the bottom of the pot. It’s indeed tough to remove the caked-on rice. That toughness inspired the Ming dynasty when building the great wall of China in the 15th and 16th centuries. The workers used a mixture of rice porridge and calcium carbonate as mortar to bind the stones used together. That hack was one of the greatest for the Ming dynasty. It should have been added to the wonders of the world.  

5. Rice Yields Massively 

After sugarcane and corn, rice has the highest production in the world. It is because it is easy to grow, yields massively, and is produced almost everywhere on earth. A single seed of rice can yield over 3000 grains. Not many crops can match this ratio.  

Rice can feed a large population seamlessly. Rice production is commensurate to consumption. Therefore, it is not a wonder that the most populous countries in the world – China and India – are the largest producers of rice. Both countries produced a joint 265.6 million tons of milled rice in 2019/2020. That is way greater than the other top 10 producers.  The voluminous yields serve them well to achieve food security.  

6. A Lot Of Water Is Needed To Grow Rice 

According to Down To Earth, for every kg of rice produced, 4000 – 5000 liters of water are needed. Most farmers flood the rice field with water during the growing seasons to supply this amount of water. By flooding the paddies, farmers also suppress the weeds. Interestingly, farmers prefer flooding their fields because of weed suppression.  

Rice should, however, not be confused with aquatic plants because it is not. Its magic is the capability to withstand submergence. Rice can perform excellently in non-flooded fields, as seen in the System of Rice Intensification (Sri) in Madagascar. 

7. There Are Two Motor Vehicle Brands Named After Rice 

Irrespective of your country, you would not stand along a highway for more than 30 minutes without seeing a Toyota or Honda car. These two car brand names were inspired by rice.  Toyota was formerly known as Toyoda. “Toyo” means abundant, while “da” means rice field. Similarly, “Honda” translates to an original rice field. Apart from the two-car brands, Japanese rice is renowned around the world. 


8. Rice Is Very Nutritious 

In case you want to improve your diet, you should consider adding rice to it. Naturally, rice is gluten-free. Also, it has antioxidants (phytic acid), fiber, and vitamins (B1). Rice provides instant energy, steadies blood sugar levels, and minimizes the rate of aging.  Rice can be served as breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  

9. White Rice Is Refined Brown Rice 

Many people think that white rice and brown rice are different varieties. Brown rice undergoes a refinement process to produce white rice. During the refinement process, the bran and the cereal coating are removed.  

Remarkably, brown rice is healthier than white rice. The bran and the cereal coating are very rich in fiber and protein. Also, brown rice reduces the chances of diabetes by 16%, unlike white rice, which increases the chances of getting diabetes by 10%.  

10. Rice Grows Once Every Year 

Rice is an annual crop. It’s thus harvested only once a year. During the growing season, a lot of water is required. The flooded water is released from the fields during the harvest season. In many countries, it’s planted during the rainy season and harvested during the dry season. Also, flood irrigation of rice coincides with the rainy season when the rivers have massive water.  

11. Rice Is Used To Conquer Famine 

Famine is mainly caused by political instability, indigence, drought, and high food costs. In times of famine, you will see United Nations sending consignments of rice and corn to the affected countries such as Somalia and Chad. Besides the long shelf life, the instant energy provided by rice is perhaps the other reason it’s distributed to famine-struck countries.  

12. Banaue Rice Terraces Are Recorded As The Eighth Wonder Of The World 

The Philippines is among the top consumers of rice. Two thousand years ago, the indigenous people hand-carved rice terraces in the Ifugao mountains to produce rice for consumption.  

13. Rice Is Considered A Symbol Of Life And Fertility 

Although cultures differ, throwing rice at newly wedded couples is regarded as a symbol of good luck, abundance, and fertility. Among the many things’ little girls desire is to have this tradition in their wedding.  

Interesting Facts About Rice: Summing Up

As you come across different cultures, you will find more interesting facts about rice. This list only contains 13 facts that are common across the world. Next time you see rice in the mall or enjoy a rice dish, remember these exciting facts about rice.  

Cate Nderi