Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My love/hate with Rice

Rice is a staple for a lot of cultures and diets. It's got some good stuff in it. I don't know what stuff it is, but it's good. While my grocery list has been evolving into a staples and supply list, I've changed from buying the white 5 minute boil a bag rice to brown loose rice. From my understanding, white rice is a poor substitute for its more colorful and varied bretheren; wild and brown rice. Plus those two hot shots of the grain world have a more varied and unique taste experience which I actually prefer.

Using the insanely simple ratio of 1:2 - that being one part rice to two parts water- I went about cooking my visually stimulating rice mixture that I concocted out of several different types of rice. I learned right away that I suck at cooking regular rice. The first time I burned the rice to the bottom of the pan and we had pizza instead. The rice side I made for last month's tilapia was not unlike oatmeal. At all. The egg fried rice I made last week was crunchy. Yeah, good stuff.

Last night I made rice stuffed peppers. Dinner is usually whatever time the kids look like they're about to gnaw off a limb between five or six. So, since starting the rice at four didn't work last time, yesterday's rice got cooked at two. An hour later I think I have some nice rice this time.

Now you may be thinking "Yeah, but isn't those fancy rices more money?" The answer is yes...and no. If you buy the prepackaged rices you will probably end up paying quite a tidy bit more. I found my rice in the bulk bins at Whole Foods. One pound of rice will last a good long while, remember it expands as it cooks. Also, if you mix the less expensive brown rices with the more flavorful fancy ones you get a good average price that isn't too far off the white rice prices. Remember, that additional packaging of the convinience rices costs money.

But for you economists out there lets take a look, if you were to buy your rice off Amazon for instance:

UB's Boil bag rice = 7.9 ounces x12 = roughly 90 ounces of rice or 5.6lbs. $34.78*/5.6 = $6.21 per lb
*price dosen't include shipping.

Lundberg fancy rice =16 ounces x6=96 ounces of rice or 6lbs. 15.91*/6=$2.65 per lb
*price includes free shipping

That's just a quick estimate. But you get the point. Eating healthier, harder to cook rice won't break the bank. Plus, I feel better about what my family is eating, the rice will last longer sealed in air tight jars than holey bags in a cardboard box and you can proportion how much you make, more or less. It's harder to throw in a handful of rice into a homemade chicken soup simmering on the stove if you have to crack open a specialy designed bag.

While I might not ever get down to Martha perfection on my rice making capabilities, I'm working my rice one meal at a time.

Vegetarian stuffed pepper halves


Conny said...

You may already know this, but I'll add here: I learned in a nutrition class that brown rice can be stored in the freezer for up to one year. Since brown rice has a higher oil content, it can go rancid if kept at room temperature for long periods. I take brown rice directly out of the freezer and can cook it right away - it doesn't need to be thawed. 'thought I'd share.

Crystal said...

Good Tip! I didn't know it didn't need thawing!

I store mine in a glass jar with O2 absorbers. Supposed to last about 6 months, double the normal shelf life.