Which is better - white or brown rice? Image courtesy of istock
You've probably never given much thought to the colour of the rice you eat, and while there are two very different schools of thought regarding which is better, it’s not just colour that makes the difference - replacing typical white rice with brown rice in your diet can give you a big nutritional boost.
White rice has been stripped to the grain, where brown rice has only had the hull removed. The bran layer that covers the grain (which is what actually provides the most nutrients) stays intact. It’s also this layer that provides more protein, calcium, vitamin E, potassium and niacin than white rice.
The white rice we all love can be great for foods where it provides texture more than flavour to a dish.
If you haven’t tried it, brown rice, with its pale tan colour tastes nutty and has a slightly crunchier texture over white rice because of the bran layer.
So if you’re ready to try it, there are a few other differences to consider for cooking and storing. Follow these guidelines:
Storage Brown rice can’t be stored as long as white rice can, the bran layer will start to deteriorate, especially if you live in a higher humidity area or in a warmer climate.
Brown rice often goes rancid after six to eight months because of its natural oil. When stored in the refrigerator, it can last a little longer, that is eight to twelve months. White rice however, can last decades if sealed properly.
Image courtesy of istock
If you're storing cooked rice, brown rice shouldn't be kept longer than 3-4 days in the fridge. Cooked white rice can be stored in the refrigerator for 5-6 days.
Cooking Brown rice takes longer to cook than white. The bran layer adds both fiber and oil, which increases the needed cooking time, but remember when it’s finished, brown rice will have a firmer texture. The inside grain will be soft and tender when cooked, while the outside bran layer, which explodes during cooking, will cling to the grain and provide a slightly crunchy texture.
Adding enough liquid when cooking makes a difference. Because of the extra layer and the extra coking time required, you’ll need more water to cook. Follow the package directions closely!
A quick cheat sheet, courtesy of SpeedyRemedies, on the benefits of both white and brown rice.
While white rice certainly isn't the bad guy; despite what is said about the wholesome goodness of brown rice, you may still find times when white rice is your preference.
White rice is, after all, versatile in that it easily accommodates the flavors of other ingredients in a recipe, whereas brown rice has a distinctive flavour that may overpower rather than blend in with other ingredients.
If you are otherwise healthy, feel free to eat modest portions of white rice occasionally. If you have days where you suffer bloating or indigestion, you may find that you can digest white rice more easily than brown rice, because of the latter's fiber-rich density.
Whichever you chose, make sure it’s part of a healthy and well balanced diet with plenty of exercise.