Rice is a grass seed that grows in moist areas. It is the most important crop for human nutrition in the world, rice being the staple food for much of the world, Africa, India, and Asia.
Rice was probably first cultivated in Burma over 7,000 years ago. There are now more than 40,000 varieties of rice and it is grown on every continent except Antarctica. In many cultures, the word for “rice” is synonymous with their word for food or a meal.
Rice is a member of the grass family that grows six feet or more in height. For most species, you want to plant your rice in a damp, poorly drained spot that gets full sun during the warmest months of the year. Look for a spot in full sun where standing water remains for several days after a rain. If there’s no spot like that available to you, build a raised bed with a layer of clay in the bottom. Mix your garden soil with lots of organic matter.
Your rice will need 180 days of warm weather to mature with at least 40 continuous 70 degrees Fahrenheit days with nights no cooler than 60 degrees.
It will take about 1.5 ounces of seed to plant a 100 square foot area. Soak the seeds for 24 hours before planting them. If your growing season is short you can start your seeds indoors and transplant them outside. Seeds need constant temperatures of 75 degrees to sprout. Wait until your seedlings are at least 6 inches tall before transplanting them. Give the bed a good soaking so that it’s good and muddy before tucking your seedlings into it.
Plant your rice in rows and make sure you keep the area weed-free. Keep the soil moist. You do not need to keep it flooded but it should be good and wet. You may wish to put down a thick layer of mulch once your rice gets going to keep the soil moist and discourage weeds.
You can also grow rice in buckets on a sunny enclosed porch.
Harvesting & Storage
In three or four months the rice heads will be tall and full of grains. When they begin to “nod” reduce the amount of water you give your rice so that it can start to ripen. In about two weeks, the heads will start to turn the golden color of ripe grain. Cut these off and put them in the oven at 180 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour and then let them cool. Once they’ve cooled rub the heads to release the grains from the hulls. Separate the grains from the loose bits of hull and you are ready to cook your rice!
Dry rice grains should be stored in a cool, dry place, preferably in glass jars to prevent insect infestation.
Rice can be used in spells for blessing, money, prosperity, fertility, protection, rain, wealth, security and to find treasure.
For money and wealth spells, rice is often dyed green or gold or mixed with gold glitter.
For fertility, red rice may be used.
Rice naturally occurs in a variety of colors that you can work into your spells.
An old superstition claims that certain evil spirits are obsessive counters and a container of grain near the door will cause any that try to enter the house to be distracted so much by counting the individual grains that they will forget to enter. Try keeping a jar of rice near your door to distract evil spirits while bringing blessings of prosperity to your home!
The tradition of throwing rice at newly married couples is meant to impart blessings of fertility, abundance and prosperity and it is the first food a new bride in India will offer her husband.
White rice is very easily digested and gentle on the stomach. It is good for people who are having trouble keeping their food down, especially if it is sweetened and seasoned with a little cinnamon or ginger.
There are many types of rice and cooking times vary with each. Rice should be rinsed before cooking to remove any dust or chemicals from processing and packaging. Then it should be soaked for a half-hour to release the life energy within. Rice is then boiled or steamed to its desired tenderness or stickiness.
Rice is good in soups or as a base for many meals. It is wonderful topped with meat or vegetable-based sauce or mixed with a variety of meats, vegetables or legumes. It also makes a lovely sweet porridge that is used as offerings to nature and agricultural spirits in parts of Asia. Rice pudding is a treat enjoyed all over the world.
Rice can be ground into flour and used to make all manner of baked goods.
Types of Rice
Long Grain Rice- The grains of this rice remain firm and separate when they are cooked. This is the most expensive to grow and process.
Short Grain Rice – This rice is the most popular in the US as it grows better here than the other types. It has a shorter growing season and is inexpensive to process.
Short Grain Rice- This rice sticks together when cooked and is used for sushi and rice balls. It is very popular in Japan, Korea and Taiwan.
Rice straw can be twisted into rope or used for weaving mats.
Rice hulls can be used to make paper.