This is Krithiga Prabakaran from Organic Positive.
Hope you all had a great week.
In continuation of my previous post about my rebirth & my mission, I would like to introduce you to our Native / Traditional / Indigenous Rice Varieties in today’s blog.
When questioned about the rice varieties, a large sector of the population would mention about the various ” Brand Names under which they are marketed or Process Names by which they are referred to before selling to the end customer “, instead of the name which is associated with the Rice. Each of us have a name and we are unique in our own way, so are our Rice Varieties . Let us get to know them better.
I am sure most of you are surprised to know that every variant of rice is denoted by a name!
Raw and Parboiled Rice are the names derived out of the processes that the rice produce undergoes.
Of course, there are many brand names one may have come across.
We cannot eat Rice soon after it is harvested. The harvested Paddy is stored by the Farmers.
The older the Paddy is, the better it is for cooking and consumption.
Unlike Farm Fresh or Garden-Fresh Greens, Fruits and Vegetables, we do not have a Rice like that. Paddy once harvested must be stored for a certain period of time.
When the husk is removed directly from paddy, it is Raw Rice whereas when it is boiled, dried and removed, it becomes Parboiled Rice.
The Parboiling of the Paddy is done to prevent the rice from breakage and to give it a durable shape. Until a few centuries ago, this concept did not exist.
As days passed by, we became accustomed to buy and consume white rice which looks great in shape and texture.
Truth be told, all that looks fancy is not always healthy when it comes to the food industry, more specifically to our staple food, Rice.
There was once an era where the food that our ancestors ate was considered medicine. In Tamil it was referred to as “உணவே மருந்து“.
At that point in time, we had more than 1,50,000 variants of Rice.
Yes, that is for a fact, TRUE.
Now, alas we are left with about a little over One Hundred Rice Varieties.
These rice varieties that were existing were native to our land, which is why we are referring to it as ” Indigenous”.
Apart from those of us, who are already aware of the Native variants and consume them to reap the health benefits out of them, the rest of the population is not consuming the native rice varieties.
The fancy term ” Hybrid “, is something most of us are aware of. What most of the population is exposed to, and is consuming, is only the Hybrid Variants.
Our Native Rice varieties grow for longer periods compared to the Hybrid Variants.
Neither can they give more produce, nor can they be cultivated at a shorter span, which led to the Native Rice varieties being slowly replaced by the Hybrid ones.
Native Rice varieties require a minimum of 100 days to a maximum of 6 months ( 180 days ) plus before than can be harvested. On the other hand , Hybrid Variants did not require much time, they could grow within a short span of 30-45 days and with the help of high yielding seeds, inception of chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides their yield granted much benefit from a production standpoint. Our Native Rice varieties did not require any of these artificial enhancers for their yield. Our Farmers who produce Native Rice resort to Organic Farming and use natural ways to enhance the growth of the crops and to combat pests that are harmful for their growth.
Unfortunately, to save time and efforts involved, we opted for the Hybrid Variants.
Our Native Rice varieties are a boon to our Farmers and our eco system.
They wanted us to wait for them to grow. Their water needs are very less compared to the Hybrid Variants. They help our soil retain and enhance its fertility. Most of all they would have made us much healthier and prevented most of the diseases we have today.
The glycemic index of many of the Native Rice varieties are much lesser compared to the Hybrid Polished Rice.
The thought process that eating rice is the reason for many lifestyle diseases or that once you are affected by one or a many of such non communicable diseases , cutting down the carbohydrates , cutting down Rice is not correct for our Native Rice varieties.
This is because of the Hybrid Variants which came halfway to us and deteriorated our health.
*Our Native Rice is a panacea for all our health issues.*
Why should we cut down our rice varieties, why cannot we switch to our native rice consumption and give the joy to our tastebuds to explore a variety of tastes associated with our Native Rice.
Mother Nature has abundantly blessed our Native Rice varieties with lovely hues of Red, Brown, and Black with immense benefits in each of them.
Every type of land, every soil and climatic condition is capable to grow a few variants of each of Our Native Rice varieties.
Some rice varieties are even grown on lakes and our farmers used boats to harvest them.
If we *Nurture the Nature*, it is we, who are going to benefit.
It is time we get back to our roots or at least explore it and if it is a good choice, why not make the right decisions for our children, elders, and us.
I hope this was a good read for you. This may have paved way for you to think about and explore Native Rice varieties.
Please leave your questions for me and I am more than happy for answering to your queries.
Please do not forget to read my previous posts here:
This is only a beginning, and we can explore more together.
Until I meet you through my blog post, next week, this is me, Krithiga Prabakaran, signing off and wishing you have a great and healthy week ahead!