Friday, February 12, 2010

Brown Rice...Switching Over

Beans and rice are the classic foods for eating cheap, so we eat them a lot!

One of the best ways to eat healthier is to take things you're already eating...foods you love...and find a way to make them healthier.  Every little small change helps!  When we were first married and cooked with rice, all we ever used was white rice.  It never even occurred to me to use anything else.  As we learned more about nutrition it seemed like a no brainer to switch to brown rice.  It's one of those substitutions that's pretty easy.
 At first brown rice was a little hard to get used to, but we've discovered some simple secrets.
Not all brown rice is created equal!  When we first converted to brown rice we were buying long grain brown rice which has a drier, more granulated consistency that was hard to get used to.  This is also the kind that is most cheaply available in the supermarket.  Our favorite less expensive option is the brown rice from Costco that is either short or medium grain.  Unfortunately we're out of it, so I couldn't take a picture for you.  What we do currently have is the regular long grain brown rice from the store.  I combined two packages that were two different brands into my rice container and as you can easily see not even all "long grain brown rice" is the same.  So try out different varieties and see what your family likes the best.  
Do it gradually!  If you (or more like your family) are having a hard time making the conversion do it gradually.  If you're making 4 cups of rice, start with 1 cup of brown rice and 3 of white rice and gradually increase the amount of brown rice in relation to white rice.  When we use the rice from Costco, we don't usually add any white rice.  When we use long grain brown rice, we usually add a cup of white rice to make it just a little stickier. 

We've found that now that we're used to brown rice, the white rice seems kind of flavorless and bland.  We've got some white rice in our food storage that is up for rotation and it's almost a chore to work our way through it.

(And speaking of food storage...if you use the LDS Home Storage Centers for food storage...they don't offer brown rice.  If you want to store brown rice, though, you can buy it yourself in bulk and they will let you borrow a canning machine to put the rice into the #10 cans yourself at home.)

And finally, my cooking to use a rice cooker.  Sadly, it's the only way I even know how to do it.  If you don't have a rice cooker, though, it's still pretty easy to do on the stove.


Dorothy said...

We LOVE it and can hardly handle plain bland white rice anymore. It takes a little longer to cook, however, so plan ahead!

Kathy Haynie said...

Polly, how do you adjust for cooking time when you blend the brown and white rice? I like that idea for rotating some of the white rice I have in storage.

I agree with you and Dorothy--I like the flavor of brown rice better, but I didn't know there was so much variation in the grains! Thanks for a very informative post.

Polly said...

Mom...I don't really know. I just mix them together and put them in the rice cooker and they come out cooked. I know Hubby's mom has a harder time cooking brown rice in her rice cooker though. (Our rice cooker is just a cheap model with only one button...cook.) If you're cooking on the stove and are worried, you could try adding a little extra water and starting the brown rice a few minutes before the white rice.

Katie said...

These are some great things to know. Thanks for the intro to brown rice Polly!

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