Rice milk is obtained through the fermentation in several steps, starting from fresh rice grains, crushed and baked thereafter.
History of rice
Researchers estimate that rice cultivation in China, India and other tropical countries of Asia must have started there over 10 000 years ago, and probably even before. Recent data obtained by radiocarbon dating indicates that the cultivation of millet in the north of China and that of rice in the south were contemporaneous with those of barley, emmer and einkorn in the Middle East. This would indicate that the western and eastern civilizations have evolved in much the same way and at the same pace.
It’s probably in Southeast Asia that rice has been domesticated. It was in China that agricultural techniques were developed to irrigate rice, which will then be adopted in all countries that produce this cereal.Rice is cultivated in the Philippines, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, India and Sri Lanka.
Europe and America
Brought to Europe via Greece with the troops who accompanied Alexander the Great on his expedition to India around 340 BC, rice subsequently spread across southern Europe as well as in some North African regions. However, until the end of the Renaissance, rice production was marginal in Europe. Medical authorities have decreed that the wet and marshy lands were highly favorable to malaria areas. This disease also takes its name from “bad air” because it was believed attributable to unhealthy fumes from marshy places.
Rice then followed the normal channels: Brazil with the Portuguese, South and Central America with the Spaniards. In the US, it has grown for the first time around 1685 in what is now South Carolina. It was introduced by slaves brought from Madagascar. It then established in Louisiana and California in the twentieth century. It is produced today in 112 countries in almost all latitudes and altitudes. The fact remains that 95% of world production is grown in Asia, where rice is also predominantly consumed, and represents for many the first staple, representing sometimes up to 60% of the diet.
Source of energy and protein
As it provides twice the energy and protein per hectare than wheat or corn, rice can feed a proportionately higher number of people. Some see it as one of the reasons for the rapid growth of the Asian population compared to that of Europe and the Americas populations.
Today we cultivate two rice species, Oryza sativa, or Asian rice, Oryza glaberrima and or African rice, but the Asian species is the only one to be cultivated on a large scale in countries with favorable weather. Even in Africa, the indigenous rice is grown only marginally in the west of the continent, where conditions are not favorable to the establishment of irrigated crops.
Rice milk properties
Rice milk is ideal for times when our body does not tolerate almost anything (eg gastroenteritis, indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea, and postoperative). Digestibility is 100%. It has a cooling effect on the body and at the same time provides energy thanks to its high carbohydrate content. Rice milks are an alternative to cow’s milk to elaborate desserts, sides, pancakes…
Nutritional information of rice milk
The majority of the rice milks market contains 1% of safflower oil that gives this drink a greater coherence and it also brings oleic acid and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Rice milk is ideal for people who cannot take gluten, since they often have an intolerance for lactose or other nutrients in cow milk. Its levels of calcium and protein are modest, so we must compensate for this weakness by ensuring to take it from other nutrients through our diet.
Rice milk may also be enriched with calcium. It represents opportunities for people who are lactose intolerant or vegan. Such enriched rice milk products allow them to have a drink that may provide soy proteins and for additional unsaturated fatty acids and calcium.
Rice milk for health
Rice milk has nothing to do with rice water which is obtained by boiling the rice. Did you know that the rice water with a lot of starch stops diarrhea?
By contrast, during fermentation of rice milk, the opposite occurs because “it breaks” starch and we get a product that tends to settle more, and put some order in the intestine.
Replacement of cow milk with rice drinks:
Some people less attracted to dairy products may be tempted to replace cow’s milk with rice drink, the color and consistency resemble a little. Although some rice beverages are fortified with calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B12 and vitamin D, it should be borne in mind that these drinks contain less protein than cow’s milk or soy beverages.
According to the Canadian Nutrient File, a cup (250 ml) of cow’s milk contains 8.5 grams of protein, a cup of fortified soy beverage contains 11.6 g, while a rice drink cup contains only 0.4 g. We cannot consider rice drinks as a good source of protein.
For children, Health Canada also points out that rice drinks, whether fortified or not, are not appropriate substitutes of breast milk, infant formula or pasteurized whole cow’s milk during the first two years.
How to make homemade rice milk?
For 1 litre:
- 1 litre of water
- 100 g of rice
- Soak the rice several hours or overnight in three times its volume of water.
- Once the rice is soaked, rinse it well.
- Put it in a small saucepan, cover with cold water about 1 cm more than the level of the rice and bring to a boil.
- Boil for 3-4 minutes until the rice is tender, then drain and rinse the rice with cold water.
- Put the rice in a blender and add 1 litre of cold water.
- Blend 4 minutes.
Wait several minutes before keeping the rice milk in the refrigerator. This drink can be kept till 3-4 days in the fridge.