Is parboiled brown rice better for you than white? How is parboiled rice different to regular rice? We have all the answers!
Parboiled brown rice is rice that's been partially cooked. Parboiling rice is something you can do at home, but you can also buy parboiled rice in stores, where it's usually sold as 'easy cook' rice. In both cases, the idea is to increase the shelf life of the rice, and cut down on the cooking time.
Parboiled brown rice is a healthy choice for your family's meals
Parboiled rice is healthier than regular rice, because it's processed in a different way.
After the grains are harvested, they are soaked, steamed and dried whilst still in their husks. This means that some of the nutrients from the husks find their way into the grains. This doesn't happen with regular rice, where the husks are removed before processing and all the benefits are lost.
Parboiling also helps extend the life of the rice.
Many varieties of rice can be stored for an indefinite amount of time, but brown rice is the exception. That nutritious bran layer contains oil, which can turn the rice rancid if stored for much longer than 6 to 8 months.
One solution is to store brown rice in the refrigerator, which will add on a few months. But another solution is to make or buy parboiled rice, which will last longer.
Is parboiled brown rice better than white rice?
When white rice is processed - even parboiled white rice - the layer of bran is removed along with the husks. And that's a shame, because the bran is a rich source of important nutrients, including fiber and fatty acids.
Brown rice, on the other hand, still has its valuable layer of bran (which explains the difference in color). It takes a bit longer to cook - but that's where parboiling comes in very useful, as it cuts down on the cooking time.
How to cook parboiled brown rice
Parboiled brown rice in usually sold as 'converted rice' or 'easy-cook' rice. It has a different texture to regular rice when cooked - the grains are firmer and less likely to stick together. This makes converted brown rice ideal for crockpot meals - white rice tends to go mushy when cooked for several hours.
Cooking instructions vary with different varieties, so the best option is to check the packaging for the correct ratio of liquid to rice.
Whereas regular brown rice can take around 50 minutes to cook, parboiled brown rice is usually ready to serve in only 20 to 30 minutes.
Tip: To encourage your family to switch white rice for brown, introduce it gradually, as the flavor is quite different.
A good technique is to mix white and brown rice together, then slowly decrease the amount of white rice you include with each meal. Before you know it, everyone will be tucking into healthy whole grain rice quite happily!