1. How do we cook heritage rice?
All grains are semi-milled to retain the husk, which contains essential nutrients. These grains can also be cooked in a microwave, electric rice cooker or a pressure cooker. Please adjust the ratio of water according to your preference.
2. How do we store heritage rice?
It is recommended to store rice in a cool, dry area. If it needs to be preserved for a long period, say over a month or more, dried neem leaves can be added into the pack/box. It is better to avoid storing in humid areas as this would cause pests to form faster. Since our heritage rice is purely organic, the husk is sweeter, which in turn could invite pests if not stored as suggested above.
3. What is the difference between raw rice and boiled rice? Which is healthier?
Consuming rice in raw or boiled form is a personal preference, and based on what families are used to. It is a matter of taste and differs from person to person.
Some people prefer boiled rice for infants, children, and the elderly as it is easy to digest. Raw rice has a distinct flavour, which changes when the rice grain is boiled.
Boiled rice is also used to make dishes like Idli, Sevai and so on, whereas raw rice adds crispness to Dosa batter.
With regard to Spirit of the Earth’s heritage rice, both are healthy as our rice varieties are wholly organically cultivated, and completely devoid of chemicals or pesticides.
4. Can heritage rice be consumed every day?
Yes, heritage rice is highly recommended, by doctors and dieticians as well, when it is wholly organic, and chemical and pesticide-free. Since our heritage rice is semi-polished, the process of milling involves removal of just a couple of layers of the husk. This retains maximum nutrients and proteins within the grain. These health benefits help build strength and provide immunity to the body if consumed regularly.
Heritage rices also help prevent against ailments like high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and cancer, among others. It has a low glycemic index, making it suitable for daily consumption. It helps maintain balanced blood sugar levels, provides energy, and prevents frequent hunger pangs since it is fibre-rich. A small quantity is sufficient to feel full for the day.
Organic heritage rice is a nutraceutical, which means it is an important source of nutrition plus it includes multiple health benefits. We also recommend consuming different varieties of heritage rice varieties in a week. Such an eating pattern would enable the body to receive various health benefits as each rice variety has unique properties.
5. Does heritage rice require soaking? Does it take longer to cook?
It is good to soak the coloured rice, if possible overnight or at least for 3-4 hours before cooking. Traditional methods of double-pot boiling are recommended as this process enables the rice to cook well and evenly, and retain its natural texture and taste.
The rice-to-water ratio can be adjusted based on the equipment used; for e.g., direct-on-gas / rice cooker / pressure cooker. For the latter two options, a ratio of 1:2 or 1:2.5 can be tried. Some prefer the grains to stand separate; some prefer their rice to be soft and mushy. Water quantity can be adjusted according to preference.
The time taken to cook would be longer since the rice is semi-polished and retains most layers of the husk, so it is good to plan the cooking time accordingly.
6. To begin with, which heritage rice variety can I try?
All our rice varieties have different tastes and textures, and again it is a personal preference.
If you are a long-time consumer of polished white rice and wish to opt for a healthier eating pattern to include organic and semi-polished heritage rices in your regular diet, our cream-coloured rices are a good bet to make the switch.
Kichili Champa, Thooyamalli, Iluppai Poo Champa and boiled Kalajeera go well with both South Indian and North Indian accompaniments like dal, sambar, different kozhambus, curries and gravies.
Coloured rice in black and red varieties have greater health benefits. They are packed with multiple proteins and nutrients, and are highly recommended for regular use as well. These can also be consumed on a daily basis with regular preparations and / or curd. They are especially recommended for people with diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, cancer and other ailments, as well as as a preventive food.
Both cream and coloured rice make good choices for ‘tiffin’ dishes such as idly, dosai, adai, sevai, upma, and so on.
7. What is heritage rice?
Even 50 years ago, over 100,000 rice varieties were being cultivated across India. Each variety was indigenous to a particular region and had a very unique shape, taste and fragrance. They were adaptable to a range of climatic conditions and suited the India environ. These are what you call heritage rice.
8. What is organic rice?
Organic rice is cultivated using natural methods - it means that no pesticides or artificial fertilisers are used and rely on natural farming techniques. At Spirit of the Earth, we strive, through sustainable farming practices, to keep our soil fertile and healthy.
9. How did this initiative begin?
This initiative is a tribute to our Founder, Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati. Like Earth, he shared his wisdom, nurtured, nourished and guided each one who came to him.
AIM for Seva’s initiatives - cultivating organic heritage rice, encouraging weaving among the differently-abled and empowering tribal women and documenting talks by Swamiji - is a reflection of Earth’s qualities - sustenance, compassion and wisdom. Hence, we decided to showcase all of them under the initiative ‘Spirit of the Earth’.